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Multimedia Tools Used in the Classroom

by Nicholas Delzotto
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The use of multimedia in the classroom has developed considerably since the days of "audio-visual aids" (think overhead transparencies and tape recorders). Now, virtually every part of learning is accomplished through computers and all-in-one electronic devices. Students and educators perform school functions such as accessing information, creating, collaborating and sharing ideas by using a rich collection of multimedia tools.

Accessing Information

With the large quantities of information online, students have unprecedented access to educational resources. Large bodies of reference materials, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica (Link in Resources) and elibraries, enable students to absorb information quickly and memorably. These resources often include photographs, videos, built-in dictionaries and thesauruses, pronunciation guides and interactive content. Educators harness the power of these multimedia tools to engage students during lessons and encourage them to conduct independent research.

Creating Original Work

Classroom multimedia tools such as smartphones, digital cameras and computers are used by students to create and express themselves. Multimedia editing software like Photoshop, Gargeband and iMovie are used by students to complete assignments that call for creativity and originality. The combination of these tools allows students to record, compose and illustrate. Rich creations such as PowerPoints, key-note speeches, videos, websites and interactive content are produced in classrooms equipped with multimedia tools.

Collaboration

Multimedia tools facilitate collaboration between students and their instructor. The collaborative options provided by office applications such as Google Docs (Link in Resources), blogs and wikis allow students to work together on class projects from anywhere at any time. These resources also provide options that make it easy for students to share their files. Collaboration is further enhanced by multimedia communication tools such as voice and video chats provided by programs like Skype. These communication tools provide comfortable spaces for students and teachers to convene and provide feedback.

Sharing

Multimedia tools also provide a wealth of options for students to share information and to make presentations on various subjects. While PowerPoint presentations are still a popular choice, other options for sharing information are abundant. Students may choose to share their work via the school's website or in their personal eportfolios. External social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn are also used to share their reflections and creations.

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