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Use Of Multimedia In Education Essay

1Sri Satya Sai College of Engineering, Bhopal , M.P India .


The population of student learning English as a foreign language has been steadily increasing from year to year. To succeed in college, these students must develop not only linguistics, but also academic skills. These skills involve using English to acquire and articulate knowledge by reading academic texts, writing acceptable academic prose, conducting and reporting research. In Indonesia, English is taught in schools since the students go to Junior high schools. However, many of them do not know how to speak and write English for some reasons. Some people from educational field said that the curriculum need to be changed, including the purpose of teaching them English, the textbook, and the methods. To meet the students’ academic needs and help them develop strong English language skills, there are a number of ways need to be applied. One of the techniques to improving the students is using multimedia in the process of teaching and learning in the classrooms. Multimedia use in classroom will provide opportunity for interacting with diverse texts that give students a solid background in the tasks and content of mainstream college courses. Furthermore, because educational technology is expected to become an integral part of the curriculum, EFL students must become proficient in accessing and using electronic resources. This article describes the method that could help the students to develop their skills in English through multimedia: print text, film, video, radio, computer, and Internet. As students, they must be dealt with the subject found in resource material; also they are able to choose the resources that best suitable the points they wish to make. However, the courses are not included research skills, making research reports to challenging their English language skills.

Multimedia Classroom

The time it takes to earn the degree in education today is based on an increasingly outdated model: so many hours in a classroom entitle a student to a receipt in the form of a grade, and so many receipts can be redeemed for a credential in the form of a degree... Education today is just beginning to think of shifting the basis of certification from time served to skills and knowledge obtained.

Traditionally classroom situation is teachers stand in front of the students, giving explanations, informing, and instructing. They usually use chalk to write something on the blackboard. These technique needs slightly to be modified regarding with the development of the technology. The using of multimedia in classroom cannot be denied anymore. That will make possible for teachers giving more opportunity to students being happier and more enjoy during the course. Traditional classrooms have different settings from the multimedia classrooms. Students seat in rows and a chalkboard in the front. The teacher is standing in front of the class giving a lecture. Compared with traditional classrooms, multimedia classrooms setting differ greatly from traditional classrooms. Traditional classrooms have the seats in rows and a chalkboard in the front. In the multimedia classrooms, students’ seat can be modified according to the situation needed. Inside the classrooms, all the equipment is available and makes the students feel comfortable to study. They sit at wide tables in comfortable chairs and have plenty of room to spread work. Furthermore, they also have the opportunity to move the furniture around for group discussions. A large teaching station is located at the front and to one side of the room. Inside the station cabinet there are controls for the rooms built – in equipment. The use of multimedia described here makes use of print texts, film and Internet to develop and enhance linguistics and knowledge. Through their interactions with multimedia texts on topic of interest, students become increasingly familiar with academic vocabulary and language structures. As they pursue sustained study of one content area through focus discipline research, the students become actively engaged in the process of meaning construction within and across different media. Working though the complex intermingling of meanings, embedded within different texts encourages students to make connections as they build a wider range of schemata, which are then available to help them grasp future texts. Using print, film and Internet as resources for studying provides students with opportunities to gather information through stimuli that will stimulate their imaginations, engage their interest and introduce them to the raw materials for analysis and interpretation of both language and context. Students develop solid foundation in several subject areas and become “content experts” in one. Thus they greatly increase their overall knowledge base, as well as their English language and critical literacy skills, facilitating their performance in future college courses. Although various studies support the application of multimedia in the classroom, Liu, Jones and Hem street (1998) point out that the design of multimedia is useful when technology is to have any effect on learning. One of the main purposes of software in writing is to facilitate the development of academic writing skills for students through the use of the objects matter for writing assignments. The program is presented as a simulation game to interest and motivation. Students using the program found themselves in the virtual world of education.

The Computer Internet

Computer technology has given us Internet, which has various uses. Dealing with education, Internet presents the students a wide range of collection of English language texts in many discipline departments. Before the general use of computers in colleges and universities to teach writing, students met in a traditional classroom and were taught to write standard essay. Instruction was personified commonly by the teachers standing behind a lectern or by the teacher marking errors on student texts (Blair, 1997). With the rapid proliferation of the personal computer, many institutions of higher education created “computerized writing courses” emphasizing word processing skills and collaborative critiquing; believing that using the technology “democratizes the classroom discussion, allowing students to transcend the limits of the traditional Computer technology has given us Internet, which is an electronic medium in which both print and visual resources are invariably bound. At the click of a

