We are working on our final products this week in my Multimedia in Technology Applications course, a web-based multimedia version of our instructional sets. So far in the course we have been asked to create instructional sets using only one form of media – text, graphics, audio, and video – or combining two of them. But this project asks us to not simply combine the various forms in a side-by-side manner but rather challenges us to select which aspect of our message should utilize which media form. After all, not one of the single media instruction sets was thorough enough; for example, the text-only instructions provided no visual assistance and the graphics-only version was confusing with no text-based instructions whatsoever. When I combined these two media forms, I did not consider how text and graphics can enhance each other, so my final product for that module actually appeared more like two separate sets of instructions complementing each other and not really supporting each other. Theoretically, the viewer could have chosen to follow either the text or the graphics without the other, and then what would be the point of using both media. The audio instructions were just as limiting as the text-only. I myself am a visual learner, so audio-only instructions would frustrate me as I am sure it would my young students. I felt the video-only instructions provided the most meaning because the viewer can hear the verbal instructions and see a demonstration, yet it still felt as though something was missing.
When asked to reflect upon my journey so far, I cannot help but come back to how time consuming the design process can be, even for just the simplest ideas. Again, I ask myself how can teachers make the time to create quality lessons using technology? I believe this might be the point of the multimedia lesson; the teacher DOES NOT have to combine ALL this redundant information. Besides, shouldn’t the students being doing more of the doing and the teacher more of the observing? If students are given every aspect of the lesson in every form, their only job is to be the bystander or receiver. How much will they really learn? So, a little text here, a great graphic there, sprinkle with some video . . . and voila! The teacher can now provide her students with a meaningful, engaging lesson. It actually confirms how I create my lessons already, even though I rarely create original content. I use presentation software called MimioStudio Notebook which allows me to collect diagrams, photographs, videos, links to websites, and text. Sure, I can still create original content and often do, but why take the time to reinvent something that already works great. This course, however, has forced me to consider how to make the content I collect more interactive. It seems that I get to do most of the fun stuff in class – I control the computer, I get to click the buttons, I get to make the videos play, etc. Working with InDesign and Premiere Pro have shown me how to create original interactive content and make it more accessible on websites. What I would like to learn more about is how to streamline the design process, perhaps by creating templates, but I am sure this comes with time and practice. I would not have to learn a new design application each time I create a new lesson.