Theoretical Foundations for Educational Multimedia

Theoretical Foundations for Educational Multimedia

Geraldine Torrisi-Steele (Griffith University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch188
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Abstract

The notion of using technology for educational purposes is not new. In fact, it can be traced back to the early 1900s during which time school museums were used to distribute portable exhibits. This was the beginning of the visual education movement that persisted through the 1930s as advances in technology such as radio and sound motion pictures continued. The training needs of World War II stimulated serious growth in the audiovisual instruction movement. Instructional television arrived in the 1950s, but had little impact, mainly due to the expense of installing and maintaining systems. The advent of computers in the 1950s laid the foundation for CAI (computer assisted instruction) through the 1960s and 1970s. However, it was not until the 1980s that computers began to make a major impact in education (Reiser, 2001). Early applications of computer resources included the use of primitive simulation. These early simulations had little graphic capabilities and did little to enhance the learning experience (Munro, 2000). Since the 1990s, there have been rapid advances in computer technologies in the area of multimedia production tools, delivery, and storage devices. Throughout the 1990s, numerous CD-ROM educational multimedia software was produced and was used in educational settings. More recently, the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW), together with the emergence of mobile devices and wireless networking, has opened a vast array of possibilities for the use of multimedia technologies and associated information and communications technologies (ICT) to enrich the learning environment. Today, educational institutions are investing considerable effort and money into the use of multimedia. The use of multimedia technologies in educational institutions is seen as necessary for keeping education relevant to the twenty-first century (Selwyn & Gordard, 2003). The term “multimedia” as used in this article refers any technologies which make possible “the entirely digital delivery of content presented by using an integrated combination of audio, video, images (twodimensional, three-dimensional) and text” along with the capacity to support user interaction (Torrisi-Steele, 2004, p. 24). Multimedia may be delivered on computer via CD-ROM, DVD, the Internet, or on other devices such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants, or any digital device capable of supporting interactive and integrated delivery of digital audio, video, image, and text data. The notion of interaction in educational multimedia may be viewed from two perspectives. First, interaction may be conceptualised in terms of “the capacity of the system to allow individual to control the pace of presentation and to make choices about which pathways are followed to move through the content; and the ability of the system to accept input from the user and provide appropriate feedback to that input” (Torrisi- Steele, 2004, p. 24). Second, given the integration of multimedia with communication technologies, interaction may be conceptualized as communication among individuals (teacher-learner and learner(s)-learner(s)) in the learning space that is made possible by technology (e-mail, chat, video-conferencing, threaded discussion groups, and so on).
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Introduction

The notion of using technology for educational purposes is not new. In fact, it can be traced back to the early 1900s during which time school museums were used to distribute portable exhibits. This was the beginning of the visual education movement that persisted through the 1930s as advances in technology such as radio and sound motion pictures continued. The training needs of World War II stimulated serious growth in the audiovisual instruction movement. Instructional television arrived in the 1950s, but had little impact, mainly due to the expense of installing and maintaining systems. The advent of computers in the 1950s laid the foundation for CAI (computer assisted instruction) through the 1960s and 1970s. However, it was not until the 1980s that computers began to make a major impact in education (Reiser, 2001). Early applications of computer resources included the use of primitive simulation. These early simulations had little graphic capabilities and did little to enhance the learning experience (Munro, 2000).

Since the 1990s, there have been rapid advances in computer technologies in the area of multimedia production tools, delivery, and storage devices. Throughout the 1990s, numerous CD-ROM educational multimedia software was produced and was used in educational settings. More recently, the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW), together with the emergence of mobile devices and wireless networking, has opened a vast array of possibilities for the use of multimedia technologies and associated information and communications technologies (ICT) to enrich the learning environment. Today, educational institutions are investing considerable effort and money into the use of multimedia. The use of multimedia technologies in educational institutions is seen as necessary for keeping education relevant to the twenty-first century (Selwyn & Gordard, 2003).

The term “multimedia” as used in this article refers any technologies which make possible “the entirely digital delivery of content presented by using an integrated combination of audio, video, images (two-dimensional, three-dimensional) and text” along with the capacity to support user interaction (Torrisi-Steele, 2004, p. 24). Multimedia may be delivered on computer via CD-ROM, DVD, the Internet, or on other devices such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants, or any digital device capable of supporting interactive and integrated delivery of digital audio, video, image, and text data.

The notion of interaction in educational multimedia may be viewed from two perspectives. First, interaction may be conceptualised in terms of “the capacity of the system to allow individual to control the pace of presentation and to make choices about which pathways are followed to move through the content; and the ability of the system to accept input from the user and provide appropriate feedback to that input” (Torrisi-Steele, 2004, p. 24). Second, given the integration of multimedia with communication technologies, interaction may be conceptualized as communication among individuals (teacher-learner and learner(s)-learner(s)) in the learning space that is made possible by technology (e-mail, chat, video-conferencing, threaded discussion groups, and so on).

The fundamental belief underlying this article is that the goal of implementing multimedia into educational contexts is to exploit the attributes of multimedia technologies in order to support deeper, more meaningful learning. Furthermore, if multimedia is effectively integrated into educational contexts then teaching and learning practice must necessarily be transformed (Torrisi-Steele, 2004). It is intended that this article will serve a useful starting point for educators beginning to use multimedia. The article attempts to provide an overview of pedagogical perspectives relevant to the effective integration of multimedia technologies in educational contexts. First, constructivism and social constructivism are discussed as the currently dominant frameworks for the design of multimedia learning environments. Following this, connectivism is discussed as an emerging paradigm. Finally, some important professional development issues are highlighted.

Key Terms in this Chapter

M-Learning: Concept of mobile learning whereby students are typically not in a fixed location and are using mobile electronic devices such as phones, iPod, MP3 players, PDAs, and laptops to assist in their education. Course content is delivered targeted to these devices and other measures, such as SMS texts, may also be used.

Short Message Server (SMS): This is a mobile phone network service for distributing text only messages.

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs): This is a handheld device performing some of the tasks usually associated by PCs and laptops such as Internet access, e-mail, diary, PDF viewer, audio and video viewing, and capture.

Videocast: Video podcast. This a method for the distribution of video clips over the Internet using the same supporting technology (RSS) as that used for podcasting.

Podcasting: A method for material distribution over the Internet. If subscribed to a podcasting site, users are automatically alerted and updated with new material. The technology supporting this is known as Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

E-Learning: This refers to education enhanced through the use of electronic devices and computer infrastructure. Often associated with distant learning with course material and sometimes supervision being delivered through the Internet. Within Higher Education courses this is often referred to as a virtual learning environment.

iPod: A portable media player manufactured by Apple® Computing Initially developed for listening to compressed audio tracks, but versions are now available for viewing video. The media files are stored either on hard drives or flash memory managed by iTunes, supplied Apple software.

MP3 Player: A generic portable media player for listening to compressed audio tracks, stored either on hard drives or flash memory within the device.

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