Education through multimedia

Though it is not easy to find a definition of multimedia, the term is sometimes used to describe a tape and slide presentation. For example, museums and galleries may provide visitors with a multimedia presentation in a specially set aside viewing room.

Multimedia has been used in an educational context to describe the mix of video and audio cassettes, printed texts and handbooks which traditionally make up distance learning. It has been associated with technologies CDROM, CD-I (Compact Disc- Interactive) and the worldwide web irrespective of the materials they contain. Though multimedia is still at an early stage in many schools, the teachers have felt the need to use it in their classroom situations. There are enough reported classroom experiences which can be used to start setting out issues and highlighting the challenges ahead.

Multimedia can help create an engaging environment for learning to explore. It can be used as a toy, a reward, a teaching machine or an environment.  Multimedia can motivate and engage learners and provide quick and easy access to various materials which would not otherwise be available. It can encourage the learners to take control of their own learning and sustain their interest over a period of time. Instead of doing away with teachers, multimedia imposes demands on teachers to manage learning in sometimes new and innovative ways. In some countries, learners of all ages find multimedia software interesting and enjoyable to use. In the school of these countries, multimedia has been found to be so popular that the lessons on the CD ROM have been used as a reward for good behavior or for use in a computer club.

The use of multimedia system at home is a significant factor in encouraging its use in schools. The system at home may provide the background knowledge to make learning more meaningful in the classrooms. Many teachers from around the world are of the opinion that preferences and interests of the children promote the introduction of multimedia in schools. However, in developing and least-developed countries, multimedia have not been as popular as expected. Nowadays, the universalization of primary education recognizes the need to expand in both rural and urban areas without discrimination between the male and female children. Therefore, multimedia (MM) can play a significant role in this context.