Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

Terri Gustafson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3962-1.ch004
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Visual media can be created using a plethora of software and hardware tools, including enterprise-wide deployed lecture capture system. Tools can be as simple as single click record software or require extensive knowledge of options, formats, or end-user devices. While this chapter does not cover all of the visual media creation tools available, it does give a brief overview of the tools for creating, editing, and delivering digital media content to enhance instruction.
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The constructivist learning theory maintains that the purpose of learning is to construct knowledge and meaning from experience, such that the instructor’s role is to facilitate and negotiate meaning-making with the learner. The classroom, whether face-to-face or virtual becomes learner-centered instead of teacher-centered (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999). Bruce and Levin (as cited in Burbules & Callister, 2000) build on the definition of the learner-centered classroom by borrowing four categories from Dewey to categorize information technologies and their many uses: inquiry, communication, construction, and expression. They go on to explain that for Dewey, these represented “four basic interests of the learner, human inclinations that motivate the activities that make learning possible” (p.4). In the digital age, there has been a shift from the print culture to the digital culture making learning a more visible process, where knowledge is co-created through sharing experiences (Batson & Bass, 1996). Digital media, such as video, is a learning tool that can be used to co-create learning experiences and make learning a more visible process for the learner-centered face-to-face classroom or distance learning environment. Zhang (2005), in a study of the effectiveness of interactive multimedia based e-learning, found that the lectures that included interactive multimedia, including videos, resulted in greater learning performance and learner satisfaction over those that experienced the learning content in the face-to-face traditional classroom groups. In a similar study, it was found that video can be a more effective medium than text to present real-life situations through problem-based instruction to enhance learner satisfaction, comprehension, and retention (Hee Jun Choi & Johnson, 2007). Hee Jun Choi and Johnson (2005), in an earlier study, found that context-based video instruction was more memorable than the traditional text-based instruction in an online learning situation.

In a world that is always on and ready to disseminate information twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, multimedia is the vehicle that delivers the deluge of content consumed every day. The generation of students filling universities and colleges in present time is considered to be part of the Net Generation or Millennials, defined by the year they were born somewhere between 1977 and 1997. They have been described as the generation that has grown up in the age of fast advancing technologies in computing, communication, social networking, and mobile devices. As they enter post-secondary education, the expectations to have grown up digital follows them into their coursework and they are expected to have a level of digital media literacy knowledge not previously set forth to earlier generations. As stated by Brown (2006), “In today’s Internet environment, learning to be literate in multiple media, is an important tool in learning to be” (p.20). For those that teach in higher education, incorporating multimedia into course materials or assignments to grow student digital media literacy often leads one down the road to confusion over what tools are available for content creation. This chapter will give an overview of software, hardware, and Internet tools available for multimedia creation and delivery for faculty, instructors, graduate assistants and students.

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