541 – Multimedia in the classroom

Here is a link to the video blog on Youtube

Here is the text of the video:

This week’s learning log entry topic is to discuss the benefits of using multimedia in the classroom, and appropriately the media chosen to discuss this topic is video.
The concept of multimedia in classroom instruction is not a new one. Teachers have been finding ways to deliver information and facilitate learning using multiple strategies since the early 1900’s. Today, however digital media has made it possible for teachers and students to learn in ways not possible as little as 15 years ago.

Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching lists some of the many benefits of the use of video for example as being

the ability to demonstrate procedures

the development of student created presentations

video lectures – which is gaining traction today in the Flipped classroom concept spearheaded by such organizations as the Khan Academy.

student video portfolios

video simulation and problem solving simulations

documentation of school activities

Visual literacy instructions

teaching video production

real time communication, collaboration, and presentation through the use of such services as Skype.

As I stated earlier the ability for teachers and students to access digital video has changed dramatically over the last 2 decades. Personally I was using video production in the classroom in the early 90’s when students produced their work using large format VHS cameras and editing linearly using two vcr’s. The final product was crude and unpolished, however even with that limited technology the benefits for students was obvious.

Students producing video documentaries were forced to think about storytelling as well as research and interview techniques to teach their audience about their topic. As we all know one of the best measurements of learning is whether or not you can teach it to someone else. A unit I developed focuses in on the abstract concept of metaphor as discussed in a TED talk by James Geary found in my list of video resources. As part of this unit students grouped themselves in specific areas of interest chosen from the TED talk and created short documentaries that included research, experiments, interviews and good storytelling. Here is a short taste of some of their work.

Other forms of successful multi media instruction are the use of podcasts and the creation of visual representations of concepts in literature. I have students in my ninth grade language arts class create podcasts as part of a unit of instruction in Shakespeare’s A Mid Summer Nights Dream, where students record themselves performing scenes and creating the mood and atmosphere of the scene through the development of a soundtrack. Students practice and record the language of shakespeare which requires an analysis of the ideas within the dialogue. My students have created presentations where they are asked to find images that represent concepts within short stories and explain the metaphor presented, which calls on higher level cognitive strategies such as analysis and synthesis.

When teachers use multimedia in the classroom it is clear that students are more engaged, however careful considerations must also be made not to over stimulate the learner. According to e-learning and the science of instruction by clark and meyer adding extraneous elements to multimedia learning material that do not support educational objectives can actually damage the learning process. Graphics and sounds that are not related to the educational objectives of the presentation are nothing more than distracting. Spicing up a lesson by adding extraneous elements damages the process. Another  psychological theory is that the human brain can only upload a finite amount of information at a time. Too much information can lead to cognitive overload. The brain processes information through visual and aural channels, therefore multimedia strategies that present information on the separate channels are found to be successful. However studies have also shown that redundancy by using text and animations or narration and sound effects overloads the channels and impairs learning.

Using multimedia technology to enhance learning is clearly becoming more and more a necessary part of education. It is one way of increasing engagement, deepening impact through increased relevance and also supporting the variety of ways that people learn.

References:

1. Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

2. Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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  1. 541- Final Course Reflection « Barry Janzen EDTECH Learning Log

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