Friday, August 24, 2007

Embedded Videos

I mentioned our grandly titled 'Cognition and Technology in Fieldwork' project yesterday, a more down to earth description would be 'taking Google Earth in the field on PC tablets and seeing if that helps teach students geography'. One of the original drivers for this work was the idea that to teach the relationship of flooding to geography students could find a certain point by a river using Google Earth and access a video clip of a flood at that point and compare it to the river in front of them. We thought this would be a lot better than what we do at present which is get the students to the same point and wave our arms around trying to explain what the flood would be doing.

I still like the idea, hearing that you can get YouTube videos into Google Earth via Ogle Earth I thought I would experiment a little. Here's the result;

YouTube educational experiment

I think it works well. I've included a placemark for Tenbury as its very close to my parents house, the flash floods in the river at the bottom of their garden this summer in the UK have been the worst they've known in 40 years. The problem with this for my fieldwork example is that students will be offline with the tablets so although you could get the placemark in Google Earth, you couldn't get the video. Sad.

From a design point of view, I think this could be very useful but I can also foresee lots of instances where people thoughtlessly create links like this with thinking;
  • Does adding video really add value in terms of understanding?
  • Could I do it better with an image in a pop up? (adding video is a big drain on bandwidth and won't be available offline as an image from a .kmz would be)
  • Does the video really have a strong geographical link to the placemark?
Following the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle, if it fails one of the above questions it really shouldn't be used.

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