Before looking into today’s topics (and all of the articles and videos) I had not thought deeply about multimedia learning. Previously, when I thought of multimedia, I immediately thought of digital media. However, after reading the articles about using stories and interactivity to teach effectively, my understanding of multimedia has broadened substantially. One point that I think will be central throughout this course is that multimedia and interactive learning should be learner centred, rather than technology centred. I hope to delve deeper into what this will mean in my teaching practice. Technology is powerful and ever-evolving. It is important, as an educator, for me to be familiar with different tools to enhance my students’ learning experiences. However, it is vital to keep students at the forefront, rather than using technology just for the sake of it.
One example that comes to mind of using technology just for the sake of it was last semester when I was working on a PowerPoint presentation for my assessment course. At the time, I had recently learned how to insert GIFs into the presentation and ended up putting them on the majority of the slides, which I thought was engaging and innovative. Unfortunately, the GIFs ended up being quite distracting for the people viewing the slides. The GIFs took away from the text that was on each slide, and although they were funny, did not enhance the learning experience for the viewers. This was a valuable learning experience for me because it served as a reminder to use multimedia as a learning tool, rather than a “cool add-on”. GIFs have their place, just not on every slide of a presentation.
After reading the articles assigned, I have realized the importance of using multimedia in order to promote access, support, and challenge for all students. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines created by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) recognizes that each learner is unique, and therefore the learning experience will look different for each of them. Teachers can use the UDL framework when designing their instructional practice to help reach all students. The UDL framework promotes having multiple means of engagement, representation, action, and expression. Multimedia learning is at the heart of these principles. This answers the question posed in the title of today’s blog post. Teachers who are adept at incorporating multimedia and interactivity into the classroom are able to best engage, support, and challenge their students. I have included a short video below describing UDL:
CAST. (2010, January 6). UDL At A Glance. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=214&v=bDvKnY0g6e4&feature=emb_title
Juliani, A.J. (2014). The Hidden Importance of Teaching with Stories. A.J. Juliani. http://ajjuliani.com/hidden-importance-teaching-stories/
The SHARE Team. (2018, April 6). Interactive Teaching Styles Used in the Classroom. Resilient Educator. https://resilienteducator.com/classroom-resources/5-interactive-teaching-styles-2/