Most of us have come to terms with the idea of the Information Revolution and decided that we'd much rather be part of the steamroller than part of the road!
We are beginning to realise that the Information Revolution is, in fact, a series of revolutions, and that it ain't over yet!
Most of us have lived through the Desktop Publishing Revolution. To be without the ability to do word processing and print out high quality copy would now seriously impact the way we communicate. And most of us have begun to forget what life was like without email!
But twenty years ago we were not aware of what we were missing out on!
There is another communication revolution emerging from the wings and starting to have a profound effect, particularly on education.
What started the Desktop Publishing revolution? No, it wasn't Bill Gates and the Microsoft Revolution. It was the powerful, easy to use WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) software that was bundled on Apple Macintosh computers for free - remember MacWrite! The output on Inkjet or Laser printers was publishing quality.
What form of communication is currently the most powerful and pervasive but not available to most?
Video is the new Communication Revolution, and, once again, Apple is leading the way with Video. The ability to "author" and publish video as a means of communication - is not within the everyday person's grasp - yet. But it is within the grasp of the many schools using a nifty, simple video editing program on their Apples.
Apple Computer has included on all it's new iMac DV computers free software called iMovie and the hardware built in to capture, edit video with transitions, titles and sound that is - broadcast quality, the same conditions of simplicity and opperational ease that started the DTP revolution!
The simple interface builds on concepts that young or inexperienced users who are familiar with Word Processing pick up straight away. To edit a WP document and take out the third paragraph of five, you would highlight the third paragraph by dragging the mouse over it and press "Delete" key, c.f. To cut the end off a video clip off you would - highlight it by dragging the mouse over the part of the clip to cut, and press - yes you guessed it - the "delete" key. In working with children in schools I have found the age of the new 'Spielbergs' starts at six years.
With 500 lines of resolution the output is broadcast quality - most televisions today can display around 260 lines of resolution!
The Digital Video camera plugs directly into the computer. The computer is then able to control the camera via the user with a click of the mouse on the screen. The video clips come in with each scene filmed becoming a new clip and saved onto the hard drive automatically. The order the clips will play in is arranged with drag and drop in the correct order. Titles are place on through a simple interface as is transitions between scenes. Sound is brought in from microphone, CD-ROM or MP3 files. Each sound can then be edited and level adjusted with a simple volume slider.
The finished product is sent out to Video Recorder if required on videotape or as a Quicktime move for use on the computer or published on the Web or CD-ROM.
The new communication revolution has started. Are we, as teachers, ready?
The children are! What better way of making children aware of Television/ Video by being active authors instead of passive viewers? What better way of making students media literate and information literate by giving them the chance to research, create and self-assess their own information products, 'living' magazines, current affairs and news stories, their own plays and dramatised stories? Discriminating producers become discriminating consumers.
Stuart Hale is Education Adviser, Renaissance Ltd, Apple Computer Division