ERIC Identifier: ED287260
Publication Date: 1986-00-00
Author: Elting, Susan - Eisenbarth, Janet
Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children Reston VA.
Interactive Video for Special Education. Digest #440.
The term "interactive video" is generally applied when a microcomputer
is used in combination with a videodisc player. The resulting medium blends all
the capabilities of the microcomputer with the vast information storage of the
WHAT IS A VIDEODISC?
A videodisc is a medium for storing large amounts of information. The disc
resembles a 12" phonograph record but stores both sound and visual information
for playback on a television monitor. The basic videodisc system consists of the
disc itself and a disc player which is interfaced with a standard television
set. The pages of a book, motion sequences complete with sound, still pictures
such as slides and photographs, and graphic animations can be stored on a single
Best suited to interactive video is the laser disc, which has a silvery,
grooveless surface that covers and protects the information stored on the disc.
The videodisc player directs a laser through the surface onto the inner layer
where information is stored in encoded form by pits or reflective areas. Laser
discs are resistant to nicks and scratches and immune to wear because nothing
touches the encoded surface.
A laser disc can store 54,000 still frames of video per side, which is about
30 minutes of uninterrupted full-motion video. Laser discs also offer the option
of dual audio tracks. The tracks can be played simultaneously for stereo sound,
or separately to allow for a bilingual soundtrack or narration suitable for
different age groups or learning levels.
Optical encoded discs have a tremendous storage capacity that can be used in
a wide variety of applications. They are extremely durable and offer the first
truly interactive video capability that can be used in a wide variety of
WHAT DOES THE TERM "INTERACTIVE" MEAN?
The term "interactive video" implies that the learner is actively engaged in
the lesson and often controls the course of an instructional sequence through
responses to the information presented. All forms of interactivity in this
format are based on branching. Branching occurs through the use of two basic
conventions: a multiple choice or a free response. In either case, branching to
another part of the disc occurs when an option is selected by the learner.
The degree of interactivity depends on the capablility of the videodisc
delivery system or hardware. A videodisc player interfaced with a television
monitor has certain interactive capabilities. When the player and the monitor
are used with a microcomputer, interactive capabilities increase significantly.
Videodisc systems are divided into three categories, according to the level of
interactivity they provide.
Level I discs are designed for an inexpensive consumer player. Simple control
functions, such as stop, rewind, and fast forward, are operated manually from a
keypad. The disc itself has no programming. The user can simply play the
videodisc or manually branch to other locations on the disc. The rate of
presentation can be varied. A Level I disc may be encoded to stop in a single
frame where the user may be quizzed, given additional instructions, or offered
another option. It is also possible to create simple feedback loops using the
built-in features of the player. With these techniques the user may exercise a
limited amount of control of a lesson.
A Level II disc is designed for use on a videodisc player with a built-in
microprocessor. In this case, there is programming on the disc. The
microprocessor in the player reads these programs and automatically branches to
different segments based on the student's responses to multiple choice
questions. Although Level II discs are described as interactive, their response
analysis capability is limited by the memory available in the player.
Level III discs are designed for use on a videodisc player that is interfaced
with a microcomputer. Unlike Levels I and II, in Level III all programming is
controlled by the external microcomputer. Often called intelligent videodisc,
this level has greatly enhanced options for structuring a lesson, posing
questions, and responding to learner input. At Level III the features of
computer-based instruction are combined with high quality video to deliver the
full power of interative video.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF VIDEODISC TECHNOLOGY?
The combination of excellent video quality, rapid access, and computer
control makes it easy to simulate realistic experiences on videodisc. Response
time is fast enough to give the learner a feeling that a conversation is taking
place. Good pacing is important because it holds the interest of the user, and
an interactive system requires that the user be actively involved in the
Although an interactive viceodisc is rather expensive to develop, the cost of
duplication is relatively low. Consumer costs for both hardware and software are
gradually coming down as the use of this new technology grows. In general, the
availablity of programs is also on the increase. However, the quantity of
videodisc courseware for use in the schools is still limited, as is the quantity
of hardware found in the schools.
WHAT ARE SOME APPLICATIONS OF VIDEODISC?
Interactive video is being used to simulate experiences that are potentially
dangerous in real life, such as crossing a busy street in a wheelchair, flying
and landing an airplane, or doing a security check though dark hallways. One of
the first successful discs was developed by the American Heart Association and
was used for CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) training. Their studies show
that learning time was cut by two-thirds and retention rate doubled.
