Using Multimedia in the Middle School Classroom

Communication be it technology aided or not is a key factor in the development of a more integrated society and is a source of difference between the social man and other living animals (IEEE MultiMedia, 2008). Understanding multimedia which is a form of visual communication and its application to middle class classrooms which are part of the education system is important to the entire society. Use of multiple media to pass information has in a number of cases been cited as a good avenue for creating greater understating which is core to student development.

Such good understanding is desirable at all levels of education though the importance is clearer in middle school where students start developing the theoretical foundations of their academic life. Inclusion Criteria The theme of the research is to investigate the use of multimedia in middle school classrooms. Multimedia being the key issue in the theme is a technology that is changing fast with developments in the technological world. Most multimedia systems are heavily reliant on electronics and are therefore heavily influenced by changes technology.

Being a fast changing area, there is need to ensure that the literature used in the research be highly relevant to the area being researched on. In addition, a fast changing area is bound to have varying literature which may even be inaccurate. Inaccuracy cannot be allowed in the research and therefore literature resources that will be included in the review have to be from sources that are credible. In addition to addressing the use of multimedia, the subject of use in middle school classroom is important to the theme.

An understanding of the nature of middle school classroom is important for the research and may involve an analysis of the literature on what constitutes good learning experience at this level and applicability of multimedia in consideration of what is required. In summary, the literature used in the research is retrieved from a variety of sources which include journals, books and web articles that have recent content and whose accuracy can be guaranteed. Multimedia One of the most visible differences between humans and other animals is the level of development that the human man has been able to attain.

Man has developed in terms of mastery of the surrounding and development of systems that make work easier thus technology. By multimedia being a form of technology, there is an aspect of making work easier about it. The technological definition of multimedia is that it is media and content that uses a combination of various forms of data (Branzburg, 2007). Traditional media which use single forms like texts, audio and video have been combined in multimedia to create high levels of efficiency.

Development of multimedia may have been a result of developments in computer technology, though the impact that it has ion communications is quite noticeable. All forms of communications have their pros and cons and by merging a high level communication approach that minimizes the cons and creates more advantages, a better robust communication approach is developed. Multimedia content can be recorded, displayed and accessed in storage devices though they can also be included in live performances. A key advantage that comes with multimedia is the robustness that this approach to communication has.

In addition to creating better understanding by a combination of audio, video and text material multimedia can be made to exhibit high levels of interaction that makes it a good communication tool. Computers are used in employing multimedia; capabilities and functionalities that come with multimedia makes it one of the greatest developments in man’s history of communication and if well used it could be an avenue for development of greater understanding which is a tool for social development. Relevance to Middle School Classrooms

In most educational curricular the basics required to develop communication and understand the more theoretical aspects involved in education are learned at lower school. The middle school represents a level in education where theories are introduced. Reproduction health, nature studies, geography and algebra are some of the subjects that make students develop poor attitudes on schooling. Most curricula have significant change in content and mode of presentation that instructors and teachers introduce in middle school. Bright students suddenly lose interest in middle school and start recording dwindling performance.

The woes that characterize middle school are made more complex by the number of students that hit puberty at this age. Most people hit puberty at the age of 11 or 12 years and this is the age where most students are in their middle school. When puberty hits, it hits hard and the manner in which the students interact with the environment in the early years of their puberty has a bearing on the approach they adopt later. Students develop attitude and middle classes are regarded by teachers as being the noisiest or worst performing.

Education experts are of the view that there is need for educators and educational stakeholders to ensure that learning at middle school is made more interesting to avoid the propensity of it being labeled boring. Middle schools should implement transitional systems to guide learners from the illustrious lower school to the more theoretical upper school. Multimedia and Middle School In recent years, designs of educational software support have improved and their support in developing ICT skills has been prolific.

One area that has had notable development is multimedia where the development of software that make it possible for instructors to develop multimedia and use them in a classroom setting are said to be a revolution in the right direction. Classes that use multimedia are generally more interesting and interactive than those that use single media and this interaction between an instructor and the learner is cited as being central to efficient transmission of theories and principles that make up academics (Technology & Learning, 2008).

Multimedia has on the other hand had its own share of cons which include the high cost involved in the initial installation of computing system and the costs involved in keeping up with the rapid development in multimedia and general computing. The following are some of the pros and cons involved in use of multimedia in middle class classrooms: Advantages for Students The role played by information systems and technology is becoming clearer by the day. Information systems are rapidly changing and the role that computers and information systems play in the society is increasing by the day.

Appreciation of information technology and awareness on its use and relevance is important to all in the modern society and it is only for the good of the students if this awareness is developed early. Use of multimedia which implements computing and information technology is an avenue through which the education system can effectively develop an appreciation of information technology which will be beneficial to the students as members of an information conscious society. This goes a long way in meeting one of the objectives of the education system.

Transition from a practical approach to learning to a theoretical one can be problematic; this is made complex by an approach that does not consider the transition phase the students are in (Angelina, 2008). Transition to a theoretical approach to learning from a highly aided one cannot be instantaneous and the use of multimedia will incorporate both visual and theoretical aspect. Recent learning systems allow instructors to edit the content thus with movement into higher level of education where there is increase in theoretical approaches the instructor can adjust the content accordingly (Technology & Learning, 2008).

