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1 Introduction
2 What is Multimedia?

3 Pedagogy and technology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Generic requirements
3.3 The Framework
3.4 Insurrect
3.5 Conclusions

4 Networks
5 Future Work

Case Studies

Multimedia in the Teaching Space


Many development programmes emphasise student learning, but this is an incomplete picture. The student's learning cannot progress positively unless there is guidance from the teacher. There is a need for teacher and student to work together and for both to be aware of the functionality that the technology can deliver. It is the co-operative role of teacher and student which is probably the biggest change that it taking place in the teaching and learning field. Not many years ago the teacher considered their opinion was paramount and the student lacked the experience or knowledge to challenge the teacher. Discussion and interaction did take place, but the teacher had the final say in the content and organisation of the teaching.

Many students come into higher education with computing experience they have gained at school which means they are already computer literate, and are familiar with methods of searching information on the WWW. The problem is more likely to be the volume of information available to the student to search and the time to do it; this is where the guidance of the teacher is so important.

Much study involves three stages, introduction of an idea or concept, the development of that concept and finally placing it in context.

  • Conceptualisation where the dialogue between teacher and student is to seek to clarify the issues, i.e. the explanation.
  • Construction or building upon the concept where the dialogue between teacher and student seeks to develop collaboration to expand the learning experience under guidance.
  • The testing stage where the dialogue is with the teacher and with fellow students to debate and consider the consequences and what follows from the concepts when they are applied.

In all these stages there has been a dialogue and there is a need to consider the role this dialogue plays in both the real-time and off-line modes. In other words there is a need to understand the relative contribution of different computer communications technologies and what are their drawbacks. Also we need to consider whether the desk-top computer can satisfy these different requirements - are we expecting too many solutions to be possible through the desk-top interface? Is the use of the desk-top computer for learning and teaching no longer liberating, but constraining?

Introducing an idea or concept to students is primarily done by teaching and a number of technologies are available. Most of these are directed at channelling information and knowledge into the teaching space. Some people maintain these are superior to the conventional methods of books and lectures. It is difficult to substantiate this claim, and it is better to argue that a greater variety of methods are available to transfer information and knowledge, and the role of the teacher is to chose the ones which work most effectively in the set of circumstances. Many of these methods use networks to provide datastreams of audio, video and textual information into teaching space in real-time, i.e. multimedia communications which are capable of both synchronous and simultaneous provision of information.

Associated methods, such as CD-ROMs permit the student to have this information for their own use at their own convenience, i.e. for off-line and asynchronous access. It is interesting that so many teachers do not wish to use these potentially more flexible methods, and that is probably related to their desire to use tried methods and not to be involved in experimentation in the mainstream teaching tasks. Innovation is demanding of time and methods, and the prospect of rewriting a whole lecture course does not encourage teachers to associate with technologists. In universities which are research orientated and the teachers are themselves research workers, there is a desire to control teaching effort so that it has a minimal effect upon the research programmes.

Let us look at the relationship between teaching functions in conventional teaching and technologies;

  • Books, lectures, TV, radio and CDs can be compared with datastreams in video, text and audio, and the WWW can also complements this role.
  • Laboratories, workshops and field studies can be compared with JAVA, and remote sensing systems
  • Tutorials and informal discussion are a form of dialogue and can be compared with shared working space, conferencing and whiteboards.

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