mouse, text resources present students with a diverse collection of authentic English language texts dealing with a wide variety of interdisciplinary topics, and at each web page link, students have the advantage of reading print texts with the benefit of immediate visual reinforcement provided by pictures and slide shows, facilitating the collaborative effects of print and visual information processing. Integrating the Internet yields the additional benefit of increased student motivation. Students are eager to begin class and often arrive early at the computer lab, logging on to the Internet and beginning research on their own. They also often stay after class to continue working on the Internet. Overall, students develop greater confidence in their ability to use English because they need to interact with the Internet entirely through reading and writing. Using the Internet for focus discipline research not only teaches higher order thinking skills, but also promotes critical and social literacy as students encounter a variety of information, synthesizing that information through cooperation and collaboration with their peers. Members of focus discipline groups generally form strong multicultural friendship fostered by their collaborative efforts throughout the semester. However, the general uses of computers are rarely found in traditional classroom. For instance, students attend the regular classes that were taught to write the standard essay. With the technology use, the students do not only literate the ability to read and write but also to be able to understand music, video, hypertext and networked communications. Whitaker (1995) points out clearly that technology as something to expand human potential rather than substitute for it and which enhances the thought process rather than cripples it.

The Print Text

The Print text used in presenting students with sophisticated reading that contains cognitively demanding language and introduces a wide range of vocabulary. However, these texts may be difficult to understand. This is suggested to present in printed and visual text. By reading print texts will the benefit of immediate visual provided by pictures or slide show. In writing class of using multimedia, students watch the selected video novel. After watching students are asked questions about the video and assigned essay topics, then divided into brainstorming groups. They discuss and develop the topics in their group. They then make rough draft before presenting in front of other groups. It is obviously that in the multimedia classroom students are engaged to learn how to brainstorm, how to use groups for draft and how to critique other presentations .However, to benefit from the Internet, the students have to learn to navigate and then evaluate the information found there. The students must know how to use search engines, web browsers, and met sites evaluate information in terms of its validity and reliability, as well as its relevance to the topic (Carlson, 1995). Therefore to guide the students in determining whether an Internet source is reliable and credible, students should consider the source and time frame, as well as the evidence supporting the information provided. As the students become more comfortable surfing the Internet, they discover it can be used to develop not only content area knowledge but also to improve their language skills. They know how to compose an essay, using information from the sources they have found in the Internet; also they learn how to cite references in a bibliography.

A study conducted by Kasper (1997) illustrate that teaching English using multimedia such as print, film, video, Internet to students encourage them to write a critical analysis on assignments. Overall, the students’ achievement increased significantly. 92 % of the students passed on departmental reading and writing examinations. In addition, their feedback on discussions is very positive. They express confidence in their ability to use English. They attribute this improvement to the multimedia model that the texts teach them English and provide helpful information in other courses and the film and Internet help them make material easier to understand because they see, hear, and read about the topic.

The Film

Film can be used to provide a visual material. The students can read a print text and watch the film later, according to Kasper and Singer (1997), the film can clarify comprehension, consolidate concepts and reinforce learning. It is expected to the students to fully understand both visual and verbal comprehension. By watching the complete film the students expected to understand various areas of academic discourse such as psychology, environmental science and others to broaden the verbal and written perspective (Kasper and Singer, 1997). A study case from Florida International University (1994), has examined a multimedia classroom, the students watching the video novels Tom Jones (the new six part A & E version) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour). After viewing it, the class asked questions about the movie and assigned essay topics, to help them the teacher asked the students to brainstorm.


Through the interaction with multimedia, the students become increasingly familiar with academic vocabulary and language structure. Connecting with the Internet will make the benefit of increased student motivation. Students are eager to begin class and often arrive early at the computer lab, logging on the Internet and beginning research on their own. They also often stay after class to continue working on the Internet. Overall, students develop greater confidence in their ability to use English because they need to interact with the Internet through reading and writing. Using multimedia provides the students to gather information through media that encourages their imaginations, interests. Also it using this technology combined with the sense of teaching will create a successful teaching method.

In our imaginations, we enjoy and value all the benefits of education on-demand. We wish the future was here already because deep down inside, we all are lifelong learners. We just want learning to be easy, personalized. This vision is inviting, yet we must live and work in present time. And today, the reality stays apart from the dream. The challenge to educators is clear. We must also establish rigorous standards of quality in the products, services, and solutions we offer to our youth. We must learn how to prepare all of our students for lives that are becoming more and more complex. We must prepare our students to master change.


