Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Learning to Teach with Multimedia

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Learning to Teach with Multimedia

Article excerpt

Interactive multimedia provides a powerful new educational tool that can greatly enhance teaching and learning. Research and experience indicates that use of multimedia leads to enhanced learning on criteria such as acquisition of content, development of skills, efficiency of learning and satisfaction with instruction.[1]

To date, however, these tools have had minimal impact on education because they have not been widely used in schools at any level. Reasons for this are many, including a lack of funds for equipment and applications and a lack of knowledge by most teachers. If multimedia is to meet its potential as an educational technology, teachers must learn how to effectively use it as a teaching and learning tool.

Based on our experience at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, this paper describes appropriate methods for using multimedia and general instructional design models that have proven effective. In addition, scenarios involving both pre-service and inservice education for school teachers as a means of expanding the use of multimedia are offered.

*Current Situation

Most people teach as they were taught. This informal apprenticeship has some advantages as students identify effective teachers and instructional practices all through their educational experiences and then attempt to emulate these competent models when they themselves become teachers. A disadvantage, however, is that it often takes a long time to integrate innovative instructional tools and educators can fall behind the times.

The past 15 years have seen a remarkable growth in the range and power of tools available to teachers. In 1977 teachers had chalkboards, slides, audio cassettes, overhead projectors and movies. Additional tools and technologies available to teachers in 1992 include videotapes, personal computers, interactive video, multimedia, networks, distance learning, and alphabet soup of possibilities such as CAI, CD-ROM, DVI and CD-I.

The challenge facing teachers today is to move beyond teaching the way in which they were taught and to incorporate new instructional tools.

*The cool of Choice

If one were to select a single set of technologies to promote among teachers to improve the way they educate students, these technologies (tools) should meet several criteria. They should possess capabilities allowing them to meet a variety of teaching and learning needs. They should be relatively well established with a range of applications currently available, and more on the way. They should be able to do what older technologies have done and then expand greatly on these capabilities. And, if possible, elements of the new tools should be somewhat familiar to the teachers so they are not overwhelmed.

Multimedia--the integration of computers, interactive videodisc, CD-ROM and/or other peripherals--meets these criteria. It serves a variety of teaching and learning needs. Its technologies are well established; over 2,000 applications are available, with more educational and consumer videodisc and CD-ROM titles being introduced almost daily. It not only possesses all of the powers of previous instructional technologies, but offers extensive additions due to computers' storage and manipulative capabilities. Finally, computers and compact discs (especially audio CDs) are familiar to most teachers, and the expanding consumer laserdisc (videodisc) market will soon increase familiarity with this element of multimedia as well.

*Our Background

While multimedia makes a great deal of sense as a way to get teachers involved in using new technologies, few teachers have models of how to apply this tool effectively.

The College of Education and Human Service Professions (CEHSP) at the University of Minnesota at Duluth has developed several instructional designs and methods for using multimedia over the past seven years. Eight Level III videodisc-based applications, integrating one side of a videodisc and a computer program, have been created: Understanding Groups; Descriptive Statistics; Understanding Human Diversity: Southeast Asian Refugees; Understanding Human Diversity: American Indians; Problem Solving in the Human Services; Communication Skills I and II; and Assessment. …

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