Audiovisual aids are teaching tools that educators use to complement their academic lessons. Examples of audiovisual aids include videos, music clips, flip charts, slideshow presentations and overhead transparencies. Audiovisual aids should not be used as the only teaching method, but should be incorporated periodically throughout lessons to provide extra information for students.
Audiovisual aids allow teachers to demonstrate things to students that, otherwise, may not be clearly conveyed. When you lecture to students on a new subject -- like ringtail lemurs' mating habits -- you are limited to verbal descriptions. However, when you can demonstrate something through sight and sound, students pick up more information through the audiovisual experience. For instance, a film clip on ringtail lemurs' mating habits gives students an academic experience they could not obtain from a lecture or a textbook.
Students have different learning methods. Howard Gardner of Harvard University -- who advanced the multiple intelligences theory, which suggests individuals learn things differently -- identified seven learning styles: visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic and logical. While some students may learn more effectively through hands-on activities, others may learn through musical or visual responses. As such, classroom audiovisual tools allow musical and visual learners to learn information in a way that stimulates their intelligence style.
Audiovisual aids in the classroom add diversity to an instructor's teaching method. Whether you teach a group of preschoolers or college students, incorporating audiovisual aids into your lessons helps you keep students' attention. On the contrary, too much of one type of teaching method -- whether it's lecturing or discussion -- can grow dull and cause students to lose interest in the material. Retention of information typically is greater when audiovisual aids complement or present information, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
By using audiovisual tools in the classroom, teachers show students how to communicate through various media. Students are introduced to the concept of conveying information creatively -- which comes in handy when they must give presentations in class or later in their careers. Exposure to audiovisual aids in school teaches kids how to communicate through sight and sound, and to tie the things they see and hear together to understand an important message.
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