Unimedia Composers

Unimedia composers create digital compositions on the web that employ the widest possible range of media. In order to move unimedia to new levels of quality, composers of this genre are encouraged to share their thinking and their work.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Camcorder competitors using Flash chips

 Video has become a hugely important feature of web communication, through web site postings and video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.

There is a special species of video camcorders that has catered to the needs of Web video. These camcorders have no motors, fit in a shirt pocket, use no tape, focus on the simplest levels of design, and sell from $90-$230. A distinguishing feature that all these camcorders share is the use of Flash memory chips to store video and sound. They come with the USB connector built in which flips out for connecting to a computer. These models have focused on being the cheapest camcorders available, which also means that at the moment their quality is lower than than of the standard consumer grade camcorders that have long been available. The real question is whether they are acceptable and useable. As millions have been sold, apparently many have found them satisfactory for many uses.

Gizmodo produced a wonderful comparison table of 7 competing models: Kodak Ki6, Flip Mino, Flip Ultra, Creative Vado, DXG-569V HD, RCA Small Wonder EZ 210 and EZ200. The reviewer gave, the Ki6 a grade of A and best of class standing as of September 2008; see Kodak Zi6 Pocket Camcorder Lightning Review. Since that review, two other HD cameras entered the race, the EZ300 from RCA and Flip Mino HD.

If you have other news or new products in this genre of camcorder, please click the Comments links below and tell all.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Second Life" Classroom Space

Virtual reality creations in animated 3D are an increasingly important element of 21st century literacy. Creations in 3D related to classroom life and schools would aid educators in considering its value and Second Life would appear to provide the tools to carry out such work. As an example, see the youtube video of the Taiko drum scene

Creations of classroom, theater and presentation space in Second Life are not difficult to find, but they are just that, spaces with chairs and no more. When an event is held, those present in Second Life can come claim a seat and watch or participate. My recent explorations and searches of Second Life space have not revealed any populated simulations of classroom activity. That is, no one has yet created a classroom simulation of a real K-12 or higher education school classroom that has simulated students in the seats, programmed (scripted) to behave in different ways responding to prompts and interactions from an instructor. As behavior management is a constant concern of both pre-service and employed teachers, this simulation space, populated by real SL play acting participants and by scripted characters, could be a powerful tool for learning and evaluating aspects of classroom instruction.

The next step would be to search for scripted characters, SL robots disguised as human avatars. Has this been done? The image above and its related youtube video from which the snapshot was taken implies that is.

If the answer is no, then such scripting would need to be composed. What scripting that is already done and available would be useful as a basis to create a simulated classroom characters?

A 3D simulation thinking and Second Life essay provides more background on this theme. Participants interested in helping are encouraged to contact me and/or to leave comments for this posting.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Media Integration-Inquiry Questions

What other questions should we be asking about media integration?

Paper and the Net Partnership

# What should the partnership between paper and the web be for limited access users? How does this change when users have high access to high bandwidth Internet?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Multimedia Crossovers

It's 2007. Do you know where your mass media has gone? Traditional mass media companies, from radio to TV to newspapers, are diversifying their "mass" and all competing in each other's traditional markets. The Internet has served as giant mixer and blender for their interests.

Each uses their primary market to attract more customers to their new ventures. For example, can you find a television channel that does not have a web site that supports it broadcasts with text stories and pictures? (a leader: Discovery Channel ) How many newspapers do not have a web site that supports its text stories with vibrant color photographs, animation, audio and sometimes video? (a leader: NYTimes) Can you find a radio station that does not have a web site that supports its live broadcasts with text stories, pictures, broacast lineup and more? (a leader: WCU radio). The advertisers support all of this by varying their advertisements to every media. An interesting research study would be to compare these different media and weigh how far leaders in each area have gone in diversifying their forms of communication? One wonders why there is not a merger of a television station, radio station and newspaper into one brand?

And that's just the traditional media. Cell phone companies and computer companies have heavily invested in multimedia devices. Can you find a cell phone company or a cell phone maker that does not support multimedia? Anyone can have a phone that goes beyond voice and transmits pictures and video and text messaging. Computer companies have even changed their names to better address these new markets. Apple Computer is no longer; they've dropped computer from their name, becoming Apple Inc. Why? They announced a new form of multimedia cell phone, no buttons, all touch screen, as much a pocket computer as a radio station and a video player.

If curriculum derives its direction from what the real world is doing, where is the instruction in our schools and universities that supports this kind of composition?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Keeping Scholarship Relevant

Scholarship in academe is the synthesis of a process and a medium. The process challenges thinkers to develop new ideas and to confirm the validity and usefulness of those ideas through affirmation and critique by others who seriously study and work within the field from which those ideas emerge. The medium for this historical effort has been the humble technology of cellulose whose chemical and structural stability and social adaptability have kept ideas alive through centuries and millennia but whose capacity allows but a small fraction of human forms of expression and recording. Thought is limited by its medium of expression. Can scholarship remain current and relevant in the next century by failing to encourage the inclusion of the many 21st century forms of audio, animation, video, virtual reality, electronic remote control and interaction?

The effort to employ and sustain the full range of human thought and expression in pursuit of academic scholarship has been mixed. Problems with such publishing have been chronicled in The State of the Art in Interactive Multimedia Journals for Academia (2000). It has been bittersweet to see the demise of IMEJ of Computer-Enhanced Learning (2006)and the birth of Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular, a research initiative of USC’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy.

Deep infrastructure problems remain to be solved. One problem is the tiny fraction of scholars who can do the equivalent of read and write in these other media at even the most elemental levels. Another is the absence of rewards for completing the academic training that would address this. A third problem that contributes greatly to the first is the absence of digital tools of much greater simplicity that would enable the more fully expressive multimedia works to be created by a larger number of scholars. What efforts are being made to rescue academe from the age of the digital dinosaurs? Which institutions are leaders in this effort? Can digital dinosaurs effectively teach the digital natives of 21st century classrooms? See John Seely Brown's keynote thoughts on these topics.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sophie - Simplifying Multimedia Book Design

Multimedia designs have strained centuries of tradition in telling archiveable stories to the breaking point, from scholarly works to fiction. Yet like a chick pecking its way out of the shell, multimedia composition itself struggles for an easier route and for recognition of its right to existence. Monaghan's article in Chronicles of Higher Education (April 28, 2006, p. A41) reviews not only many of these struggles in higher education, but points to a new software application that promises to greatly simplify the composition challenge of assembling the multimedia work.

Titles are confusing right now as fourthworld.com has also used the same name for a similar product, but will be changing its name to something else. The Institute for the Future of the Book's new version, Sophie 2.0, which accents multimedia design is due, according to a recent email, in May, 2006.

Explanation of the goals of the Sophie project provide a good read, along with review of Sophie's predecessor history. Sophie is a product of the Institute for the Future of the Book http://www.annenberg.edu/futureofthebook/, a USC Institute.

To better understand what Sophie may become, it is helpful to look at TK3, which appears to be the commercial forerunner of the in-development open source and free application coming this summer. Viriginia Kuhn's review of TK3 is exceptionally detailed and thoughtful.