Understanding Multimedia Learning: Integrating Multimedia in the K-12 Classroom
SEG Research. (2008, September). Understanding multimedia learning: integrating multimedia in the K-12 classroom. 1-17.
The SEG researchers approached multimedia in the classroom through study of the brain. Current students in the classroom are called digital natives. They are students that have grown up with technology in most aspects of their lives as opposed to many adults that have adapted to technology. Multimedia education is the use of the visual and auditory processing in the brain. The brain has a long term memory and a short term memory. The short term memory is also known as the working memory. The long term memory is where we store and combine new information. This is where our learning is growing and changing. The researchers pointed out that information cannot be stored in your long term memory until it has worked its way through your working memory. The working memory cannot store very much information and it only last for approximately 20 seconds. Researchers say there are visual and auditory channels within your working memory. Thinking about the way that students often receive information in the class room does not support both channels in your brain. Text is visual and somehow has to change itself into an auditory form in your brain. Researchers say that the visual channel can handle less information than the auditory channel. The research shows that if both channels are addressed at once, the more information your brain can retain. The researchers concluded that if multimedia information is presented in an effective way, more information will be transferred to the long term memory.
If the educator can find a way to use multimedia effectively it can reach the auditory and visual processing in the working memory. The teacher recognizes that text is difficult to process and that they can capitalize on the working memory in a better way. Researchers noted that using words and pictures together is more powerful than text words or spoken words alone. Narration and video is more powerful than a teacher narrating a text. Like I mentioned before, the narrating and reading of text functions from the same channel of visual. Some sort of presentation that includes animation and narration is more effective than a text filled presentation. If information can be presented with visual at the same time as the narration, it has a better chance of reaching the long term memory. Even having the imagery and the text closer together makes a difference. Researchers mentioned not to waste the working memory's space and to only present your objective as focused as possible.
One benefit of using multimedia is through differentiation. Students can view the information at a pace that is more appropriate for them as a learner. They can slow or pause the information to gain meaning. When students are given the opportunity to interact or utilize the presentation of information, they are more likely to enjoy the experience and perform better. They become actively engaged in the content and it is more meaningful to them. Researchers mentioned Gardner's Multiple Intelligences and using multimedia is a great way to reach the most learners.
Reflection and Application:
As I think about creating lesson plans, I think back to college when we had to formulate each lesson in a very specific and detailed way. The lesson needed an opening/engagement piece and a closing/wrap-up. The goal is to embed the lesson into the learner's mind. We do that as teachers now. But, to think about how little space and how little time the mind allows a person to retain information is crazy. You have to be so precise and refined and focused. The way in which you present the information must play into that time frame. This article makes me rethink how valuable and effective my lessons are. Am I engaging the kids fast enough? Are they going to keep this information and be able to transfer it? Did I have extraneous information that is going to confuse them? How can use technology tools and multimedia to enhance my lessons?
Some of the things that came to mind when I was reading this article are actually some of the tools that we are discussing in 6215. The researchers mentioned that the closer the text is to the animation or images the more powerful. That makes me think of powerpoints or prezies. They also mentioned how narration and animation is even more powerful. I think about the screencasts that we will be creating. Like the article mentioned, they can pause and slow the information to meet their needs. I can see the benefits of screencasts. Using this in addition to other lessons could help students to transfer the information to their long term memory. Even the podcast could be more beneficial than the teacher lecturing. The student can pause the information and take notes.
One con I find to some of this is the loss of teachable moments or those tangents that inspire conversation. The one-on-one contact to see where a student is struggling and how to adapt and change to fit their needs. In light of some of those cons, there seems to be many benefits to using multimedia in the K-12 classroom.