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Abhaya Asthana
Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, Westford, MA, USA

Definition: Multimedia combines five basic types of media into the learning environment: text, video, sound, graphics and animation, thus providing a powerful new tool for education.


The world in which we live is changing rapidly and the field of education is experiencing these changes in particular as it applies to Media Services. The old days of an educational institution having an isolated audio-visual department are long gone! The growth in use of multimedia within the education sector has accelerated in recent years, and looks set for continued expansion in the future.

Teachers primarily require access to learning resources, which can support concept development by learners in a variety of ways to meet individual learning needs. The development of multimedia technologies for learning offers new ways in which learning can take place in schools and the home. Enabling teachers to have access to multimedia learning resources, which support constructive concept development, allows the teacher to focus more on being a facilitator of learning while working with individual students. Extending the use of multimedia learning resources to the home represents an educational opportunity with the potential to improve student learning.

The elements used in multimedia have all existed before. Multimedia simply combines these elements into a powerful new tool, especially in the hands of teachers and students. Interactive multimedia weaves five basic types of media into the learning environment: text, video, sound, graphics and animation. Since the mode of learning is interactive and not linear, a student or teacher can choose what to investigate next. For example, one does not start on the first page of a linear document and read to the end. Interactive multimedia learning mode is more like constructing a spider’s web, with one idea linked to another, allowing choices in the learner’s path.

The multimedia technologies that have had the greatest impact in education are those that augment the existing curriculum, allowing both immediate enhancement and encouraging further curriculum development. For example, the WWW serves as a storehouse of information that individual learners can search for subject matter content that specifically fits their learning agendas. Multimedia applications for computers have been developed for single computing platforms such as the PC, Apple Mac and games machines.

The Elements of Multimedia in Education

It is very tempting to use the latest computer wizardry to represent information and develop computer enhanced learning materials. However, the instructional design of these systems should be based on a careful examination and analysis of the many factors, both human and technical, relating to visual learning. When is sound more meaningful than a picture? How much text is too much? Does the graphic overwhelm the screen? For a student, this allows them to test all of their skills gained in every subject area. Students must be able to select appropriate multimedia tools and apply them to the learning task within the learning environment in order for effective learning to take place.

A Multimedia Learning environment involves a number of components or elements in order to enable learning to take place. Hardware and software are only part of the requirement. As mentioned earlier, multimedia learning integrates five types of media to provide flexibility in expressing the creativity of a student and in exchanging ideas (See Figure 1).


Out of all of the elements, text has the most impact on the quality of the multimedia interaction. Generally, text provides the important information. Text acts as the keystone tying all of the other media elements together. It is well written text that makes a multimedia communication wonderful.


Sound is used to provide emphasis or highlight a transition from one page to another. Sound synchronized to screen display, enables teachers to present lots of information at once. This approach is used in a variety of ways, all based on visual display of a complex image paired with a spoken explanation (for example, art – pictures are ‘glossed’ by the voiceover; or math – a proof fills the screen while the spoken explanation plays in the background). Sound used creatively, becomes a stimulus to the imagination; used inappropriately it becomes a hindrance or an annoyance. For instance, a script, some still images and a sound track, allow students to utilize their own power of imagination without being biased and influenced by the inappropriate use of video footage. A great advantage is that the sound file can be stopped and started very easily.


The representation of information by using the visualization capabilities of video can be immediate and powerful. While this is not in doubt, it is the ability to choose how we view, and interact, with the content of digital video that provides new and exciting possibilities for the use of digital video in education. There are many instances where students, studying particular processes, may find themselves faced with a scenario that seems highly complex when conveyed in purely text form, or by the use of diagrams and images. In such situations the representational qualities of video help in placing a theoretical concept into context.

Video can stimulate interest if it is relevant to the rest of the information on the page, and is not ‘overdone’. Video can be used to give examples of phenomena or issues referred to in the text. For example, while students are reading notes about a particular issue, a video showing a short clip of the author/teacher emphasizing the key points can be inserted at a key moment; alternatively, the video clips can be used to tell readers what to do next. On the other hand, it is unlikely that video can completely replace the face-to-face lecture: rather, video needs to be used to supplement textual information.

One of the most compelling justifications for video may be its dramatic ability to elicit an emotional response from an individual. Such a reaction can provide a strong motivational incentive to choose and persist in a task.

The use of video is appropriate to convey information about environments that can be either dangerous or too costly to consider, or recreate, in real life. For example: video images used to demonstrate particular chemical reactions without exposing students to highly volatile chemicals, or medical education, where real-life situations can be better understood via video.


