Best Practice for use of Multimedia in Teaching of Science and Mathematics

Multimedia plays a highly significant role in enhancing the teaching of Science and Mathematics in American Schools and even overseas. The ultimate aim of this paper is to examine the use of multimedia in teaching science and mathematics through looking at the following areas. These are learning environment, pedagogy, teacher’s role, student outcomes and development on these subjects.

Effective Learning and Teaching Environment

            Studies of learning, cognitive progress, and teaching have emphasized the significance of learning serve to enhance on the association among people and the learning environment (context). Knowledge materializes because of activities engaged and shared in an environment that links individuals, cultural tools, materials, and symbol systems. This shows that there is the need to carry out research on knowledge concerning the nature and context of learning. social communications builds knowledge and understanding (Bernhard, & Bernhard, 1998). Classrooms are intrinsically social locations wherein teachers and the students argue on the curriculum together.

            The ultimate aim is to build a teaching and learning environment in which  students and teachers get  with means of making opportunities to make conclusions, pursue authentic inquiries and concerns, link what is familiar and be victorious as they investigate, test ideas, and discover through play, projects and informal learning activities (Fulk, & King, 2001). Controlling participation in the activities of the students is the basic role of the teacher, and play and the expression of notions through interactions with adults, age-mates and the environment are the initial business of the students.

Although science for all American students stresses what they should learn, it also identifies that how science instruction is evenly essential. In starting instruction, effective tutors draw on a developing body of research knowledge concerning the nature of learning and on skilled acquaintance concerning the teaching that has stood the examination of time (Henderson, Klemes & Eshet, 2000). Normally, they assume the distinctive characteristics the subject to be learned, the locale of their students, and the state under which the instruction and learning are to occur. Therefore, the context and the background of the student determine his or her ability to learn efficiently. It is not all about the quantity of the material taught but the ability to take in this material, which is determined by the learning environment. If the context is favorable for the students, then much is not expected from them, but if they hate the environment, there is no way they will perform well in their education. This proves that the learning environment plays a significant role on how the students encode the instructions (Barnett, Yamagata-Lynch, Keating, Barab & Hay, 2005). The following are the principles of learning and teaching that associated with the approach of teachers and the role of the learning environment for student progress.

Learning is Not Necessarily an Outcome of Teaching

            Cognitive study shows that even with what is assumed to be formal instruction, numerous students encompassing academically talented ones, understand very little than we may think they do. With the strength of mind and willpower, students taking an assessment are most likely to recognize what they have been told, or what they have read or even the mathematical formulas and equations they have been taught. A carefully investigation, however, frequently reveals that their understanding is distorted or limited, if not altogether wrong (Thrope & Wood, 2000). This result proposes that thriftiness is crucial in setting out educational goals: schools need to come up with the most significant concepts and skills to stress so that they can focus on the quality of understanding rather than on the amount of information presented. The appropriate surrounding that is favorable to the students is what defines learning, not just teaching as such.

What Students Learn is influenced by their Love of the Context and their Own Ideas

            People have to develop their own meaning how clearly teachers or books instruct them. Their surrounding and background influences the thinking of students. Often, a student does this by associating new information and ideas to what he or she already knows. Concepts in this case, refer to significant human thought that do not have manifold connections with how student thinks about the world are not likely to be recalled or significant (Henderson, Klemes & Eshet, 2000). However, they may remain but still fail to generate the expected results. In this case, the learning environment determines the outcomes. For example, a student may be knowledgeable and performs well in the classroom but due to unavoidable circumstances the student shifts to another school where he does not like. This student is likely to fail or perform poorly not because he or she is foolish or the teachers are not professions or qualified but because the student has a negative attitude towards the environment (Kozma & Russell, 2005).

            Therefore, the setting is like the background of learning since it determines the performance of the students especially in science and mathematics, which requires high concentration (Means et al., 2000). Other principles that characterize the role of teachers and environment in student learning include progression in learning is normally from the concrete to the abstract, expectations affect performance, effective learning by students requires positive context and students learn to do well only what they practice doing (Thrope & Wood, 2000).


Pedagogical approaches for technology integrated science teaching

            Before studying pedagogy in detail, it is crucial to look at the following questions and try to determine their answers. First, how can tutor support students using interactive modifications to approach the 'theory-world' of science (Bernhard, & Bernhard, 1998)? How is the pedagogy connected to the goal shaped by cognitive supply that students bring to bear and by the configuring resources available in the specific educational surrounding? We extract the well-developed literature of students' previous notions - instinctive beliefs about natural phenomena obtained from experience which emphasizes the significance of structuring activities in order to make absolute reasoning precise (Fulk, & King, 2001). Tutor intervention and control which draws out, discusses, builds, challenges the ideas of learners, defines and interprets shared experience and enhances continuity along with differences between informal notions and scientific conventions. This idea is crucial for learners' ultimate building of more conceptual, broad and explanatory frameworks of knowledge (Ginsburg, Blafanz & Greenes, 1999).

