Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

PBL + IMM = PB[L.Sup.2]: Problem Based Learning and Interactive Multimedia Development

Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

PBL + IMM = PB[L.Sup.2]: Problem Based Learning and Interactive Multimedia Development

Article excerpt

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a powerful instructional design for professional education, which may be used to guide the design of interactive multimedia (IMM). An IMM package incorporating PBL principles has been developed to assist teachers in learning to integrate information and communications technologies (ICT) into their teaching. The development process became a PBL experience for the author as design and implementation issues were met and resolved. This article describes how the learning that occurred has influenced the final form of the multimedia materials and discusses how the PBL principles were implemented in IMM.


Beginning in 1984 with a project to provide computer laboratories to support teaching of computer literacy in secondary schools, governments in Queensland have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the provision of information and communications technologies (ICT) for use by teachers and students at all levels in schools (Galligan, Buchanan, & Muller, 1999). In 1997 the Schooling 2001 project set systemic targets of one computer for every 7.5 students and the use of computers "in all key learning areas, P-12" (Education Queensland, 1998).

Inevitably there are differences of opinion about what constitutes the ideal provision of ICT in a given context and about how best to ensure the equitable provision of ICT across different contexts. Debate about these issues continues in educational, community, and political circles. However, the combination of funding, policy, and community expectations has made it reasonable to assume that teachers and students in Queensland schools will typically have some access to ICT for support of teaching and learning.

Increasingly there are expectations that teachers will consider ICT as an integral part of their planning and implementation of curriculum. These expectations are embodied in documents such as policies, requirements for teachers to demonstrate specific competencies in respect of ICT (Education Queensland, 1998), and in new syllabus documents that incorporate the use of ICT among recommended learning experiences. A recent Australian policy lists two goals for ICTs in schools, namely that students should exit as "confident, creative, and productive users of new technologies" and that schools should integrate ICTs to "improve teaching and learning" (Toomey, 2001).

Deploying ICTs in schools and developing policies which encourage their use is not sufficient to achieve such goals. Although schools in the USA are reported to have an average of one computer per five students, computers are reported as being used weekly for language arts in 26% of classes at Year 4 and just 8% at Year 8 with the respective state-to-state variations reported as 8% to 74% and 2% to 20% (Education Week, 2001). Similar variations are reported in other curriculum areas. In Queensland, where successive funding initiatives have brought the ratio near to a stated target of one computer for 7.5 students, the application of computers to teaching and learning has been described as "patchy" (Galligan et al., 1999).

Many teachers are old enough to have undertaken teacher preparation before there were expectations that they would integrate ICTs. The most recent Queensland project has recognized this by developing a statement of learning technology competencies for teachers and offering relevant professional development opportunities with the expectation that all current teachers would achieve the minimal level by 2001 (Education Queensland, 1998).

It appears unlikely that, once employers of teachers have invested resources in the professional development of the existing workforce, they would be prepared to employ new teachers who may not meet their minimum standards for ICT competencies. Hence, it is imperative that teacher education institutions develop programs that prepare beginning teachers to effectively integrate ICT into their teaching. …

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