Animation is used to show changes in state over time, or to present information slowly to students so they have time to assimilate it in smaller chunks. Animations, when combined with user input, enable students to view different versions of change over time depending on different variables.

Animations are primarily used to demonstrate an idea or illustrate a concept. Video is usually taken from life, whereas animations are based on drawings. There are two types of animation: Cel based and Object based. Cel based animation consists of multiple drawings, each one a little different from the others. When shown in rapid sequence, for example, the operation of an engine’s crankshaft, the drawings appear to move. Object based animation (also called slide or path animation) simply moves an object across a screen. The object itself does not change. Students can use object animation to illustrate a point – imagine a battle map of Gettysburg where troop movement is represented by sliding arrows.


Graphics provide the most creative possibilities for a learning session. They can be photographs, drawings, graphs from a spreadsheet, pictures from CD-ROM, or something pulled from the Internet. With a scanner, hand-drawn work can be included. Standing commented that, “the capacity of recognition memory for pictures is almost limitless”. The reason for this is that images make use of a massive range of cortical skills: color, form, line, dimension, texture, visual rhythm, and especially imagination.

Educational Requirements

Employing multimedia tools into the learning environment is a rewarding, but complex and challenging task. All of the multimedia formats available: text, sound, video, animation and graphics, already exist in one form or another in most libraries. Students can explore an almost infinite variety of information. All these explorations can certainly lead to new discoveries, but unless consumption is followed by production, the story ends. Without a chance to use their new discoveries and demonstrate what they have learned, the knowledge gained soon becomes the knowledge forgotten.

Giving students an opportunity to produce multimedia documents of their own provides several educational advantages. Students work with the same information from four perspectives: 1) as researcher, they must locate and select the information needed to understand the chosen topic; 2) as authors, they must consider their intended audience and decide what amount of information is needed to give their readers an understanding of the topic; 3) as designers, they must select the appropriate media to share the concepts selected; and 4) as writers, they must find a way to fit the information to the container including the manner of linking the information for others to retrieve.

When defining the appropriate medium to use it is vital to ‘know’ the audience and the technical specification of users’ machines. There may be technical reasons for choosing which multimedia element will best communicate certain concepts. Whatever medium is chosen, to apply a principle mentioned above to all digital media elements, visuals must be congruent, relevant, and consistent with other information presented in order to be effective. Whatever the latest technological advance, instructional design principles apply. For example, care needs to be taken when using visuals for aesthetic reasons. The misuse of a single visual element can cause misrepresentation of information and become a barrier to content and impede learning, even if the program overall may, in all other aspects, follow the principles of instructional design. It is important to bear in mind the nature of the audience, especially their age group and culture mix.

Human – Computer Interface

Multimedia applications like any other application, appliance or tool, benefit from being easy to use, with minimal training or self-learning. The need for a well designed human – computer interface, which may be screen or audio based is well accepted. The standards for computer- based publications are set by the publishers of books, music, Walt Disney cartoons and television producers. With the development of High Definition TV and beyond, it is likely that there will be a continual increase in the demands placed on computer based multimedia systems.

Access, Delivery, Scheduling and Recording

On demand access times to computer information need to be below one second to be usable in real time. Alternatively the delivery of information at a later time is acceptable if it can be scheduled, as in a TV broadcast schedule. Scheduling can have advantages for users over on demand delivery. In open learning situations learners can control their program by requesting a multimedia unit at a convenient time. Computer users will wish to record a film, session, or learning experience for future reference.


Computer based multimedia needs the same degree of interactivity that a school exercise book, or a laboratory experiment has in order to remain credible as a learning medium. Educationists have shown that certain forms of learning becomes easier, and is retained more permanently if the learner participates in some way with the learning material. The generation of computer based virtual reality is an extension of this process. The incorporation of interactivity is really the job of the application designer. The incorporation of interactivity is assisted if the network is capable of two-way communication, and for some applications the sense of interactivity is aided by the ability to deliver a moving picture, or a sound very quickly, so that a sense of two-way human participation can be generated. Real time video conferencing is an example.

Classroom Architecture and Resources

The technology needed to support classroom teaching has increased in complexity. Until only a few years ago all that a lecture room needed were some seats for the students, and a blackboard and a lectern or table for the teacher. Then came the overhead projector, slide projector and the return of TV with video player. Now there is the computer, networks and related display tools. From having a next to zero maintenance cost, the teaching room is becoming not only costly to equip, but costly to run and maintain, including the escalating costs of security. Figure 2 shows a typical multimedia based educational environment. The main teaching spaces are equipped with a standard set of presentation equipment, and full details of what is, and is not, available in each room.