            The multifaceted and counter-intuitive appearance of scientific perceptions and processes mean that the opportunities for conversation, reasoning, reflection and interpretation are highly significant for building knowledge (Goldenberg, Heinze & Hess, 2003). Starting technological equipments and resources, which learners can, employ possibly issues out further opportunities for expressing, assessing and revising their growing notions as they imagine the outcomes of their own reasoning. For this study, there were three distinct technologies employed to support science learning (Kozma & Russell, 2005). These are multimedia simulations, data logging and interrelated whiteboards (IWBs). Initiation issues out nationalized, dynamic and visual correspondent to physical phenomena and experiments which would be hazardous, expensive or not practicable in a school laboratory (Barnett, Yamagata-Lynch, Keating, Barab & Hay, 2005). It sets free learners from arduous manual processes, both speeding up work production and facilitating tutors and students to focus on overarching or most salient issues without distraction.

            The use of simulation is taken to enhance science learning through motivating learners to analyze and examine exploratory (“what if….”) questions and getting less 'messy' data. Data classification mechanizes the recording and taking care of experimental data through sensing machines, which provides immediate response, and lessens laborious collection of data and graph generation (Henderson, Klemes & Eshet, 2000). Instant response from the dynamic graph show allows actions to be watched on and altered; nevertheless, illustration remains the ordinary mode of use. IWBs are more broad equipment, which issues impulsive access for the entire classroom to a broad variation of projected Web-based and multimedia reservations whose protuberance, manipulation and explanation features enhance visualization of theoretical knowledge. Interrelated Whiteboards (IWBs) have become extensive in secondary schools only presently (Means et al., 2000). The developing research literature shows that while learner treatment potentially gives opportunities for communal building of knowledge, use is, in fact, enhancing a tutor-based didactic pedagogy lacking in alteration to responses of people.

This work develops on the preceding wave of research into use of Information communication technology (ICT) in science, which has concentrated on the model of pedagogical principles for functions like simulations and animations. These include;

•          Forecast, observe and justify (Bernhard, & Bernhard, 1998)

•          Describe, discover, and check (Kozma & Russell, 2005)

•          Examine, discover, initiate, implement, confirm (Fulk, & King, 2001)

            Lying beneath all these standards (which have been supported and encouraged by software creators and putting into practice in their systems) is the idea that direct treatment of theoretical representations of strong entity and prodigy can help students in discovering and testing out their notions concerning the natural world in contrast with the theoretical world of science. More of this work, nevertheless, has been performed in laboratory settings; the two schemes described below have broadened it to secondary school students' use in genuine world educational surrounding and evaluated how the restraints operating are shaping pedagogical advancement (Ginsburg, Blafanz & Greenes, 1999).

            The pedagogical advantage of multimedia is that it employs the natural information-processing aptitudes that we already own as humans (Thrope & Wood, 2000). A person's eyes and ears, in combination with the brain, create a formidable system for changing meaningless impression data into information. The old utterance that “a picture is worth a thousand words” mostly understates the case especially with consideration to moving images, as the eyes are extremely adapted by progression to detecting and interpreting movement. For the learners, one merit of multimedia course ware over the text-centered variety is that the application seems better. If the course ware involves only a few images at least, it provides relief from screens of text and motivates the eye, even if the images have limited pedagogical value (Goldenberg, Heinze & Hess, 2003).

            More frequent than never before, the inclusion of non-textual media into course ware adds pedagogical worth to the application (Henderson, Klemes & Eshet, 2000). For instance, a piece of course ware illustrating a dig at an archeological site, like reinforced aerial images displaying features such as old field borders, or figures describing where the digging and scanning took place. In this context, using the text only, yet in a creative way, has clear drawbacks in comparison to the use of both texts and pictures.

Teacher Role

Teaching Effectively with Multimedia

            Learners react to information differently. Therefore, it is mostly to the merit of teachers to employ different formats and means to teach the subject matter of a lesson (National Research Council). This makes tutors employ some combination of text, lectures and hands-on laboratory for transmitting information.  With the arrival of the Internet and numerous formats that can be transmitted over the World Wide Web, there are now numerous, new stimulating ways to present information. The main aim of the teachers is to teach students the subject matter using all these modes (Barnett, Yamagata-Lynch, Keating, Barab & Hay, 2005). The web permits the integration of animation, sound into lessons and moving pictures, which expands the abilities to impart materials that motivate student interaction with the topic.

