InfoWindow Delivers Interactive Video On a Touch Screen
There's a Chinese axiom that says: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Nowhere is this ancient philosophy more apparent than in multisensory interactive videodisc, which allows student users to learn through doing in a variety of educational and training settings.
Computer-controlled, interactive videodisc systems such as IBM's InfoWindow are enabling students and other users to "experience" or retrieve a variety of pre-programmed materials, information, skills, tasks and instruction, by simply touching the system's TV-like screen.
InfoWindow is a dynamic, computer-controlled learning system, combining the power of the personal computer with the imagery and excitement of videodisc technology.
A chemistry student, for example, can use the system to simulate realistic experiments, mixing different chemicals and ingredients to see the effects of those actions--including an explosion--without fear of blowing up a chemistry lab or facing personal injury.
Computer simulation of the lab experience also eliminates the cost of chemicals and the need for disposing of toxic wastes that result from such experimentation.
A Realistic Environment
Not only does InfoWindow utilize the multi-sensory elements of touch, sound and vision, it also combines the capabilities of radio, film projectors, the typewriter, television and the computer into one effective learning experience.
Realism is achieved by videotaping or filming instructional material and programming it onto videodiscs for instantaneous retrieval by the user.
Because of its ease of use--symbols appear on the system's video screen and guide the user through the lesson or materials--no previous computer knowledge or use is necessary.
The system's random-access and playback capabilities permit branching, the ability to pursue different alternatives as part of the learning process.
An InfoWindow drug awareness program developed by a high school consortium, for example, allows students using InfoWindow to see the consequences of their decisions regarding the use of drug and aclohol in a "simulated party" situation (see accompanying story).
Variations in the party situation are virtually limitless, and the story unfolds differently depending upon choices entered into the system by the student.
A Typical Configuration
InfoWindow consists of an IBM touch-sensitive video display unit, an IBM Personal Computer or Personal System/2 and an optional videodisc player or players.
This configuration provides the capabilities of full-motion film or video, as well as still video images. The video can be overlaid with text and graphics from the personal computer, as well as narration, music or sound effects.
Up to 54,000 pictures or frames of film or video can be stored on each side of a 30-minute video and retrieved randomly in real time.
Filmed or videotaped images can be viewed at normal running speed, slow motion, fast motion or in a freeze-frame mode for as long as desired.
InfoWindow was originally developed by IBM for employee use at IBM Guided Learning centers, which are dedicated to self-paced, onsite educational training. …