Types of Multimedia in the Classroom

Multimedia is an effective way to keep students engaged.

It’s a broad term that gets a lot of attention due to changing technology and improvements in curriculum applications. Multimedia in the classroom can mean everything from slideshows to diagrams and infographics. When video, still images, text and audio are combined, it is placed under the umbrella of multimedia.

1 Definition of Multimedia

A quick multimedia definition is any electronic application used to teach lessons or to further educate students on a particular topic. It is a presentation of material that uses both words and pictures in a combination of test, voice, picture or video. Using interactive digital tools to tell a story is called digital storytelling and often uses a combination of multimedia venues to complete the project. The use of multimedia in the classroom allows educational ideas and material to be presented in a more artistic, inspired and engaging way.

2 Types of Multimedia

Educational classrooms use multimedia formats from various media. Text and graphics include slideshows, presentations, diagrams and infographics. Audio includes podcasts and recordings. Screen captures, lecture captures and animation are examples of video components of multimedia. Other multimedia components include blogs, vlogs, webinars and other interactive content.

There are many ways to use different types of multimedia, either individually or layered for a deeper understanding of a school subject. Audiobooks are ideal for second-language learners. Song files and music videos can be used to compare social norms in different eras. A teacher who is adept at different types of multimedia can offer their students a better understanding of the subject.

3 Benefits of Using Multimedia

Digital storytelling allows students to improve their knowledge about a specific subject and increases skills such as writing, researching and reading. Using multimedia in the classroom tends to improve a student’s overall academic performance. In particular, multimedia in the classroom is used for self-directing learning or SDL.

The many medias and ways in which to use them to express a student’s idea for a project on their chosen subject offers a sense of autonomy, which can assist in boosting a student’s self-esteem. With self-directing learning, a student takes the initiative in the chosen project rather than follow strict guidelines or be under the direction of a teacher. The students manage their time and assess what needs to be included in their learning activities. This style of learning is used mostly with older students who already know how to manipulate many of the multimedia venues available to them.

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.