Thursday, January 10, 2008

Internet v. Television Viewing Habits

Earlier this week I posted an image, courtesy of Darren Herman's blog, that really represents the shift in the way people, especially young people, consume information. Today in my RSS feed I found an article from the BBC that offers another idea about the shift in American viewing habits. The article is about the increase in online video viewing resulting from the Hollywood Writer's strike. The article is correct in its accounting for the shift. It's important to remember that this shift was happening before the strike, has been bolstered by the strike, and will continue after the strike.

Implications for Teachers
The shift in the way people consume information has a myriad of implications for teachers. Teachers must remember that today's students will not be engaged by the same videos that engaged students ten or fifteen years ago. Today's student has been raised in a sound bite and multitasking environment. Does that mean today's student is incapable of watching a 45 minute educational video? No, but it does mean that teachers should be looking for media that is engaging in its presentation and interactive for students. Rather than dusting off the same old video from 1995 (yes, that was 13 years ago) do a search on one of these video websites, Google Video, YouTube, TeacherTube, Big Think, Ground Report, or any other video sharing website.

The Benefits of Web-based tools

Today, on the Zoho blog there is a great article explaining the benefits of web-based software over installed software. SaaS - "Software as a Service" has evolved over the last few years to incorporate a multitude of applications that for years were only available as expensive and memory-eating installations. Applications like those offered by Zoho, Google, and others could someday eliminate the need for installing publishing software. I encourage you to read the the full article here.

Applications and Implications for Public Educators
The benefits of SaaS for those of use working in public education lies in thrift. Using SaaS cuts down on a teacher's reliance on installed software which is often expensive and lacking in shelf-life. The providers of SaaS, if they wish to remain viable, are continuously updating their applications. These updates don't cost the end-user, you, a thing. Furthermore, most SaaS operates equally well in Mac or PC because it operates in the web browser, not the hard drive of the computer. If you're school district is like the districts I've visited, more than likely you have a hodge-podge of computers and operating systems. SaaS is a great way to work around the problems associated with hodge-podge networks.

As a side note- this is the second time in a week that I've mentioned Zoho. I am not paid by Zoho, I just think it's a great product. (Although if anyone from Zoho reads this blog and wants to give me lots of money, I can't say that I'll turn them down). The Google products are also good, I'm using one now.