The live lecture in the digital theater is concurrently broadcast to the remote distance-learning site. Even home-based students may join the live session. The ways in which users or participants in multimedia sessions access multimedia or connect with others have important consequences for the storage and transmission systems. For instance multimedia learning material can be accessed directly from a server during a class or downloaded to student machines prior to a session. The demands on a connecting network are very different in each access mode. Students learn to make use of multimedia as an aid to retrieving information from multiple sources such as digital libraries and multimedia servers that could support computer-assisted learning environments. Students learn to develop multimedia materials, especially as a component of project-based learning that is rooted in constructivism and in cooperative learning.

Multimedia offers the lecturer many benefits including: satisfying educational objectives, increasing students understanding, demonstrating events, showing places, conducting experiments which would otherwise be impossible. Sharing of multimedia outputs is done carefully such that it will not disturb other learners working in the same classroom! Not only may a number of students be performing similar activities at the same time on a network, the lecturer must decide whether to control the activities via the media of the computer. The use of multi-party desktop conferencing with the lecturer chairing the running of the conferencing session, showing selected parts of a video is a case in point.

Many school reform models focus on a significant restructuring of the classroom. They propose a shift from a teacher-centered didactic model to a learner-centered constructivist model. While details of these constructivist models vary, they typically include an emphasis on cooperative learning and on the use of project-based learning. Most types of school reform models recognize that multimedia brings a new dimension to reading and writing, and the need for students to develop basic skills in information retrieval in multimedia environments.

Training and Staff Development

Of course all of these teaching innovations require a new methodology to support the technology. It requires a change of direction in terms of academic planning and lectures need to be carefully structured to maximize the benefits that interactive systems bring to teaching.

The installation of any new technology inevitably brings with it the need for staff development courses, and the costs of such staff development should not be overlooked. With regards to presentation equipment within teaching spaces there are two main groups of people who require training, the lecturers and the support staff, though increasingly students also seek training in presentation skills. The availability of standards for multimedia networking, particularly for inter-working between applications, the development of networked applications, and interworking between networks are essential to reduce the complexity and level of skill required in using multimedia.

Resources – WWW and Virtual Environments

The World-Wide Web was created to support remote collaborative research, but it has developed primarily as a means of providing information that is linked to other information sources. It is an essential medium for accessing, delivering and exchanging information. The WWW provides a number of opportunities for teachers and students. Resources can be accessed which might otherwise have been unavailable. These include virtual libraries and museums. Other resources can be built up and used by students, for example questions and answers that can be searched or routed through to an expert if it is a new query and then the answer logged for future use. Teaching programs can be accessed and used by students as part of their modules.

The Web can be thought of as a digital global multimedia library (See Figure 2). With the steadily increasing classroom use of multimedia resources, students are required to develop the skills needed to locate information contained in this format. Developing skills for locating and evaluating information requires learning to distinguish good multimedia from poor multimedia materials.

Multimedia in education has the potential to go beyond the boundaries of interaction and explorative learning. The actors in the education community could establish a ‘Virtual Education Space’ (VES). A student can ‘create’ artifacts that reflect his/her understanding of concepts by combining text, voice and animation utilities. A teacher could customize lesson plans that can be individualized. Literally it is setting up an education lab to innovate and create.


The fusion of all types of media in a digital world captures the ethos of the new technological age. Multimedia: a combination of video, text, still images and sound can provide an effective learning aid. But the adage, “Putting computers into schools will directly improve learning,” is negated by the reality that, “all this expensive technology will yield little educational return until schools and districts address the need for professional development, technical support, the availability of appropriate software, classroom management, and curriculum integration.”

The full potential of using multimedia technologies for learning in primary and secondary schools can only be realized after there has been some re-engineering of the way learning experiences are offered in the traditional schools and colleges. A critical element is for teachers to be familiar with multimedia technologies in order for them to know how to use them within their curriculum areas.

Moreover, the freedom of the Internet has some disadvantages. There is too much information on the Internet. Students must decide what information they need and what they do not need. The quality of the information can also be misleading. Students must be taught how to distinguish between quality and unimportant information. Since no rules exist on the Internet in terms of what can and cannot be disclosed, anyone can put any material on the Internet.

Lastly, “High-Tech Kids: Trailblazers or Guinea Pigs?” introduces the debate over whether computer use by young children is helping or hindering their brain development, social and physical health. Are we using this generation of young people as guinea pigs? It is a thought- provoking question for educators to ponder.