Wow! Already time for summer semester to begin, and we are off to a running start! I am so glad to be back blogging for classes again – it has been far too long. This semester I am taking Multimedia in Technology Applications, and our first blog is to reflect upon what we think we already know about using media for learning and teaching, share some examples as a teacher or a learner, and explain the effectiveness of the experience.
My personal learning experiences have transformed as media and technology have evolved. I remember well the days of nothing but textbook, paper, and pencil . . . and I turned out JUST FINE! Videos were rare and usually just for entertainment, the only pictures/diagrams were in the textbook or drawn on chalkboards and overheads. Smartphones and social media – are you kidding? When computers did enter the picture, we were not taught how to use them for educational purposes, only for our own enjoyment. That is, until high school when I took BASIC programming! You mean I can actually tell the computer what I want it to do? Even when I was in college during the Internet boom, I still did not use computers as a learning tool other than as a glorified word processor. Unless specifically required for classes such as programming with Turbo Pascal or accounting software such as Lotus 123, computers were not expected to contribute to learning. My husband and I still joke about having to take a “Computers in Education” class for our bachelors and helping the other participants more because we already knew how to do everything the course required. Reflecting back on those days reminds me of the importance of learners taking the reins of their own learning which multimedia allows so easily.
Now that I am a teacher under the demands of a scope and sequence and the pressures of standardized testing and not leaving any children behind, the game has changed. I pride myself in seeking out the coolest YouTube videos demonstrating a lab using equipment I could never afford or playing songs about concepts that I am not creative enough to write, having students compare and contrast the never-ending graphic examples of concepts we cover (how many diagrams of the water cycle do we really need anyway), or just the pleasure of showing my students hundreds of examples of any animal they have never heard of that we come across in our activities (my favorite is the pangolin . . . seriously, it’s real, Google it). My computer with Internet and a projector is my “Magic School Bus.” I can take my students anywhere we want to go with videos and graphics. This reminds me how important it is to keep my students not only engaged with the learning process but also accessing as many of the learning preference modalities as possible.