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Bitrate


Bitrate, as the name implies, describes the rate at which bits are transferred from one location to another. In other words, it measures how much data is transmitted in a given amount of time. Bitrate is commonly measured in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). For example, a DSL connection may be able to download data at 768 kbps, while a Firewire 800 connection can transfer data up to 800 Mbps.

Bitrate can also describe the quality of an audio or video file. For example, an MP3 audio file that is compressed at 192 Kbps will have a greater dynamic range and may sound slightly more clear than the same audio file compressed at 128 Kbps. This is because more bits are used to represent the audio data for each second of playback. Similarly, a video file that is compressed at 3000 Kbps will look better than the same file compressed at 1000 Kbps. Just like the quality of an image is measured in resolution, the quality of an audio or video file is measured by the bitrate.

Source:  TechTerms.com
http://www.techterms.com/definition/bitrate

Internet Society Community Grant: Summary


Today, online presentation applications are increasing in popularity and providing powerful tools for creation of instructional materials and accessible information in audio-visual formats. When used appropriately, these tools can support and extend traditional education in valuable ways in both developed and developing countries. PresentationTube Project (http://presentationtube.net) has been established to help teachers and students in the Sultanate of Oman, produce and share quality video presentations that meet Omani curriculum standards and students' needs. PresentationTube offers an easy-to-use free video presentation recorder that synchronizes a variety of visual aids, including presenter's audio and video footage, PowerPoint slides, text, drawings, and web content. With visual aids, like the drawing board, presenters can draw lines, curves, graphs, and shapes on the screen to emphasize or clarify their ideas, so the demonstration can be clearer. The whiteboard helps presenters to type text while presenting using the keyboard making it an ideal tool to add more details, or explain equations using words, numbers, and symbols. The video sharing network involves the learners via scrollable slide thumbnails and discussions, with unlimited video uploading and delivery. PresentationTube video presentations are accessible via any operating system, standard browser, or mobile device and can be used in ordinary classrooms, universities, and distance education programs.

Project background and justification:

The Sultanate of Oman, is neither a rich country, like Saudi Arabia or UAE (in the north), nor a poor country like Yemen (in the south). It does not have the immense oil resources of some of its neighbors. Nevertheless, in recent years, it has found more oil than it has produced. Oman's complex geology makes exploration and production an expensive challenge. Oman’s renaissance programme started in 1970. From an agrarian society without any sort of infrastructure, the country has been transformed into a thriving modern state over a relatively short span of a couple of decades. This has been achieved through the judicious design and implementation of successive Five-Year Development Plans. Connecting all Omani basic education schools to the Internet was one of the outcomes of these plans, which already achieved 5 years ago.

Oman provides free basic and secondary education to all people aged 6–18 through the general education system, and to men and women above 15 years of age through literacy and adult education programmes. The general education system in Oman includes both public and private schools. The public schools account for the largest share and cater for both Omani and non-Omani students.

However, the main problems that have been facing education system in Oman are over-crowded classrooms, test-driven curriculum focusing on rote memorization of unimportant material. In Oman, there is currently a strong emphasis on systemic reform in education at all levels. This development is encouraging stakeholders to collaborate in supporting the achievement of high standards in the schools. Like many education authorities around the world, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has seized on technology as a way to better prepare students and help teachers in achieving their objectives. A special unit within the MoE, called the Information Technology Center, was formed to coordinate the MoE’s effort to infuse technology into schools. According to MoE, infusion of technology implies development in improving the performance of students, arranging of information, and increasing the capacities of information exchange. As a result, teachers face the need to improve learning by providing new means for presenting curriculum materials, illustrate concepts that are less easily explained through traditional media, support new types of learning opportunities, and provide enrichment activities for students whether it is in a classroom or through e-learning environments.

However, many barriers are facing the selection and use of quality online resources in Oman that could be avoided through systems that easily encourage teachers to create and share materials themselves. At the same time, although administrators and teachers are often concerned with the effort, time, and costs required to create and use quality learning materials, there is a lot of duplication in teachers’ production of digital learning materials which could be reduced if they work together.

