As an educator who is currently obtaining their Master’s Degree in information technology, I’m a firm believer in the uses of multimedia in education. I use a considerable amount of multimedia on a daily basis with my students.
One of the greatest things about the use of multimedia is the fact that it helps students of all levels achieve a higher standard. Students can all design a PowerPoint presentation regardless of skill level. The beauty of multimedia such as PowerPoint is that students that need to be pushed can be by making their presentation more complex. They can add animated GIF’s, add sound, or even add movie clips. These students could also utilize a scanner to transfer pictures from books to their presentation. Students who may have learning disabilities can still achieve the standard of completing a presentation but on a simpler form such as adding some text with a few JPEG pictures.
Another way multimedia can be used with teaching comes with the use the web in an inquiry based study known as a webquest. With a webquest, students research to answer a question by linking to various websites. In the end of their quest, students present their information through a PowerPoint, a play, a song, or some other way that they design. By doing this activity, multimedia is able to utilize the multiple intelligences that Howard Gardner identified in the 1950’s.
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The one issue I find with multimedia and teaching is that teachers are not given enough in-service or training time in general when it comes to utilizing technology.
Many teachers learn the needed information on their own but the vast majority of teachers need more time with training. In several of the articles I read while researching, “Multimedia Use in Education”, studies were done that said the number one issue with incorporating multimedia in the classroom was teacher training.
With the majority of students having internet access at home, e-mail has become a wonderful tool for teachers. I am able to have students e-mail assignments to me at school even on the fifth grade level. Students are also able to access the class website to check on homework assignments and parents can check it for the weekly team newsletter.
Finally, teachers can utilize multimedia to help maintain their professional portfolio. I continually take digital photographs of students working and save the pictures to disk so that they can be utilized for my professional portfolio. By using digital photographing, I’m able to check if the picture is conveying what I would like right then and there and if need be, another picture can be taken.
As it can be seen, I am a huge fan of using multimedia in the field of teaching. In my opinion it is not the wave of the future but that of now!
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