HOW HAVE VIDEODISCS BEEN USED FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION INSTRUCTION?
One of the first interactive videodisc projects in the field of education was
the Media Development Project of the Hearing Impaired at the University of
Nebraska. The discs included instruction in social studies, language
development, and finger spelling. A Level III disc series called "Thinking It
Through" taught interactive thinking skills. Students could explore
decision-making processes and the consequences of different responses to a
problem or situation.
The California School for the Deaf at Riverside developed an interactive
videodisc for teaching language and reading skills to hearing impaired students.
The purpose of the program was to increase exposure to motivating language and
reading experiences. An authoring system component provided ten interactive
formats. s were branched through the instructional sequences on grammar, syntax,
categorization, capitalization, spelling, and punctuation.
At Utah State University, three projects were conducted under the auspices of
the Interactive Videodisc for Special Education Technology (IVSET) program.
Hardware and software components were developed to produce CAI (computer-aided
instruction) materials for mentally handicapped students, a bilingual assessment
instrument for mathematics skills, and an instructional program to teach social
skills to behaviorally handicapped students.
A current investigation at the University of Pennsylvania involves a new
method for teaching young children to read and write. The study incorporates the
use of microcomputer and videodisc players to initiate communication at the very
onset of instruction. Deaf and multiply handicapped children are included in the
program. Preliminary results demonstrate a significant improvement in word and
phrase identification, reading comprehension, and basic sentence construction.
At the University of Iowa, an interactive videodisc system is being used to
train teachers and clinicians in classroom observation skills. The program
provides complete training in the use of the Classroom Behavior Record (CBR)
with children referred for psychiatric services. The training side of the disc
contains motion samples of classroom behavior and glossary information. The
practice side provides extended motion samples of classrooms and can be used for
practice and reliability testing.
These examples of the successful use of interactive videodisc technology in
special education suggest that the potential is well-understood and that special
educators will continue to explore the effective use of this technology. For
more information about the projects highlighted in this digest, contact:
Dr. Ronald Nugent, Videodisc Design/Production Group, University of Nebraska,
1800 North 33rd Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68503.
Barbara Peterson and Rod Browley, California School for the Deaf-Riverside,
3044 Horace Street, Riverside, California 92506.
Dr. Ron Thorkildsen, Director of Technology and Administrative Services,
Developmental Center for Handicapped Persons, Utah State University, UMC 69,
Logan, Utah 84322.
Dr. Philip M. Prinz, Assistant Professor, CMDIS, Division of Special
Education and Communication Disorders, The Pennsylvania State University, 217
Moore Building, University Park, Pennsylvanias 16802.
Dr. Gail Fitzgerald, Director of Educational Services, College of Education,
University of Iowa, 500 Newton Road, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Brodeur, D. R. "Interactive video: Fifty-one places to start--An annotated
bibliography." EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY 15(5) (1985): 42-47.
Browley, R. J. and B. A. Peterson. "Interactive videodisc: An innovative
instructional system." AMERICAN ANNALS OF THE DEAF 128(5) (1983): 685-700.
Evans, R. J. PRESERVICE SPECIAL EDUCATION: INTERACTIVE VIDEO SIMULATION,
1985. ED 259 511
Kearsley, G. P and J. Frost. "Design factors for successful videodisc-based
instruction." EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY 15(3) (1985): 7-13
Nugent, G. C. and R. E. Stepp, Jr. "The potential of videodisc technology for
the hearing impaired." EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION QUARTERLY 4(4) (1984): 104-113.
Olivier, W. P. VIDEODISCS IN VOC ED (Information series No. 299). Columbus,
OH: The Ohio State University, The National Center for Research in Vocational
Education, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1985.
Prinz, P. M. and K. E. Nelson. "'Alligator eats cookie': Acquisition of
writing and reading skills by deaf children using the microcomputer." APPLIED
PSYCHOLINGUISTICS 6 (1985): 283-306.
Thorkildsen, R., K. Allard, and B. Reid. "The interactive videodisc for
special education project: Providing CAI for the mentally retarded." THE
COMPUTING TEACHER 10(8) (1983): 73-76.
Thorkildsen, R., and S. Friedman. "Videodiscs in the classroom." T.H.E.
JOURNAL 11(7) (1984): 90-95.
Withrow, F. B. "The videodisc: An educational challenge." THE JOURNAL OF
EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS 14(2) (1986): 91-99.