Roger Billings, President of Acellus Corporation announced today the selection of H.264 as the video codec for the next generation of Acellus. Acellus courses are currently used by schools throughout the United States and Canada for Math and Reading instruction. In the past, it has been necessary to install a special video player on all student computers to be able to display Acellus courseware. This procedure has been time consuming and problematic for schools wishing to deploy a large number of Acellus computers.
The deployment of special video players was necessary to deliver crisp video of sufficient quality to allow students to read course material written by instructors without the need for extensive amounts of bandwidth. Although special Acellus Educational Servers are installed at each school location limiting the need for Internet connectivity for most installations, large numbers of students trying to access Acellus courseware has over loaded wireless networks making it necessary to limit the bandwidth for each student video stream.
According to Roger Billings, 'Now, with HTML5 Video, it is no longer necessary to deploy a special third party video player that must be independently installed on the student computers to be able to get high quality video with limited bandwidth. The H.264+AAC+MP4 Codec is now supported natively in most popular browsers without the need to install a special plug-in or player. Other browsers have announced plans to also support the format in the near future. The quality of the H.264 video is actually superior to the earlier technologies'.
H.264, a standard for video compression, is currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of high definition video. The final drafting work on the first version of the standard was completed in May 2003. The intent of the H.264 project was to create a standard capable of providing good video quality at substantially lower bit rates than previous standards without increasing the complexity of design so much that it would be impractical or excessively expensive to implement.
One of the reasons that better video resolution is necessary for future Acellus applications is the result of the fact that many schools are beginning to project Acellus video lessons onto a large screen in front of the classroom. This growing trend in teaching technology is most popular in math courses and allows teachers to utilize outside teachers to augment lessons and to provide alternative teaching methods for complex topics. The official Acellus name for this application is 'Team Teach', referring to the fact that the teaching burden is shared between the local teacher and the Acellus national teachers delivered over the digital video network. The larger projected images require better resolution than video that is required for display on individual user computers.
According to Billings, this change will eliminate the need for school technology directors to install special video players on their computer systems, saving them considerable time and resources. Student computers will be able to play Acellus courses without the need to install any custom software on machines. The new technology will also benefit the expanding network of home schoolers that are using Acellus courses on computers in their homes. This new approach will allow home users to be able to begin Acellus courses immediately upon registration.
The decision to use the new codec has been well received by the Acellus community. Marti Asay, Acellus Coordinator for the State of New Jersey says, 'this change is really good news for my schools. The most time consuming part of setting up Acellus Labs in schools is the step of installing the custom video player. Since Acellus is beginning to catch on so fast, this is really going to save a lot of time for a lot of people.'
The Acellus Learning System is a revolutionary system designed to help students master any course of instruction. The basic premise of Acellus is to turn the learning process into a science, and by so doing, improve the overall effectiveness of the learning process. The system uses Deficiency Diagnostics (DD) and Customized Personal Instruction (CPI) to individualize the learning process.
Acellus is accessed through a web browser, and allows students to work at their own pace through a given course of instruction. Acellus evaluates student responses through an interactive environment and customizes courses to the need of each student - coupling
comprehensive assessments with targeted video instruction in areas where deficiencies are identified. Student Performance Reports can be generated for the teacher at any time so they can monitor the progress and success of each student.
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