Woodbridge, Jerry. Digital Kaleidoscope: Learning with Multimedia. TechLearning.com.  Can be retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=17000193

Digital Kaleidoscope: Learning with Multimedia is a very informative read.  I liked how it was organized with an introduction, definitions, theory, supported research, real life application, and summarized at the end.  I also liked how Woodbridge used the analogy of a kaleidoscope for multimedia production.

This article shows how multimedia/hypermedia can be used effectively as an instructional tool in the classroom with supported research as evidence.  Woodbridge also mentions that the article would be appropriate for a professional development session or with a teacher education class.  I liked that idea since I believe more needs to be done to prepare teachers for integrating technology at a higher level in the classrooms. 

Woodbridge uses simple definitions for readers of some of the concepts to be discussed.  He begins his argument with some convincing statements from previous research and I thought I’d give my favorite reason he gives for incorporating technology in the classroom: (from Neo & Neo) "Using multimedia in the teaching and learning environment enables students to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, more apt to seek information, and more motivated in their learning processes" (2001).

Woodbridge, in this report discusses multimedia with the approach that Reeves calls “learning with technology”.  He attempts to show how HyperStudio software is a cognitive tool used within a constructivist learning environment.  I learned that within a cognitive tools approach, (Woodbridge cites Reeves) media and technology are given directly to learners, i.e., learners themselves are designers to:

·        analyze the world

·        access and interpret information

·        organize their personal knowledge

·        represent what they know to others

The other quote I especially felt might impact teachers reading this article is taken from Reeves to reinforce the findings that “Cognitive tools will have their greatest effectiveness when they are applied within constructivist learning environments.”

Woodbridge then guides readers through the theory behind a constructivist learning environment.  He uses his own example of the “Twister!” HyperStudio stack to emphasize three important facts.  These are very relevant and I feel apply to all teachers, anywhere in the world.  Woodbridge figures that:

1.      educators need to experience the effects of multimedia firsthand (as students would),

2.      educators need to experiment with the design process to create (in this example a HyperStudio stack) so they will understand how it is relevant to their teaching, and

3.      educators will understand that allowing students access to producing their own multimedia could enhance student comprehension of what’s being taught. 

 

To summarize some of the following paragraphs, Woodbridge elaborates on the following reasons of why multimedia could be a relevant cognitive tool to use in any discipline or level:

·        Multimedia can enhance student engagement (Woodbridge discusses multimodal presentations that I found interesting and consistent with what I learned from Dr. Bruce Mann in a previous graduate course)

·        Multimedia is an affective and effective tool to use in instruction (Woodbridge uses an excellent example of storytelling to relate multimedia with eliciting an emotional and cognitive response to characters in the story with a student’s sensory interactions)

·        Multimedia motivates students (Woodbridge used several studies to show that students perform higher quality work and have greater participation when educators use interactive technology in their instruction and student work)

·        Multimedia accesses multiple intelligences (I liked that Woodbridge pointed out from Lazear’s research that the “media and tools for stimulating the different intelligences must be abundantly present in the classroom)

·        Multimedia can address standards (outcomes)

·        Multimedia delivers variety

·        Multimedia can create higher achievement in content areas (critical thinking skills are proved to develop when students use technology presentation to communicate) 

Woodbridge continues in the article with ways to improve teaching science content with multimedia.  A couple of good points came out from this discussion.  In a study by Flick et al in 2000, it was found that “Teachers need to see specific examples of how technology can enhance science instruction in their content areas before they can hope to appropriately integrate technology in their own instruction.”  In this same study, researchers recommended that teachers “take advantage of the capabilities of technology and extend instruction beyond or significantly enhance what can be done without technology." 

Woodbridge concludes that “A constructive learning environment allows students to create their own knowledge in a nonlinear way through interactive multimedia and hypermedia formats, such as HyperStudio.”  I recommend this read to anyone interesting in integrating technology in the classroom and even to those that do.  A great read!

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