            Pictures and animations help scientific principles to be lively, and multimedia encourage learners to take a more energetic role in learning: they can watch tests in action, see microorganisms up to close and employ a mouse or keyboard to find the way to pass through, imitation and interactive material. One of the merits of employing multimedia is to pass information quickly and effectively to all learners and keep them interested in learning. It is also useful in providing mathematical formulas, equations and practice questions and answers to students (Fulk, & King, 2001).

            School-bought multimedia like videos, CDs function well, however; these can be limited by the school budget because it is not easy to purchase a video for each class. This means that schools' budgets are more fixed that they cannot cater for such multimedia equipments, which are extremely crucial for enhancing the performance of the students (Bernhard, & Bernhard, 1998). Another demerit of these tools is that given the frantic schedule, teachers are mostly forced to keep; it can be a crucial tension on the teachers' time to review multimedia materials and faultlessly involve them into lesson plans (Kozma & Russell, 2005). Lastly, dealing with a VCR and TV for video, computer, CD-ROM player, projector, and textbook can be scientifically and financially challenging. Ideally, what the tutors require is a single system that combines images, text, simulations, video, audio and other multimedia material into a single, logical environment that is available from school or home. Therefore, the role of the teachers is not just teaching, but teaching students to understand and become influential people in society (Goldenberg, Heinze & Hess, 2003).

            The teachers should be able to provide clearly written, brief online multimedia modules that concentrate on core scientific standards of chemistry, biology, physics and earth sciences. Modules enable teachers to reach out learners and permit them to see engaging presentation continuously (Scholastic, 2007). These modules provide background text-centered lessons written to be conventional to the National Science Education Standards. These modules also provide original scientific illustrations, photographs, educational videos, interactive quizzes, audio recordings, and ask-a-question areas through a sequence of outside hyperlinks on the right and bottom menus (Fulk, & King, 2001). In other words, these modules are extremely valuable for enhancing the performance of teachers in accomplishing their roles in schools.

            The teachers can employ multimedia substances on and off the Internet. With the internet, they can project a computer screen to classroom slowly scrolling through text and clicking on animations and graphics within a lesson (National Research Council). Alternatively, teachers can work off-line using an overhead projector that performs the same function. This is a very dependable system of teaching, because it makes work easier for teachers by helping them avoid standing up and writing on the board using chalks. Multimedia presentation keep learners alert and concentrate because they rarely get bored with such systems of teaching. This means that teachers need to be versatile with technology and be updated on latest techniques so that they can employ the same to students. It would be of much benefit for students if they could hear the opinions of a researcher and read their original work (Henderson, Klemes & Eshet, 2000).

            The teachers may also employ animations that allow students to visualize the arrangement of atoms in classroom. Students love visualized systems of learning, and just as we mentioned earlier, it is part of the favorable learning environment that makes students to perform well. Moreover, visualized learning is helpful in assisting students to capture what they learn for a long time (Barnett, Yamagata-Lynch, Keating, Barab & Hay, 2005). This means that what a student learns today can stick to his or her mind, for decades and not only help him or her to pass an exam but also help in the future life. Therefore, teachers' role is to employ any significant, applicable multimedia system to teach students in order to enhance the performance of individual student and school as a whole (Kohn, 1999).

Student Outcomes

            Several positive outcomes develop in students when they embrace the use of multimedia in learning. First, the students become technologically literate where they are able to use computers efficiently and effectively in performing, several tasks including doing jobs particularly the online jobs which incorporate fields like programming, web design, networking, and research writing. This makes them be immensely useful people in the society since they are able to work and earn money which reinforces the development of society (Dalton, Morocco, Tivnan & Mead, 1997). They are also able to demonstrate scientific skills when they carry out researches, and invent other lovely things that are pertinent to the world. Through studying mathematics; equations, calculations, accounting and various other concepts, these students are able to become powerful business men while other become bankers and accountants due to the knowledge they acquire in schools (Goldenberg, Heinze & Hess, 2003). In other words, students acquire literacy; knowledge and skills, which is highly crucial to the society in terms of development and leadership.

            The literacy they acquire in school is essential for the students because even before they are through with school, they are able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills acquired by passing their exams. Once a student excels in exams, he or she has a bright future because the same success will be demonstrated in the society (Bernhard, & Bernhard, 1998). Other than just demonstrating success, they are also able to display exemplary behaviors, maturity, and discipline and be practical in everything. Good behaviors are enhanced by the background of the student and psychological development that the student receives in school (Means et al., 2000). Discipline installed in students at school is what determines their future behaviors, performance and success. A student may not be bright or perform well in class but eventually be successful in life than the bright students. Therefore, it is all about discipline and behaviors that accelerates future success (Ginsburg, Blafanz & Greenes, 1999).

