Designing Multimedia and Constructivist Instruction

This course has really opened my eyes to the benefits, as well as the work involved in creating multimedia projects. I had created projects which utilized some of the individual medias used in this course in the past and had even combined two or more media together, but a full-fledged multimedia project such as had to be created for this course was a new experience. It was especially educational trying to determine which media was most effect to deliver which elements of the instruction and to create a single track of instruction which did not present redundant information.

Of course, much of the material I presented in this course used a direct instruction approach. At best, this combination of media lends itself to a cognitive approach to learning, but I’m not sure how it could be used for a truly constructivist strategy. Of course, Kozma (1991) envisioned the use of a computer’s processing abilities to permit constructivist learning, and Jean Piaget was one of the first to use the computer in this way. He and Seymour Papert co-invented the Logo program in 1967, which was specifically designed as a learning tool for children. This easy-to-learn programming language gave children the opportunity to explore math, science, and engineering. It is best known for a robotics functionality that is a predecessor to today’s LEGO Mindstorms, so named after Papert’s book. Piaget is one of the pioneers of constructivist theory (Duffy & Cunningham, 1996), and he used computers as one of his main instructional resources.

Today, most educators agree that a blend of direct and constructivist approaches works best for instruction, particularly with novice or younger students. New information is presented through direct instruction. Constructivist approaches are used to apply this information to new situations, for clarification when students get different responses to the same problem, and to determine the best way to solve a problem. Media, including multimedia, can become a part of these instructional strategies in many different ways.

References

Kozma, R. B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 179–211.

Duffy, Thomas M., and Cunningham, Donald J. (1996). Constructivism, implications for the design and delivery of instruction. In Educational Communications and Technology, ed. David H. Jonassen. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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