Mobile has been touted as an unmatched sales and marketing channel. 3G Mobile has finally given smartphones and tablet PCs the speed and capacity to deliver broadcast quality video. And yes what this means is that we can expect the same numbing proliferation of ads and movies on our mobile devices that presently inundate the airwaves.
But what everyone seems to be missing is mobile’s potential to also become an outstanding platform for education, not just for high schools and universities but also for corporations, industry associations and any other type of organization that must continually educate or certify people.
Mobile Video Will Have a Transformational Effect on Education
What motivates us most is not praise, recognition or reward but the simple fact that we are making progress toward a desired goal. And video, when applied to education, enables us to achieve our goals faster, easier and with longer-lasting results, often times doubling the amount of information we’re able to remember.
Video education when applied to today’s ubiquitous mobile devices becomes extremely powerful. Mobile video promotes literacy and enhances higher order thinking skills while creating a deeper connection to the curriculum being explored. Think of the student, the hobbyist, the professional, even the consumer, all of whom will now have the ability to leverage mobile video to learn about anything, anytime, anywhere and at any pace they desire.
As a graduate student, I earned my tuition by driving a truck during the day and attending classes at night. Sleep was a constant problem as was the opportunity to find the free time to study; there didn’t seem to be any. Nor was there sufficient time to get to the library for the research articles I needed for my Masters Thesis. My solution was to start carrying my books in the truck, reviewing my notes or catching up on an assignment whenever there was a lull in the route. And, if I happened to pass a library, I invariably stopped, ran inside, and quickly checked out the card catalog for books and journals I could use for citations.
Now imagine how much easier and more productive all of that effort would have been if instead of books and note pads I had a mobile device with access to the Internet and its long tail of information. And I’m not just talking about smartphones, with their limited screen size and readability.
The Apple iPad, for example, offers us a large 9.7-inch touchscreen that is ideal for displaying video. The iPad is also far more appealing and intuitive than a traditional textbook, able to integrate text, audio, video, hyperlinks, forums and discussion threads into a more immersive experience. Twenty other manufacturers have announced similar tablet PC devices, all of which are mobile. Every one of them has the potential to dramatically transform education, releasing us from the tethers of a physical classroom and enabling us to view and, in many cases, interact with educators, instructors and other experts.
The rise of the Internet and mobile computing has caused education in both academia and the corporate world to experience a significant transformation in the last few years. The Video and Higher Education Project reports that the demand for digital video services is high and that the educational use of video on campuses across the U.S. is accelerating rapidly across all departments and disciplines—from arts, humanities, and sciences to professional and vocational curricula.
Cisco projects that video will occupy an estimated 66% of mobile traffic by 2013. My bet is that a good portion of that traffic will be targeted towards education.