I cannot believe my Multimedia in Technology Applications class is ending today. This summer has flown by because of the intensity of the course. As for what I have learned about designing instruction from a multimedia perspective, two major themes keep emerging. First, as with design of any kind, less is more. We are still talking about information being presented to send a message. Designers strive for the most efficient and effective way to create the message so it will be understood. However, users often have different needs so everything from learning preferences and disabilities to age and language abilities must be considered. Designers’ final products must convey the message as simply as possible so as not to create confusion yet account for every possible population all while optimizing learning conditions and eliminating redundancy.
Second, the various forms of media all have their advantages and disadvantages, so the implications of using them separately or in any combination must be taken into consideration. But more likely than not, the needs of the situation or context of the lesson will determine which forms to use and which will only create more confusion. Thus far in my journey through graduate school, I have been a science teacher. Hands-on experience is the best way to learn the science. Sure, textual information explains the concepts, and visual aids support the text, but audio aids are rarely necessary. I will be moving back into an ESL position next year which does not rely on laboratory investigations. Focusing on language will become my primary form of instruction, so text will become more important, and audio aids will take on a larger role. Visual aids will be just as important although they will be more difficult to relate to language concepts and vocabulary. More abstract vocabulary like freedom and liberty will require carefully selected or created visuals. As for designing instruction from a constructivist perspective, I felt as though my subject matter would have translated well to a lesson in which the student simply explores the materials and discovers how to make a circuit. However, creating a multimedia lesson from this perspective could be tricky, so the digital material would need to be more open-ended and experimental, similar to what is happening with sandbox-style games.