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Adapting Video for VI Learners

Video technologies

You don't need to be a mechanic to drive a car, but it helps to know something about how the things work. Especially when you are about to make a major investment in a new one.

Similarly as a teacher or student using video, you don't have to know the finer technical details about the black boxes you use. But like the car buyer, you too are making an investment: in your case, not only of cash for equipment and all that goes with it, but also of your time and creative energy. Your time as teacher or student will go into learning how to use the kit, and how to choose, use and maybe even modify the video materials it will play. Your creative talents will be needed if you want to produce new video materials for future learners, using future systems. A little pre-knowledge will improve your investment.

This section skims the surface of current and near future video systems. We'll introduce the terminology, and very briefly describe the technology: just enough for us to discuss later what the implications are for educational video in general, and for VI students in particular.

We'll cover delivery technologies, and how these are currently being enhanced for visually impaired students. By delivery technologies we mean broadcast systems; video stored on tape and disc; and multimedia. Much of the work going into making delivery technologies VI-accessible concentrates on broadcast standards. We'll argue that this preoccupation isn't necessarily promoting features needed for video-based learning materials.

The way video is stored turns out to be important to how it can be developed in the future: we'll describe compression (in particular the Motion Picture Experts Group standards), and multimedia (especially how video clips are handled there).

NB The 'tools' part of the original CD-ROM is now out of date since technology has now gone beyond those mentioned. For adapting existing video please see these course materials.