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DVD-ROM Workshop -- Dynamic learning with DVD-ROM technology
Why DVD-ROM for your classroom?
First steps and best practices
Measuring Success
Technical Troubleshooting
Resources for further explorations

Why DVD-ROM for Your Classroom?
DVD Formats—Making Note of Distinctions
The table below summarizes a range of DVD formats and their primary purposes.

DVD Format
Description Educational Uses
DVD-Video Digital video through which users can navigate interactively. Multiple audio tracks allow for different languages and commentaries. Often simply referred to as "DVD." Quickly replacing VHS tapes for viewing movies at home. Many educational videos are now available on DVD.
DVD-ROM Digital video, multimedia and instructional content that can be accessed in non-linear fashion by using a computer. Similar to DVD-Video, but can also hold computer files. Likely to one day replace CD-ROMs.
DVD-RAM Format that allows re-recording and random access, making it suitable as a peripheral storage device. Can be used like an additional hard drive for your computer. Not widely used in schools.
DVD-R Format that allows you to burn (copy files onto) a DVD; cannot be re-recorded. Use to save data to share with others. Requires special software (such as Apple's iDVD) to create your own DVD-videos. One advantage to DVD-R is that they can't be overwritten, so there isn't the chance that someone will delete or add information on your DVD.
DVD-RW Similar to DVD-R, but can be re-recorded. These discs are re-usable, but are more costly to purchase than DVD-R discs.
DVD-Audio Format for storing only audio files on DVD. Likely to one day replace music CDs.

Publishers that develop and market educational content for schools use both the DVD-Video and the DVD-ROM formats. DVD-Video presents a linear sequence of images (e.g., digital video) through which users can navigate interactively. In contrast, the DVD-ROM interacts with a computer and allows the user to take multiple pathways through the content. And like a CD-ROM, DVD-ROMs can also hold computer files.

As with Audio CDs and CD-ROMs, DVD-Video and DVD-ROM store information differently and are played on different types of hardware.

  • To play a DVD-Video, you must have a DVD-Video player that connects to your TV or monitor. (This is like hooking up a VCR or laser disc player.)

  • To play a DVD-ROM, you must have a properly configured computer with a DVD-ROM drive. DVD-ROM discs cannot be played on DVD-Video players.

  • Many computers manufactured today are being shipped with DVD-ROM drives. These DVD-ROM drives are what we call "backward-compatible," meaning they will play not only DVD-ROMs but also CD-ROMs. The good news is that DVD-Video discs can also be played on DVD-ROM computer systems, providing you with additional resources for the classroom.

    Note: If you plan to add a DVD-ROM drive to an existing computer, check with your school or district technology specialist to be sure your computer has the capabilities to access the drive and play DVD-ROM discs.

    Continue to Why Use DVD Technology?