Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Using multimedia presentations in the classroom


Multimedia Presentations - What for?

They are support teaching materials which include multimedia or audiovisual elements that catch learners' attention, and that is one of the reasons why teachers are encouraged to use them in class, simply to engage.

Word cloud made with WordItOut

Why multimedia?

We are visual beings, and so the use of these teaching materials inside and outside the classroom are added value if our aim is:
catching learners' attention and motivating them.
making it easier for the learners to understand concepts, so their understanding is faster, more precise and solid.
helping learners memorise when needed and consolidate their learning.

Multimedia presentations foster visual communication and they are a friendly powerful tool. They are easy to use but allow incorporating multimedia resources. Most learners need to gain skills at designing good presentations, as it is a skill which will surely benefit them in the future, that is lifelong learning, of course.

When to use multimedia presentations in the classroom

Here you are some tips about when I regard it as useful:
  • When reference material is needed, multimedia presentations are neat enough if used with nesting, filtering and priorizing techniques.
  • When there is a wide range of material scattered around several channels, the presentation is the best bank ever. 
  • When the presentation is a functional tool to develop other learning activities.
When not to use multimedia presentations in the classroom

'I can't think of any better activity, so let's create a presentation'. Just for the sake of it, it is not a good idea.

The potential of using multimedia presentations in Education
  • Flipping the classroom and presenting contents beforehand so that in class, learners go on hands-on missions.
  • Allowing learners to be the main characters of their own learning, to design those presentations and to use them in front of an audience, that is, their peers.
  • Fostering team work.
  • Improving digital skills
  • Encouraging communication skills through support multimedia presentations.
  • Enhancing visual organised learning.
  • Using them as a friendly interactive board
Online Tools to design multimedia presentations
  • Wordle: http://www.wordle.net/ It is a really useful online tool to create wordclouds, but it can used to present, too, as well as to visually trigger off key ideas and then discuss about them, write about them, or talk about them. It might be also used for summaries, drafts, concept maps and so forth. The advantage of this tool is that there is no need to sign up in order to create wordclouds and the outcomes are easely exported to our own digital sites, webs, blogs and so forth. The drawback is that the tools works with Java, which might be an issue to view the outcomes correctly.
  • Tagxedo: http://www.tagxedo.com/ It is another online tool for wordcloud design. In my opinion, it has more potential than the one above, with more styles available, it is more engaging but a bit more difficult to use. The outcomes can be downloaded under an image format file to be then inserted elsewhere.
  • Google Slides: https://www.google.com/slides/about/ It is Google tool for slideshows and extremely easy to use, with the added value of being collaborative, if we invite others to edit. It includes various templates and styles and the outcomes can be linked or embedded in any digital publications.
  • Prezihttp://prezi.com/ It might be considered the most popular online tool for designing slideshows nowadays. It is visual and attractive, although in my opinion, the outcomes can turn visually overwhelming after viewing some if they are not very well planned and designed, as the zoom effect might become a distracting element from the central key ideas the slideshow is trying to convey.
  • Knovio: http://www.knovio.com/ It is a free online service where one can upload PowerPoint slideshows and turn them into quite attractive video screencasting clips. It is also available to screencast straight from iPad. We can use it to explain concepts, brainstorm, storytell, flip lessons, rehearse a speech, document a project or a school trip, illustrate a process, and so forth.
  • Screencastomatic: http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/ It is a screencasting useful tool for designing video tutorials. It has a free downloadable version and a pro one, but the free version is quite full and the outomes can be published straight into a YouTube channel.
  • Genially: http://www.genial.ly/ Nice online tool with Spanish version, lots of available templates to take advantage of and outcomes that can be linked or embedded into one's own digital sites. One may also import Powerpoint slideshows or Piktochart infographics.
  • Slidespeech: http://slidespeech.com/ It is not a tool for designing presentations as such, but a tool to add voice to a presentation with speaker's notes. It automatically turns those notes into audio and allows a simple presentation to become a digital story.

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