With computers, mobile devices, projectors and Interactive White Boards becoming more common in American classrooms, teachers have increasingly greater opportunities to bring multimedia resources into the classroom. Whether creating a presentation to guide student learning, or showcasing a video to illustrate a new concept, presentations and multimedia add a new dimension to the classroom.
When talking about integrating multimedia into the curriculum, we encourage teachers to think beyond PowerPoint or just showing a video. Students can now easily create comics, tell digital stories, create movies, and publish podcasts. The articles on this page provide tutorials, samples, and best practices for you and your students.
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. We understand that and have brought together some technology integration projects and activities that engendered student creativity and empowerment. Each one incorporates a different type of multimedia.
In addition to being fun and motivating, video projects teach students to plan, organize, write, communicate, collaborate, and analyze. A successful video project has undergone a process of researching, scripting, organizing, filming, editing, and publishing. Students also have the opportunity to apply artistic and dramatic skills to their academic work.
With the proliferation of webcams, phone cameras, flip cams, digital recorders, and editing tools, video has exploded in the media lives of students. Many of them spend as much time, if not more, watching YouTube as opposed to television. In fact, video has become so prolific that some colleges even include video submissions as part of their application process. As this media further matures, students may need to be able to express themselves as effectively through moving imagery as with the written word.
Presentation software has become a standard accompaniment to lectures in education. PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google presentations are easy to design, and pre-made presentations are easy to find on the Web. However, too many teachers use these tools ineffectively, with too much text, distracting special effects, and too many slides. Below are some tips to help you avoid these pitfalls.
VoiceThread is a great Web-based digital storytelling program that enables users to upload pictures or documents, record accompanying audio (or video) commentary, and invite others to record commentary as well. Its simple combination of visual and recorded media is perfect for creating multimedia presentations in a relatively short time frame using simple tools. With VoiceThread teachers and students can create virtual tours, report on books they've read, comment on historically significant photographs, debate a topic, and more. Its uniqueness lies in the ease in which audio commentary can added to images and documents and the ability to add multiple commentaries to a single artifact. VoiceThreads can be hosted free of charge at VoiceThread.com and each VoiceThread has its own unique URL. A VoiceThread can be embedded in blogs, wikis, and other types of Web sites and even downloaded.
Storytelling has always been a significant part of history, but the means through which the stories have been told has evolved with each civilization. From the oral histories presented by bards in ancient courts, to the works of scribes during the Renaissance, to newspapers, CNN, and now the Internet, personal narrative has been used to communicate the events of the past. Digital media now combines tradition with technology and allows students to tell stories through voice, text, images, audio, and video.
Digital stories allow students to take a linear series of events and turn them into a multidimensional experience. It encourages them to communicate, collaborate, and research as well as to infuse media into the process. A plethora of tools exists to create these projects - both in terms of software as well as hardware - and all of them enable students to gain a deeper understanding of history as they explore the most effective way to retell it.
A podcast is typically an audio file that one downloads and listens to. People generally produce podcasts to share ideas, presentations, or music. Typically podcasts are linked from a blog, so "podcasting" is often used to denote audioblogging. Podcasting combines the words "iPod" and "Broadcasting," but you don't need an iPod or a Mac to produce, or listen to, a podcast. (There are also video podcasts (vidcasts) and Photo podcasts (photocasts), so the definition of a podcast is evolving.)
Once considered only child's fare, comics have emerged as a genre worthy of serious study and application. Comic books not only engage, they help develop analytical and critical-thinking skills. They prompt students to decipher meaning, purpose, and tone. They also provide creative possibilities for differentiated learning and expression. Moreover, successful cartoonists need a wide range of skills: researching, drawing, writing, computing, storyboarding, and designing. Cartoonists need to make their stories engaging and persuasive.