The Power of Multimedia

Why use multimedia in the classroom? In this day and age, with the tools we have available to us, why not? We live in a digital world with students who are digitally wired. David Warlick (2007) in his post Our Classrooms are Leaking talks about how our students are digitally connected with ‘info-tentacles” in their daily life, and then, when they come to school, we “chop their tentacles off” (para 5). Multimedia tools give our students the ability to reconnect and use those tentacles at school.

Singh and Means (nd), in their project Technology and Education Reform, looked at nine schools where technology was being incorporated. They found students had a better awareness of audience and purpose for their projects, an increased ability to collaborate, use more higher-order thinking skills, and showed an increase in motivation and self-esteem. The role of the teacher became more facilitative, rather than directorial.

The University of South Florida’s Education department state that “Multimedia activities encourage students to work in groups, express their knowledge in multiple ways, solve problems, revise their own work, and construct knowledge.” (para 1).  As I read over this list, I immediately think of the 21st century skills we deem so important for students: collaboration, creative expression of knowledge, problem solving, editing and presenting work for an audience, and constructing their own knowledge. Multimedia tools and activities engage and motivate students. Every time I have introduced students to a new multimedia tool, they have immediately become more excited about the subject we will be using the tool for, whether it is language arts, social studies, or science.

In the posts below, I have explored five multimedia tools: VoiceThread, Animoto, Vuvox, Jing, and Prezi. Each one has its own power:

VoiceThread: the images and the conversations between students

Animoto: the energy and vividness of the medium ( music is essential)

Vuvox: the creation of a storyline using photos

Jing: the ability to share your compute screen with the world

Prezi: the ability to share your thoughts in a nonlinear fashion with the ability to zoom in and create focus and drama for your thoughts

All of these provide you ways to share your ideas, stories, research, teaching and learning in a deep and rich way, appealing to the multi sensory outputs of your audience. They all help you to focus and consider the audience for your work, and is that not the power of communication? It allows us to create together and share our work with each other in meaningful and powerful ways. In this way we learn together, and our learning is deeper and richer.

References

Singh, R. & Means, B. (nd). Technology and Education Reform. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdTech/index.html

University of South Florida. (nd). Why use multimedia in the classroom. Retrieved from http://fcit.usf.edu/multimedia/overview/overviewb.html

Warlick, D.  (2007). Our classrooms are leaking. In 2 Cents Worth. Retreived from http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/?p=1166

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