In classroom settings, multimedia presentation applications have become the dominant tools because it is both readily available and easy-to-use by instructors. Multimedia applications allow instructors to create and manipulate presentations in a wide variety of contexts that can enhance student’s interest and engagement. In addition, it helps instructors clearly identify the main points of a topic or activity while still providing the details through presentation. Instructors can incorporate multiple types of media formats (e.g., diagram, photo, drawing, sound and video) that cannot be easily integrated together into one single medium. Learners are also attracted to presentations applications because of graphical, aesthetic and interactive features it provides. However, in order to be successful, a presenter needs to guide the audience through the presentation, keep their interest, and attract their attention. Although there is interest in the utility of PowerPoint, it is used only by the teacher inside classrooms. In other words, presentation content and visual features are not substitute for guidance a teacher should deliver. If the students are not seeing and listening to the teacher, then learning from the presentation slides in isolation will be less valuable or impossible.

In addition, research and modern online presentation applications and social networks emphasized the importance of considering the potential possibilities that video materials, in particular, presents when deciding how to support the learners. Proponents of videos argue that there is increasing interest in providing learners with recorded materials and video is demonstrated to be an expanding channel for presentation. Providing video on demand to students is used to support facet-to-face, online, or blended learning. Students can choose when and where to use the material and can spend as long or as little time on each learning activity. Watching video is considered as a basis for mental activity. It is socially acceptable and widely used and supported by multimedia cell phones and portable media players. Video is a more forgiving and powerful presentation medium, and does not have to be stand-alone, like a television program. Learners can play, rewind, forward, and pause the video to address their specific needs. It can be used in many ways to encourage interactions between students and the teachers and create engagement.

In conventional classroom setting in Oman, the teacher uses a large wall screen, whiteboard or flipchart and wants to video everything, including him/herself. But if the camera is pointed at screen or play area, the learners would not be able to read from the video because the low quality of the video output (e.g., contrast, reflective surfaces, glare, shadows, small text, limited area, positioning, etc.). This necessitates having a camera operator to pan and zoom as the teacher works. Therefore, the need was emphasized for the development of an unconventional solution to assist teachers automates the process of producing effective video materials from PowerPoint presentations. PresentationTube offers the tool for helping instructors pre-record their PowerPoint presentations. This tool assists instructors in recording and communicating virtual presentations. In addition, the tool accommodates the technical differences among teachers, as well as the requirements of producing video materials for students. The recorder can automate the process and ensure that the instructor only needs minimal technical knowledge and spends no additional time creating materials.

Although online video materials are a worldwide phenomenon that have received significant funding and many countries are moving rapidly in multimedia research and development, they are still a new technology whose worth has yet to be proven, particularly for those in developing countries, like Oman. In Oman, no attention is paid to help teachers produce and share quality digital video presentations so that they can be reused. Therefore, the need is emphasis ed to help Omani teachers establish an easy-to-use, accessible, and free video presentation sharing network and evaluate its effectiveness. This network should be appropriate for teachers’ needs and skills.

Therefore, this project aims to establish and evaluate an accessible on-line video presentation sharing network to help Omani teachers produce and share high-quality online video presentations appropriate for the Omani curriculum, teachers and students. This network would be a leading example for other countries and educational systems in the region.

Creating videos for flipped learning


"Another great option for presentation is PresentationTube, which allows educators to make videos, then upload to Presentation Tube or YouTube, allowing educators to share the video link with students".

Learn how to create education videos for students through vodcasting, a cheap and easy way to flip classes at: http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/09/09/educators-video-flipped-008

Auto-play: A usability and accessibility failure


My organisation recently published a number of videos on the public website (EDIT – have removed the link as the videos have been taken off now). Those videos started automatically as soon as the page loaded. The problems with this are:

Automatically playing audio on a webpage is usually an action which the user will not expect. It is therefore, at the very least, an irritation, especially if the user is in an environment where this is not appropriate.

At worst, though, the audio may conflict with other audio that the user is already listening to. That might be music, or perhaps another video. But far worse, it could be a blind user’s screen reader software, and the resulting conflict would make it very hard to browse that page to pause the video or mute the sound.



By: James Coltham, 2009
http://www.prettysimple.co.uk/blog/index.php/2009/07/autoplaying-videos/

PresentationTube Project Startup in Oman

Many barriers are facing the selection and development of quality e-content in developing countries, particularly in the Arab region. Many of these barriers could be avoided through rapid e-learning development networks that easily encourage educators to create and share quality e-content themselves. Research highlighted the importance of considering the potential possibilities that online videos present when deciding how to support recent e-learning communities. Watching video is considered as a basis for mental activity. It is socially acceptable and widely used and supported by multimedia cell phones and portable media players. Video can add interest and engagement to e-Learning and training strategy deliveries. PresentationTube, a non-profit and research-based project, and one of the winners of the Internet Society Community Grant 2013, offers a video presentation recorder and video sharing network to help teachers and learners in Oman produce and share quality video presentations in a new and effective way. The recorder accommodates the technical differences among teachers, as well as the requirements of producing video materials for learners. The recorder automates the process and ensures that teachers only need minimal technical knowledge and spend no additional time creating materials. The recorder allows teachers to synchronize a variety of visual aids, including presenter’s audio and video footage, PowerPoint slides, text, drawings, and web content.

