ERIC Identifier: ED270104
Publication Date: 1985-12-00
Author: Olson, Michael - Minor, Barbara B.
Clearinghouse on Information Resources Syracuse NY.
Videotex 1985: Educational Applications. ERIC Digest.
Videotex is a generic term used for any electronic system that can be used to
retrieve both print and graphic computer-based information via video display
monitors or specially adapted television sets. There are two levels of service.
Broadcast videotex (also called teletex) is a one-way delivery service which
delivers information from a computer to a receiver via radio waves. Information
is presented in a series of screen displays, or "pages," and the user selects
the desired page using a keypad. The number of pages is limited to between 50
and 100. Interactive videotex (sometimes called viewdata) is a two-way system
which uses cable -- usually telephone lines -- to deliver information to the
receiver. Users can interact with the system using an adapted television set
with a control unit, a computer terminal, or a microcomputer, and the amount of
information that can be offered is limited only by the capacity of the computer
HOW CAN EDUCATORS USE VIDEOTEX?
Videotex can be used as an information source, a delivery medium, a distance
education manager, or a communication network between any combination of
teachers and students.
As an information source, videotex can be used in the classroom to bring
current news and data directly to students. Online access to library catalogs,
information databases, current events, encyclopedias, newspaper articles, market
quotations, job searches and referrals, and other data can be used by teachers
as a motivating curriculum support tool.
As a delivery medium, videotex has attributes similar to those of
computer-assisted instruction (CAI), with its associated strengths and
weaknesses. Current research seems to indicate that videotex, like CAI, is at
least as effective as conventional classroom methods.
The principal drawback to videotex as a delivery medium is the cost; however,
the highest costs -- which are incurred in creating a network and linking
central computers -- are not borne by the school system. Once a network is in
place, start-up and maintenance costs are relatively moderate for a school
system which is already equipped with computers. As with CAI, however, the
availability of good quality software may be a problem.
HOW HAVE EDUCATORS USED VIDEOTEX IN EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAMS?
The seven experimental projects reviewed in this Digest illustrate some
different approaches to the utilization of videotex.
Northeast Educational Technology Consortium (NETC). This consortium of five
Minnesota school districts uses Control Data Corporation computers for access to
a library of Plato software, student recordkeeping, electronic mail, and
telecommunications capabilities. Teachers as subject matter experts in
mathematics, science, and business consult online with teachers and students.
This project demonstrates the potential of videotex for enabling small rural
districts to provide diverse curriculum and resist pressures to consolidate
(Here's another "have" . . . 1985).
Annenberg/CPB Project, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Madison. This
project developed electronic text materials to support the Public Broadcasting
Service (PBS) television programs in a 26-part, 13-week series for freshman and
sophomore college students in political science classes. It also conducted a
research project to compare home use of videotex, laboratory use of videotex,
and computer-emulator use. The project focused on problem solving techniques and
cognitive simulations to support text materials (Pfaehler 1985).
Satellite Syndicated Systems and Keycom Electronic Publishing. A nationally
distributed electronic teletext magazine service called Keyfax delivers 100
pages of daily international and national news, games, book reviews, and special
features. The content is geared for educational purposes and is available with a
cable connection and access to channel WTBS in Atlanta, GA (Widing and Talarzyk
Cyclops. Online since 1981, this interactive videotex system has been used
for tutoring courses in biology and the other sciences at the British Open
University. Evaluations indicate that the system has potential for science
education (McConnell 1983).
Alberta Correspondence School. A field trial of vocational education program
applications was conducted which used videotex to deliver instruction to rural
areas where further centralization was not feasible, and where school programs
were economically restricted to academic programs. Students were dropping out of
high school in this Canadian province for lack of well-rounded programs.
A Telidon terminal was linked to an Apple II microcomputer, and a pilot test
indicated a high level of success and a favorable reception by students and
teachers. Materials for the project were developed by local teaching staff.
Additional CAI-type courses are planned for electricity/electronics and building
construction. The Telidon videotex system was found to be a promising method for
extending educational opportunities for students attending small, rural high
schools (Turnbull 1984).
Indiana University. A Lilly endowment funded a study in which eighth graders
used a commercial videotex service for a middle school science class. Students
accessed an electronic encyclopedia and school library materials to write a
science theme. They claimed that computers were easier to use than books,
despite clear evidence to the contrary. Results also showed that students valued
printouts for their portability and alterability, and appreciated being able to
use videotex within the school context. Students assigned greater value to the
new technology than to traditional learning media (Eastman 1984).
