Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
With the rise of mobile Internet devices and the increased use of mobile phones to access the web comes the need for content that can be displayed on screens of many different sizes and types. Video, images, Flash applications, and multimedia pieces created by a host of tools (like those mentioned under Layered Information) are just a few of the types of content that viewers wish to access from mobile devices. Media that is dynamically reformatted to provide optimal viewing experiences on different platforms — device-independent media — can be created once and delivered in pristine condition to a number of different types of devices. The person viewing the content need do nothing; the device and the source of the media handle it all.
Tools for creating sophisticated device-independent media are emerging, and will likely be commonly available in the coming years. Dynamic text formatting is already a solved problem, with HTML and CSS (cascading style sheets) allowing web content to be laid out and reformatted easily on different platforms. Websites can detect when a visitor is using a mobile device and transmit an appropriate version. For audio, video, and multimedia, the problem is a little more complex; aspect ratios, file size, streaming rates, bit depth, and content type are all factors that must be taken into account. These issues are gradually being solved. Tools such as Real Server offer different bit rates for varying connection speeds, while production tools like Apple’s Compressor 3 make it very easy to export a variety of form factors for video that can be displayed on different devices.
Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression
While the ability to access media from any desired device inherently increases access — and therefore has implications for anytime, anywhere learning — we could find no direct examples of how device-independent media might affect teaching and learning.
- The BBC plans to offer its audio player, iPlayer, on as many platforms as possible, to clients around the world: http://www.macworld.co.uk/digitallifestyle/news/index.cfm?rss&newsid=23474
- Hundreds of mobile models from more than a dozen manufacturers now support Adobe’s Flash Lite: http://www.adobe.com/mobile/supported_devices/handsets.html
For Further Reading
Apple’s Compressor 3
(Laura Dahl, Edtech Blog, February 10, 2009.) Dahl describes the features of Apple’s Compressor 3 as a tool for resizing videos to be exported in a number of forms and thus be less dependent on screen size.
Interview: Marta Kwiatkowska on Computers 'Everyware'
(Pete Wilton, University of Oxford Website - Media, 27 October, 2008.) This article is a discussion of how computers are disappearing from view and becoming integrated seamlessly into the world around us rather than being limited to the desktop.
The New York Times Embraces the Semantic Web
(Andy Plesser, Beet.TV, 5 June 2008.) In this video interview, Michael Zimbalist, head of R&D at The New York Times Company, describes how the semantic web may impact device-independent media.