Need for Speed: Using Time-warp Technology for More Effective Studying

By Jon Wurtmann

Time seems to drag for many students used to our breakneck-speed modern society.  They’ve been raised on fast-edit television and music videos, so a solitary professor lecturing for an hour can be a real snore…literally!

Luckily there’s an app for that!

MySpeed is an application that lets the user change the playback speed of Flash video – faster or slower - without any loss of audio quality. (Because of their proprietary audio compression methodology, there’s no chipmunk sound.)  So students can zip through Flash files of lectures at up to five times (5X) faster!  It’s like speed-reading for video!  If the student’s Windows PC or laptop can view videos on YouTube, MySpeed will work!

Speedy review of material is becoming increasingly important as higher education embraces distance learning through the Web.  More and more colleges and universities are promoting their online course offerings, which not only save them money, but give any college much broader reach in attracting students.  And many more online colleges are sprouting up every day, in fact online education represents the biggest growth sector of the higher education market according to a Sloan Consortium report. 

Why Faster is Better

Naturally the idea of speeding up the learning process holds an appeal to students and institutions alike, but does it really work?  Would students “miss” sections, or be able to process all this information coming so quickly?  Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah wanted to find out definitively, before embracing this new pedagogical technology.  Their breakthrough study details sizeable increases in both retention and performance using MySpeed’s variable-speed playback in teaching. Today dozens of institutions of higher learning have embraced the technology.

Maybe Slow is the Way to Go

The beauty of variable speed playback for Flash video is that one can choose the appropriate speed for best comprehension of the material.  So for a lecture in one’s native tounge, a faster playback would save time while not affecting understanding.  But what about complex new concepts?  Highly technical subjects?  Or foreign language learning?  This is where one might choose to slow down the Flash video (again, without the usual audio distortion) for easier comprehension.

Because of this versatility, MySpeed is finding favor with online students, community college students, and traditional 4-year college students.  Currently, Enounce boasts users (students) in the fields of Medicine, Law, Finance, Accounting, Language Learning, Real Estate, and more. 

Giving Students an Edge

According to the Enounce website, MySpeed is helping students thrive in our current information age:

To stay globally competitive, today’s students must digest more information in less time. Savvy students are plugging into the concept of learning at their own speed, and getting more accomplished. Whether speeding up long lectures or slowing down complex lessons or language, MySpeed is a powerful educational tool.

CNET, the IT information website reviewed and rated MySpeed a “fun, free-to-try bit of software that serves as a playback remote so you can watch Flash videos at your own pace.”

The free trial period is a 7-day deal, and thereafter, you’re asked to buy the software for $29.99, or a pro version for $99.99, which allows offline playback control for travel or off-site review.

Perhaps the best testimonial comes from one of the students quoted on their site, Jason E., who says: “ I am able to download my courses and watch them at 2.5 speed with MySpeed.  I’ve completed 18 credit hour semesters in the amount of time it takes to do 7!”


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