Effects of a Museum Interactive CD-ROM on Knowledge and Attitude of Secondary School Students in Ontario. (Instructional Media Initiatives: Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York)

By Paquin, Maryse | International Journal of Instructional Media, Winter 2002 | Go to article overview

Effects of a Museum Interactive CD-ROM on Knowledge and Attitude of Secondary School Students in Ontario. (Instructional Media Initiatives: Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York)


Paquin, Maryse, International Journal of Instructional Media


INTRODUCTION

Multimedia technology offers numerous possibilities including the use of interactive CD-ROMs. Its widespread use may well be due to its ease of access, low cost and the fact that it does not require any sophisticated computer installations. These attributes render it suitable for schools which generally do not possess the latest technological equipment and infrastructure (Lacerte, 1998).

As for museums, the interactive CD-ROM is a preferred medium for distributing information because its images appear very real. It gives a real-life dimension to collection items and a feeling that one is able to touch them directly (Martorella, 1991). Moreover, it allows students to discover rare and fragile artifacts held in storerooms in museums, and this, without the time constraints of thematic exhibits (Moore, 1994). Finally, it provides better access to museum collections especially to students living far from urban centers (Lewis, 1991).

CD-ROM, interactivity and levels of interaction

One of the features of the CD-ROM is its interactivity that allows users to obtain access to new knowledge, skills and values. Schwier and Misanchuk (1993) define two types of interactivity: reactive and proactive. Reactive interactivity expects the student to give a precise response to the questions asked, while proactive interactivity requires him to construct a personal response to a given context. To the two types of interactivity, Lebrun (1999) adds two levels of interaction, namely, the mutual and the interpersonal. The mutual interaction level refers to the "va-et-vient" or two-way communication between the computer and a single user, while the interpersonal interaction level refers to the action between the computer and more than one user, as is the case in team work.

According to Meunier and Jacquinot (1999), the type of interactivity and the level of interaction between students and the computer are important factors in determining the nature of the learning that occurs. Current research supports the notion that the greater the interaction between already acquired knowledge and new knowledge within the context of interpersonal interactivity, the greater the probability that CD-ROM-assisted learning will be effective and of high quality (Mayer, 1997; Berson, 1996; Boyer, 1995).

Interactive CD ROM and student learning

Over the last decade, several observations have been made on the basis of pilot studies involving the use of interactive CD-ROMs in schools. Some studies report that when students use this technology, they view their learning as more important (Bialo and Sivin, 1990), they apply themselves more (Ross, 1991), their self-concept improves (Askar et al., 1992) and consequently, they are more likely to appreciate their work (Kulik, 1994). In regards to this, Vitale and Romance (1992) have pointed out that the context for presenting information is an important motivational factor when interactive CD-ROM are used for teacher training in science at the elementary level. All these conclusions are confirmed in a study conducted by a European Commission task force on educational software and multimedia (Commission europeenee, 1996).

Museums and the design of interactive CD-ROMs

Some museums design interactive CD-ROMs to assist students in the acquisition of learning on both the cognitive and affective levels. According to Christmann et al. (1997), the museum interactive CD-ROM represents a valuable means of promoting learning among secondary school students. Moreover, as teachers are always in search of pedagogical methods that help them to reach out to adolescents, they do not hesitate to use CD-ROMs that are pertinent to the pedagogical objectives of study programs (Vockell, 1992), especially history (Schlene, 1992). Moreover, there seems to be some advantage in using this technology when supported by didactic materials such as teacher and student manuals (Gretes and Green, 1994; O'Leary, 1991). …

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Effects of a Museum Interactive CD-ROM on Knowledge and Attitude of Secondary School Students in Ontario. (Instructional Media Initiatives: Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York)
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