Want to know something cool?

One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Missouri Goes IPTV


OK, this is very cool: The Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) is set to launch a new video narrowcast service via IPTV ... what's essentially TV on demand from the Internets. According to eSchool News, the vision has football coaches calling up ten years' worth of game footage on a whim, students taking video courses across the state, virtual meetings, and all the rosy glow of video-rich panacea.

The reality is that IPTV is a ways off from full duplex real-time video on demand. It's more like ordering a pizza-- calling for and downloading a movie. Certainly videoconferencing over IP is do-able; it's done in lots of schools already. But the real IPTV goodness means accessible archives of (ostensibly) indexed, searchable, tagged, optimized, normalized content. That's not to say they can't start small, but the "ultimate vision" of a statewide video community ... even nationwide? ... calls for production resources and standards that are far beyond most classrooms and teachers. The organic vision of interconnected beneficiaries who also produce the content is not, yet, ready for prime time (literally). There will be many more consumers of video over IP than there will be providers.

Kudos to MSBA. It's not fair to harsh on their goals or visions. But a statewide network of consumers is a hungry beast that will need to be fed, with content they can find and use reliably. Best of luck to them, and to others who will follow their bold lead, as they look for new ways to leverage the fat pipes and dark fiber that trail listlessly betwixt our schools. Theirs are the big dreams of practical futurists, and that's way, way cool.

Again, the well-reported news item is here. It's worth a read.

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