In addition, multimedia is highly relevant to development and appreciation of a practical approach to education in an age where more emphasis is being placed on practical approaches to learning. One of the reasons as to why middle school students find learning boring is the high levels of distraction that come with puberty. Learning is only possible if one concentrates and the lack of concentration due to hormonal rages can only be dealt my making classrooms more interactive and interesting (Lieshout, Egyedi,& Bijker, 2001).

Increase in complexity of concepts and principles makes it impossible to implement a simple visually aided approach while the state that the student are in calls for use of an approach that will attract their attention. Employing multimedia in a middle class setting therefore increase the levels of interaction within students and between them and instructors and leads to the development of interesting classrooms (Rahman, 2002). Multimedia often calls for use of multiple senses thus reducing the likelihood of an individual drifting into boredom and is therefore effective in transmitting concepts that are likely to be complex to the learner.

Advantages for teachers

Teaching is considered the most interesting profession due to the diversity that comes with the students and their requirements. Teachers are in place to facilitate the learning process and this they should do with all their ability. The weight on a teacher especially if the students are extremely active or preoccupied with their development into adolescence is large that teachers’ efficiency in transmission is reduced. The joy in teaching comes in seeing that the students have understood what they are being taught and are taking interest in learning more thus the teachers’ task is to develop this interest.

Multimedia is quite effective in creating the intrigue that is central to the development of interest in any area (Ivers,,& Barron, 2005). Teaching as a profession is increasingly becoming competitive and teachers just like any other professionals are required to have skills and knowledge that are relevant to the modern society. Information technology is a vast discipline and its mastery is more essential in the modern society (Karla,& Randall, 2008). Lack of knowledge in information technology or at least experience in managing computer aided devices is a weakness that all professionals should deal with.

Use of multimedia in a classroom situation where a teacher has to be involved in its operation and sometimes development of content that will be displayed in the system help teachers develop both theoretical and practical information technology skills. Disadvantages for Students Teachers and parents have been blamed for the rot in morals in modern day youths. Parents and teacher are blamed for not interacting with their children and students respectively. The interaction between students and their instructors has reduced due to the large number of students seeking education and the limited educational resources available.

The little interaction that currently exists will be no more if an interface is developed to manage the interaction between students and their instructors. To bring the magnitude of the problems into perspective; teens in their early puberty are in need of guidance from their elders and in the current society that advise only come from their teachers. Implementation of multimedia in middle school will deny students of this opportunity thus the social risks associated with adolescence and teenage are increased which is disadvantageous to the society.

Disadvantages for teachers

Teaching is both a science and an art that is perfected with time. The joy of an artist is seeing success and beauty in the works of his hand. This is the same for teaching and the implementation of multimedia may rob teachers of the fun in teaching. Interest and satisfaction in their job are key factors that drive teachers since in most cases they are some of the lowly paid professionals (Mishra, 2004). In addition, the one on one interaction between students and teachers is important to teachers for it helps them develop skills by dealing with diverse teaching problems and develop a good understanding of students (Mayer, 2005).

A multimedia interface reduces the level of interaction between students and teachers and this may be detrimental not just to the development of teachers as professionals but also to the strategies they adopt in transmission of academic and social knowledge to their students. Teachers who have poor information technology skills may be forced to put more effort which may add onto the pressure that teachers are typically on. Gap There is a lot that is still to be researched on with regards to the practical implementation of multimedia systems in an educational setting.

For instance, implementation of multimedia systems for middle school classrooms obviously adds on to the expenses of the education system which are covered by educational stakeholders. On the other hand, many are of the view that the cost of education is more than high and borders exploitation. A solution to such a problem is yet to be developed and it should be considering any school that implements multimedia should be ready to commit more resources with changes in technology. There is still a lot to be learned with respect to implementation of multimedia at middle classroom level and efforts must be channeled in this direction.

References

Angelina, A. (2008). Creating an Interactive and Responsive Teaching Environment to Inspire Learning. Journal of Marketing Education, 30(3) 185-188. Branzburg, J. (2007). Multimedia to Go. Technology & Learning, 28 (1) 44-45. IEEE MultiMedia (2008). Accessibility and Assistive Technologies. Retrieved 27 Jan 2009 from <http://www. computer. org/multimedia> Ivers, K. S. ,& Barron, A. E. (2005). Multimedia Projects in Education: Designing, Producing, and Assessing. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. Karla, K. V. ,& Randall, B. (2008). Effects of Multimedia Software on Achievement of Middle School Students in an American History Class.

Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Winter, 41(2), 203-221. Lieshout, M. , Egyedi, T. M. ,& Bijker, W. E. (2001). Social Learning Technologies: The Introduction of Multimedia in Education. Aldershot: Ashgate. Mayer, R. E. (2005). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mishra, S. (2004). Interactive Multimedia in Education and Training. New York, NY: Idea Group Inc (IGI). Rahman, S. M. (2002). Interactive Multimedia Systems. New York, NY: Idea Group Inc (IGI). Technology & Learning (2008). Multi-Function Learning System. Technology & Learning. 29 (3) 48-48.