            While numerous terms have been employed to explain, what students need, such as technological literacy, digital literacy, modern skills, education leaders, nationally and internationally, students need to familiarize themselves with information and communication technology (ICT) literacy enhanced by multimedia system (Henderson, Klemes & Eshet, 2000). In other words, through ICT literacy that students acquires in schools, they are able to demonstrate learning skills that enable them to think straight, analyze information, collaborate, communicate efficiently and problem solve and embracing the role that technology plays in recognizing these learning skills in the current knowledge-based society (Kohn, 1999). Therefore, students are able to demonstrate the following six-student success in the workplace.

•          Communicate effectively: students are able to acquire a range of skills to express themselves through not only paper and pencil but also video, audio, animation, design software as well as host new environments (Kozma & Russell, 2005).

•          Analyze and interpret data: they are able to display their ability to crunch, compare and select among the surplus of data now available web-based and other electronic formats.

•             Illustrate computer modeling: they are able to show an understanding of limitations, power and underlying assumptions of various data representation systems like simulations and computational models which are progressively driving a wide-range of disciplines (Dalton, Morocco, Tivnan & Mead, 1997).

•          Manage and prioritize Tasks: students are able to manage the multitasking, selection and prioritizing transversely applications of technology that allow them to move freely among teams, communities of practice and assignments.

•          Engage in problem solving: students are able to demonstrate an understanding of, how to request what they are familiar with and can do to new situations (Goldenberg, Heinze & Hess, 2003).

•          Ensure security and safety: they are able to use strategies to identify, acknowledge and negotiate recent risks.


Improvement of science Education Using Multimedia System

            Much has been written about improving science, technology, engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. In 2007, National Academies, at the request of Congress, examined what could be done to reinforce American Science and Technology performance (Barnett, Yamagata-Lynch, Keating, Barab & Hay, 2005). They presented the need for essential improvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The system of education in the US is not generating enough individuals with STEM skills and degrees. This shows that there is something missing somewhere (Means et al., 2000). There is the need to put more attention to the use of such an education, that would stimulate, American youth concerning what essential knowledge of STEM subjects can be issued to them.  There are well paying jobs in manufacturing especially aerospace manufacturing is one of the many ways.

            Manufacturing is a crucial entry into STEM-centered careers. For a huge part of the US population, formal education ends after high school because of the need for financial constancy and a general inadequacy of interest in a college trail. Therefore, science education has to be linked to the current manufacturing processes and modes of teaching in order to help the science students develop interest in it and to attain well paying jobs (Stremmel & Hill, 2002).

            Since manufacturing has proved to be highly essential, there is the need to improve STEM by adding “M” for manufacturing to be an effective STEMM. Terry Jaggers, who is the former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science and Technology, invented the term STEM+M during a briefing he was once given to strengthen the US manufacturing supply chain. If indeed that “M” for manufacturing can be accepted and put to practice, it can be a significant improvement of the entire STEM in terms of advancement and opportunities (National Research Council). There is a need for developing the numbers of US students in STEM, because there is an equal need for stimulating the youth of America to enter manufacturing as a profession. Manufacturing is a profession that is about not only design and services but also producing things of enduring value is of much significance (Scholastic, 2007).

            The Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) program, looks upon improving the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for all undergraduate students (Kozma & Russell, 2005). This solicitation precisely, persuades and promotes projects that have the aptitude to alter undergraduate STEM education for instance, by resulting in widespread adoption of classroom practice that exemplify understanding of how students learn most efficiently. Therefore, transferability and distribution are critical features for projects mounting instructional resources and methods and need to be considered throughout the lifetime of a project. More progressively, projects should include efforts to smooth the progress of adaption at other sites.

            The program sustains attempts to establish, adapt and distribute new learning materials, educates strategies to mirror advances both STEM disciplines, and in what is recognized as teaching and learning (Dalton, Morocco, Tivnan & Mead, 1997). It financially supports projects that advances faculty professions, puts into practice education innovations, evaluates learning, and examines innovations, prepare K-12 teachers, or carry out research on STEM teaching and learning. It also sustains projects that supplement the work of the curriculum itself, for instance, synthesis and distribution of findings across the curriculum (Henderson, Klemes & Eshet, 2000). The curriculum supports projects representing distinct platform of development, varying from small, explanatory examination to large, all-inclusive projects. Therefore, STEM can be improved by sustaining, adapting and distributing new learning equipments and resources to facilitate the learning process in schools.

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