Shasta County Public Schools Media Center. This center serves 62 California
schools with a variety of media support services which include microcomputers.
The library is part of a statewide Teacher Education and Computer Center. The
videotex application uses live broadcasts via a two-way communication link that
allows students at remote sites to converse with the instructor. The center
identified a need to specify and coordinate instructional outcomes with school
districts and collaborate with other institutions and agencies for sharing
resources when working with videotex (Johnson and others 1984b).
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR VIDEOTEX TECHNOLOGY?
When the first videotex system was introduced in England (PRESTEL) in the
mid-1970s, early forecasts predicted a "wired" society and skyrocketing growth.
While growth has been steady, it has been slow, hindered by high investment
costs for the information provider, the need for users to invest in personal
computers or decoders, relatively high user fees, limited services, low public
awareness, and the need for some degree of computer literacy.
One project currently being tested in the United States is the Education
Utility, which is designed to provide schools with an integrated way of bringing
technology, information, and vital services to the classroom. Currently under
development by the National Information Utilities Corporation (NIUC) and
AT&T, this system combines computers, telecommunications, videocassettes,
videodiscs, large screen projection, and instructional television to provide
diversified instructional materials to subscribing schools. Interactive
materials will be included, as well as online textbooks, which will be updated
regularly by NIUC. Schools will be free to customize materials to provide
individualized instruction and/or meet other local needs (Geffert 1986).
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Carey, J. ELECTRONIC TEXT AND HIGHER EDUCATION: A SUMMARY OF RESEARCH
FINDINGS AND FIELD EXPERIENCES. REPORT NUMBER ONE OF THE ELECTRONIC TEXT SERIES.
Dobbs Ferry, NY: Greystone Communications (for the Electronic Text Consortium),
l984. ED 257 446.
Carey, J., and M. Moss. A REVIEW OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES AND
PUBLIC BROADCASTING. Washington, DC: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1984.
ED 242 283.
Eastman, S. T. VIDEOTEX IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. ACCOMMODATING COMPUTERS AND
PRINTOUTS IN LEARNING INFORMATION PROCESSING SKILLS. Paper presented at the
annual conference of the International Communication Association, San Francisco,
1984. ED 248 870.
Geffert, Paul. Telephone conversation with Paul Geffert of National
Information Utilities Corporation, 8150 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22180, 1986.
"Here's another "have" "have not" connection". TECHTRENDS (February-March
Hlynka, D., and others. HOW TO WRITE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS FOR TELIDON. A SELF
INSTRUCTIONAL MANUAL. Winnipeg, MB, Canada: Manitoba Department of Education,
1982. ED 244 601.
Johnson, L., and Associates, Inc. THE ROLE OF LIBRARIES IN CREATING AND
PROVIDING VIEWTEXT INFORMATION SERVICES. COMPREHENSIVE REPORT: PART I.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and
Improvement, Center for Libraries and Educational Improvement, 1984a. ED 243
Johnson, L., and Associates, Inc. THE ROLE OF LIBRARIES IN CREATING AND
PROVIDING VIEWTEXT INFORMATION SERVICES. COMPREHENSIVE REPORT: PART II: CASE
STUDY REPORTS. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of
Educational Research and Improvement, Center for Libraries and Educational
Improvement, 1984b. ED 243 498.
McConnell, D. "The Potential of Cyclops Videotex for Teaching Biology."
JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL EDUCATION, 17(3): 231-236.
Pfaehler, B. "Electronic Text: The University of Wisconsin Experience."
TECHNOLOGICAL HORIZONS IN EDUCATION (August l985): 67-70.
Rubin, P.A. PRIMER ON ELECTRONIC TEXT TECHNOLOGY FOR COLLEGE ADMINISTRATORS.
San Diego, CA: Electronic Text Consortium, San Diego State University, Center
for Communications, l984. ED 259 721.
Tucker, S. "A Telecommunications Primer." TECHTRENDS (October l985): 12.
Turnbull, A. J. EXTENDING OPPORTUNITY: TELIDON TECHNOLOGY IN VOCATIONAL
EDUCATION. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Council
for Educational Media, Banff, AB, Canada, October, l984. ED 252 194.
VIDEOPRINT (Bimonthly newsletter). 6 Prowlitt Street, Norwalk, CT 06855.
Widing, R. E., and W. W. Talarzyk. VIDEOTEX PROJECT REVIEWS II. RESEARCH
REPORT PREPARED FOR OCLC. Dublin, OH: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.,
Office of Research, l983. D 237 065.