TV is the Elephant in the Room

Wondering if this should apply to delivery for education if Screensize matters for engagement? via @andrewsmyk

This article really got me thinking. According to Google, TV is still the dominant technology we interact with. I had to sit back and try and remember – when was TV ever mentioned in regards to higher ed? I’ve been part of the latest discussions around mobile, smartphones and tablets, and prior to that I can remember the laptop/desktop discussions. But I can honestly say noone has ever mention TV.

After last Christmas my wife and I finally bought a new TV. It was in the process of shopping for a shiny new high definition screen that I realised – you can’t buy a simple screen anymore. No, every TV in the shop is now a Smart TV. Equipped with some basic computing hardware and the ability to connect to the internet, TVs are no longer the passive boxes we came to know and love. Judging by the number of old CRT boxes left by the side of the road, I’d have to say most people now own these big screen digital TVs – and we haven’t discussed using them in higher ed yet. Consider this from the article:

30-50” TVs are great for long session movies, TV shows, and video games. Big screen TVs are usually hooked up to the best speakers in the house, so it’s great for rich audio and video experiences. Perhaps most important, the 30-50” screen is for content you want to share with family and friends. Increasingly, the user experience in front of the TV now includes a 2nd screen in the form of a tablet/phone. This dual screen experience is common enough that the Wii U built an entire controller to facilitate this.

Now think again, have you ever had the discussion about TVs in higher ed?

I think this is one of those times where we’ve become so myopic we’ve missed the bigger change, the disruption. The elephant in the room measures about 50″ diagonally, is shiny, black and internet equipped. It’s perfectly in tune with much of the kinds of content we are now shipping to students and the possibilities for interaction when combined with a second screen are huge. An internet equipped TV with the relevant mobile applications could become a major tool to broadcast interactive lectures and presentations that invite students to participate, discuss and contribute. For us Australians the NBN could provide the high speed network for transmission and interaction, one that has no need for traditional signal broadcasting, just access to the fibre channel.

We’ve become fixated with the potential of the small screen that I think we just forgot about the changes happening in our own lounge and living rooms – that glowing shiny black rectangle could be what we’ve been looking for.


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