With visual aids, like the drawing board, the teacher can draw lines, curves, graphs, and shapes on the screen to emphasize or clarify their ideas, so the demonstration can be clearer. The whiteboard helps the teacher to type text while presenting using the keyboard making it an ideal tool to add more details, or explain equations using words, numbers, and symbols. The video sharing network involves the learners via scrollable slide thumbnails and discussions, with unlimited video uploading and delivery. The network integrates many interactive features, such as Facebook social plug-in and the slide-thumbnail, allowing the learner to move to the respective video content and control both the time and progress of video presentation. Learners can play, rewind, forward, and pause the video to address their specific needs. PresentationTube can be used in Oman in various e-learning settings to provide more realistic experience, encourage interactions between learners and the teacher, and create engagement. The quality of PresentationTube video presentations is controlled by experts in subject matters and accessible via any operating system, standard browser, or mobile device.


This week commenced 1st September 2013, around 200 Omani teachers started to receive training on producing effective PowerPoint presentations for PresentationTube video presentations in various subject matters around the country. More than 10 IT teachers and learning resources specialists, who graduated from the Department of Instructional & Learning Technology, College of Education, Sultan Qaboos University are expected to participated in training and supporting teachers In Muscat, Salalah, Al Batna, and AlSarquya cities and regions. Teachers already downloaded the presentation recorder and started to narrate, record and upload their presentations to PresentationTube Project.
Just few days after starting the PresentationTube project, the team received good news from the World Summit Award Committee that PresentationTube is one of the 5 WSA Winners 2013. The project has been selected by the WSA Grand Jury as best and most innovative in e-Content 2013 in the category e-Learning & Science.
Please visit Presentationtube for more info and example presentations at:
http://presentationtube.com

Published by PresentationTube at Internet Society Blog
http://www.internetsociety.org/blog/2013/09/presentationtube-project-startup-oman

World Summit Award 2013: Jury Evaluation


Jury Evaluation
PresentationTube is an innovative free platform for production and sharing of value added presentations for  teachers, students, and business professionals. The recorder provides for synchronization of audio, video, slides, hand-written text, drawings, and web pages into a single presentation video to achieve increased engagement, effectiveness and impact. The platform allows interaction through comments and customization by the audience as they can control both the time and progress of video presentation. PresentationTube has been developed in Egypt and implemented early in 2012. Within few months it received a considerable local and international recognition from many educational organizations, universities and academicians in these countries. PresentationTube's  YouTube- API powered video sharing network now has more than 10,000 visitors a day, 5,000 subscribers, and 500 video presentations in a variety of subjects and topics.

More at: http://wsis-award.org/winner/presentationtube-108320130905

PresentationTube Received the World Summit Award 2013


PresentationTube is one of the 40 WSA Winners 2013. The project has been selected by the WSA Grand Jury as best and most innovative in e-Content 2013 in the category e-Learning & Science.

PresentationTube Rreceived the World Summit Award 2013

What do you know about PresentationTube?



PresentationTube offers a PowerPoint presentation recorder and video sharing network to help teachers, students and business professionals produce and share presentations in video format. The recorder allows the presenter to narrate PowerPoint slides and synchronize a variety of visual aids, including presenter's audio video footage, whiteboard, drawing board, and web content. PresentationTube integrates scrollable slide thumbnails allowing the audience to move to the respective video content and control both the time and progress of video presentation. 


How to start recording and sharing your PowerPoint video presentations?

  • Record presentation: Download PresentationTube Recorder and start recording and narrating your presentation using PowerPoint slides, whiteboard, drawing board, and web content.
  • Upload video: Upload your video presentation file via PresentationTube website and enjoy the new and interactive features of video presentations.
  • Share online presentation: Share your PowerPoint video presentation via email and social networks, or embed the video presentation in your course pages, website, or blog.

    http://presentationtube.com