As the future generations are becoming more and more technologically savvy, educators generally are finding it increasingly challenging to cope with the demand for multimedia instruction. These mediums can be quite complicated, but, with a little practice and dedication of time on your part, these platforms can actually be really effective for conducting classes.
Why the need for multimedia usage in the classroom?
You always have the option to remain traditional, sticking to the pen-and-paper routine. However, as instructors, we always have to ask, “Will my students learn from this?” The main purpose of multimedia is not to replace instruction; rather, it is used to enhance the construction of lessons and concepts. This interactive way of learning enhances the medium of instruction, from a simple lecture to a full-blown interactive segment of your class session that allows the students to gain additional insights from their classmates.
Multimedia is a powerful tool for instruction and may make or break any lesson plans, so it is advised that every instructor observe these mediums carefully. Also, do not be afraid to experiment (but prepare a contingency plan). These days, giving instructions for multimedia usage to the students is not really a challenge, even with the language barrier. The challenges usually arise from the technical side of things–for both the student and the instructor. Thus, it is our job to make sure that we, as the instructors, are well aware of the mediums, their advantages, as well as limitations.
Here are some multimedia tools to get you started!
This is probably my favorite tool when it comes to teaching. It allows the students to upload pictures, insights, opinions, etc. on a blank board for other students to see. My favorite feature is the picture and text, as it relates the visual and the auditory senses. Additionally, students find it very interesting to see their classmates’ insights, giving them room for inquiry.
My usual way of using Padlet: I ask a fun or insightful question, such as: “What’s your opinion on fashion trends?”, then have the students upload a photo, as well as a brief explanation of their photo. It indirectly answers the questions, giving the students a chance to interpret ideas. This can also serve as an engaging Q&A for the students.
This is a very fun application, so much so that I use it in my free time as well! It is a trivia-game-format learning tool that allows you to create your own Q&A game. The idea is simple: you create a question, give four options, then the students choose the correct answer. You can also use it as a poll to gain insights from your students (although there are other applications better suited for this task). This is very user-friendly and fun to make, as you can add photos, get ideas from other users, etc.
In terms of learning, this tool is as easy as it sounds. You can use it to conduct quizzes or to check student learning. I personally like using this to gain insights from the students, especially whenever they make a mistake. You can optimize this tool for grammar instructions or context analysis. One example would be to ask the students to watch a video, then use Kahoot! for a question and answer part to check learning, then the last few questions would revolve around opinions so that you can instigate discussion from there.
This is a tool that specializes in live polls (and can also be used for trivia games), wherein the teacher asks a question and the students give their opinions via text. Then, there are different ways to utilize the answers: it can group the common answers together to create an easy-to-read list, it can separate answers into individual text boxes, and it can also show a graph/chart.
I use this application for opinion-based questions and utilize it in such a way that it starts a meaningful conversation with the students regarding their opinions. I have experienced using this application to turn the discussions into debates.
More advanced applications:
I personally have not used this application to conduct classes, but I have experienced attending a lecture utilizing this application. This is a more complex tool which requires a little bit of tinkering. Basically, you can upload a video or a link, then add questions in the middle of the video for the students to answer. Its main purpose is to check student learning, as well as keep the students’ attention on the material.
This is one of my favorite applications for teaching. So basically, you can make creative and fun videos using the website’s prepared templates–or make your own. What makes this application so intriguing is that it utilizes audio-visual learning, rather than rely heavily on text instructions. The videos are very visual-heavy, with little to no on-screen text. Rather, it relies on voiceovers.
This application can be quite time-consuming, as it requires some degree of editing skills (although the website is very beginner-friendly), as well as attention to detail. Other than that, this application proves to be very useful when discussing hard-to-understand concepts and then simplifying them in order to comprehend them in a contextual manner.
There are other applications out there that I have yet to discover, but these are some applications I have utilized when giving instructions. These applications have provided me with a solid support system when it comes to conducting my classes. All in all, they just just make classes more fruitful and spark a great deal of cooperative learning among the students.