Today's students crave engaging learning experiences, which is exactly why multimedia learning tools have a rightful place in the classroom.

Why multimedia learning tools are a critical part of classrooms

Today's students crave engaging learning experiences, which is exactly why multimedia learning tools have a rightful place in the classroom

Today’s educators are challenged with keeping students engaged in their learning to help them build the knowledge and employability skills they’ll need to be successful. But how do teachers accomplish this tall task and make learning irresistible? The answer lies in the effective use of multimedia learning tools.

Technology on its own cannot engage students, but when multimedia learning tools are used by a highly-trained teacher, classrooms come alive and students become entirely immersed in their learning.

What’s more, as they create projects and use different media to learn and investigate new concepts, students develop technology skills they can rely on as they progress through school and enter the workforce.

A look at multimedia learning tools in classrooms

Video, graphics, digital presentations–there’s no shortage of multimedia learning tools. And once educators take a leap and use multimedia in place of traditional delivery formats, the possibilities are endless.

Students can use blogs, podcasts, or videos to submit assignments. Often, this encourages students who might otherwise feel stressed or pressured presenting in front of others. It also helps students see how their work evolves, which helps them evaluate their own academic progress.

At Lewis Central Community School District in Council Bluffs, Iowa, students use Soundtrap for podcasting. Podcasting, district teachers say, helps students develop effective listening, problem solving, research, writing and speaking skills.

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Molly Pettit, one of the district’s English teachers, replaced the standard two- or three-page written book reflection required in her literature class with a podcast. This approach helped students develop important skills while also injecting something exciting and unique into the classroom.

“As part of their reading/literature standard, they were required to form arguments and engage in debate. They also had to cite quotes and use text evidence within their podcast. That was a big part of their rubric,” Pettit says.

If a teacher uses video as a classroom engagement tool, he or she can pair it with other tools such as Nearpod to create an interactive slide show of multiple videos, or can use a resource like Edpuzzle to embed questions throughout the video.

Speaking of video, TED-Ed Lessons are a great resource for teachers who want to build engaging lessons using videos and other multimedia learning tools. Teachers and students can create their own TED Talks, and teachers can build original lessons based on TED videos or can search a library of existing videos.

Streaming video is another tool with tons of classroom potential, with 58 percent of teachers saying they use video streaming services. An educator could use video clips from a streaming service to break up presentation slides or to illustrate examples of different concepts pertaining to that day’s lesson.

Or, a teacher might use film to help students develop media literacy and identify core elements of a storyline, which encourages students to use critical thinking and make personal connections to what they see. It also helps students develop cultural understanding. Combining film with the flipped classroom can increase student engagement and encourage more classroom discussion and collaboration.

How multimedia learning tools engage students

Students who are engaged in educational concepts take more ownership of their learning, and achievement rises. In Promethean’s 2019 U.S. State of Technology report, 86 percent of teachers and 82 percent of administrators agree that edtech tools improve achievement.

In the same report, educators predict massive growth in multimedia learning tools such as virtual reality, mobile learning, and 3D printing — all driven by the fact that these solutions best combine traditional learning with advances in technology.

According to Common Sense Education, multimedia presentation tools are a “classroom must” for five reasons:
1. They help students build confidence in their language skills
2. Digital presentations help teachers monitor student progress and offer meaningful feedback
3. Planning a presentation strengthens students’ ELA skills and information literacy
4. Students have to think creatively
5. Different multimedia tools let students display their different talents

When students regularly use multimedia in their classrooms, they are not only engaged, but they develop important soft skills such as collaboration and creativity.

These soft skills are important, even at early ages. Creativity, in particular, is in high demand. Creativity is one of the key skills people will need to thrive as the digital workforce evolves–but alarmingly, most students don’t have it, according to a new Adobe report.

The World Economic Forum notes that complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity are the three most important skills that will help workers thrive in 2020 and beyond. Creative problem solving is predicted to be among the most valued skills for future workplaces.

Aside from creativity, employers are seeking candidates with complex problem-solving skills, critical thinking, people management, and the ability to coordinate with others.

Giving students access to multimedia learning tools helps them build these skills. They learn to innovate, collaborate, and think creatively in an ever-changing, globally-connected world.

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