Monthly Archives: August 2014

Media in teaching and learning

  1. What do you think you already know about the use of media for learning and teaching?
  2. Discuss some examples of instances in which you have used media to teach or learn personally and how effective you found it to be.

Seels and Richey define instructional technology as “. . . the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning” (as cited in Braden, 1995, p. 81). That would not be how I would have started my definition or explanation of what using media for teaching and learning, i.e. instructional technology, is. In my mind, instructional technology encompasses using media for teaching and learning, which is why I began this post with the definition. How I would define it is the following: any tool or technology that can be successfully used with learning or training, specifically what we think of as Web 2.0 tools. I say successfully because the point of teaching and learning is to impart and encode new knowledge. If learning is to occur, the knowledge must be successfully taught, understood, and internalized.

Based on the definition above, I think that my knowledge is scarce and scanty and is probably just enough to get me into trouble. By this, I mean that I know about educational and instructional technology tools because I use them in my daily job, and I know that it is important to use a variety of media when teaching/training so that the lesson resonates with all of the students as opposed to a few who appreciate that type of media. However, I do not know enough about the methodologies or rationales behind which tool to use when and why. I hope that through this class and the others in this program I will gain insight into how to structure and design lessons so that they have the maximum impact on the learners.

Some examples of media I have used in the recent past, and still use, are Prezi, Poll Everywhere, and PowToon. In the past, when giving presentations, I have used Prezi, which is a zooming presentation software. Its interactive interface lets you zoom in to focus on key points and zoom out to see the overall theme of the presentation. I found it to be effective at catching people’s attention but I’m not sure if it made a greater impact at retaining the material versus PowerPoint. At the time I used it, I found it to have some limiting features. At times the animations didn’t work properly, which defeats the purpose of having an interactive presentation. Also, it didn’t play nice when embedding other technology tools, such as polling software, which is why I stopped using it. As an aside, some people say all the movement makes them nauseous.

A tool that I use on a regular basis is Poll Everywhere. This is a free interactive polling software that can be embedded in PowerPoint, but not Prezi, or can be used online through the Web. What I like and feel is most effective about this tool is that is catches students’ attentions, since it allows them to use their cell phones to respond to questions. They can respond via text, web, and even Twitter. They like that they can respond anonymously during the session and that they can watch the results in real-time. In my presentations, I’ve found that the participation level for polls are higher than the typical “raise your hand” responses.

Over the summer, I created a presentation using PowToon. This tool uses cartoons and graphics to tell a story. At the time I created the PowToon, it didn’t show on mobile devices, which is a huge drawback; however, they recently updated it so that PowToons now play on those devices. You can export them to YouTube as well. As I haven’t started my workshops yet with students, I don’t have feedback about its effectiveness. The students I tested it on though all provided positive feedback and thought it was “cool.” So I do feel that it will catch user’s attention as it is fun as well as being a very different mode of displaying information.

All in all, I am familiar with using media for learning and teaching but not as familiar with the theories behind the media. I have used various types of 2.0 technologies in my presentations as well as standard technologies. I am excited to learn more media and how to effectively use it over the course of this semester.

Braden, R.A. (Ed.). (1995). [Review of the book Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field]. Educational Technology Research and Development, 43, 81-83. Available from JSTOR:

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