Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of Coach’s Eye in Apple’s App Store. It’s a rare example of sustained growth and success by a paid mobile productivity app. Understanding the unique opportunities that mobile computing offers and how we could leverage them to reimagine content creation and consumption have been a large factor in our success. Essentially, we have taken the notion that content creation is a heavyweight, time-consuming process anchored to a keyboard and turned it on its head.
We recognized that mobile devices had an amazing set of capabilities–hd video recording, h.264 encoding / decoding, a robust networking stack, tactile user interfaces–that would allow us to solve a set of problems in physical locations that computing had traditionally been unable to reach effectively.
With mobile we can completely unwind long held assumptions about creation and consumption. Video can be created and consumed immediately on the spot during training and competition. The feedback loop between coaches and athletes is compressed to nearly zero. This allows coaches and athletes to evaluate performance and make adjustments on the fly while performance is still in muscle memory. It’s a profound shift that’s having a dramatic impact on athletes around the world.
We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible. I can’t wait to see what the next two years bring.
Hmm, I haven’t posted in a year and a half. What have I been up to?
Taking a shot at the title–building Coach’s Eye with the most amazing team of engineers and designers I’ve ever worked with. It’s been my team to build and lead which is both humbling and exhilarating. I firmly believe we’re giving the kids in Silicon Valley a run for the money. ;-) Want to know more? Install the software–it’s where my heart and soul can be found.
Sal Khan has been getting quite a bit of attention lately. He’s been featured on Jon Udell’s blog, described by Bill Gates as his, “favorite teacher,” and awarded a $2 million grant by Google. He makes mathematics screencasts, thousands of them, inside a closet, in his house. His math videos have had over twenty-five million views and his YouTube channel has over seventy-five thousand subscribers. Let’s repeat that again – he’s one person teaching thousands of students math from a closet inside of his house using YouTube and screencasting software. That’s education, 21st century style, my friends.
Imagine the potential of our cognitive surplus. It’s not a pipe dream, it’s happening today. And Kahn isn’t alone. YouTube is rife with people teaching each other how to do things, whether it’s using software, changing the oil in their lawn mower, or the typical middle / high school curriculum fare. Where we learn and how we teach has been and continues to change rapidly. It’s up to us to recognize and grasp the tremendous opportunity that we have. Carpe diem. Seize the day, people of the world. Let’s make the educational opportunities of the 21st century extraordinary.
What if classrooms had an open API where parties outside and in could create mashups? What if students could learn at their own pace, but still gather together with others to study in groups that transcend age, ethnicity, gender and nationality? If you can believe it, it’s happening today. This brave new world of learning is being shaped by disparate parties with no apparent connection and often competing goals. It’s a world of constant churn where innovation and ideas make maddening leaps and the connections between people appear out of thin air, and disappear just as quickly. It’s a world where ideas and innovations fail regularly, but are replaced by hundreds of new ideas.
YouTube Social is one such idea. It’s a mashup put together by a group of people who thought it might be nice to watch videos on YouTube with a group of people, sharing a “virtual” remote and a “live” chat room. It’s doubtful they thought two licks about learning, or education, but because of the footprint of YouTube, the readily available, and constantly expanding, educational content, and our ancient social wiring they’ve made a tool that could serve education well. It’s easy to imagine this being used by a teacher / mentor as a discussion and review tool, or by groups of students gathering together online in informal study groups. Now, I have no idea if YouTube Social is going to achieve any substantial amount of active use, but it represents some very interesting ideas about how the web-video experience can be pushed beyond isolated, passive consumption. It’s a pretty compelling idea, err classroom, don’t you think?