Importance of Multimedia in Education
Multimedia in the classroom has evolved rapidly with a progression from audio cassettes to internet sites in classroom learning. Examples of multimedia in the classroom include the use of video, the creation of video by students, the creation of spreadsheets or the development of a website displaying student work.
Practical Advantages to Using Multimedia
A major advantage to using multimedia sources in the classroom is the ability to bring in images, sounds and videos without leaving the room. Computer programs and internet sites can also give students experiences that might ordinarily be unsafe, such as views from scaling mountains in a geography lesson or a dissection of a rare animal. Additionally, using a projector or individual computers gives students the opportunity to view information or materials up close.
Educational Advantages to Using Multimedia
Students who learned from materials containing both text and graphics produced 55 percent to 121 percent more accurate solutions to problems, according to David Taylor at the University of Maryland. The use of images, along with words, diminishes the overwhelming nature of text and helps the student to manage the cognitive load, which increases retention. Specifically, graphics are found to support retention because important elements are focused on via placement, layout and color. Activation of prior knowledge is engaged quickly with visual analogy, and mental models are created easily as diagrams can enhance understanding of how a concept works. Additionally, learning is made easier because simulations allow students to visualize real-life situations, and motivation is increased as students are able to see the relevance of skills.
Practical Disadvantages to Using Multimedia
Multimedia lessons or components of lessons delivered via video or image require computers, projectors and other electronic devices depending upon the subject and the amount of original material a teacher creates. The expense associated with quality projectors or computers for every student can be quite high, and the amount of images and videos in a lesson can slow down the delivery and pace of the class as a result. Student access to computers at home may also cause problems, and varying quality of student electronic devices can create inequity in projects and presentations.