MOVING TOWARDS SOLUTIONS:
There are effective, research-based solutions for meeting the needs of a wider range of learners, but more research is required.
David Rose and Anne Meyer, authors of Teaching Every Student In the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning and co-founders of the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), are advocates of the use of digital technologies to support the learning of all learners, including those with disabilities.
"In the years ahead, it is clear that text-only instruction will give way to a more deliberate application of multimedia. Instructional designers will use digital tools to tailor media to the task, to different kinds of learning, and to different kinds of students, reducing the barriers and inefficiencies inherent in one-size-fits-all printed textbooks. Rose & Anne Meyer (2002) Teaching Every Student In the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning ASCD.
CAST provides an on-line interactive version of Rose and Myer'’s book, along with materials that can be used for professional development:
Below are some quotes from some of the video clips from the website of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy, at the Annenberg Foundation, located at the
. The institute supports the use of multimedia in education at all levels and provides workshops and training during the summer for faculty. University of California
"“Let'’s start by recognizing that the way we communicate is changing. Learning to read and write is still fundamental. Now images, sounds, and interactive communication are everywhere." -
Karen Voss, Communication Specialist
"We research innovations in these languages of new media, we’re developing our own multimedia curricula, and that is applicable across a great range of grades, ages, and disciplines, It offers new possibilities for scholarly research and new opportunities for publications. The Institute for Multimedia Literacy is focused on investigating and articulating what it means to be literate today" - Stepanie Barish, Former IML Director
"Students can use moving images, they can use graphics, they can use digital video to go interview someone and build it into their understanding of that discipline." -unknown
The Edutopia website of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, provides an abundance of information for educators who are interested in transforming teaching and learning. This website provides a variety of video clips of teachers and students engaged in project-based learning, multimedia technology, and a range of other meaningful learning activities.
In a video clip from the Institute for Multimedia Literacy, the famous director, George Lucas makes an important observation:
"The ability to communicate in ways other than using words is an area that has not been promoted I think heavily enough in the educational system. The world of graphics and music and cinema are all areas that are very powerful, and as we enter the 21st century, the needs to become literate in these other forms of communications are becoming increasingly important."
Mary Burns, in her article, "Thousand Words: Promoting Teachers' Visual Literacy Skills" ( Multimedia and Internet@Schools), provides information for teacher training, recognizing that training teachers to use visual and multimedia technology must first focus on enhancing teacher’s visual literacy skills. (This is important, since many teachers shine in the verbal area and may have under-developed visual literacy skills.)
"In contrast to the society in which they operate, schools continue to be very text-focused places. In almost all content areas, students are consumers and producers of text-based products. Granted, the presence of multimedia technology has caused some shift from text-based to visually based learning within the classroom, but this has spawned a new set of instructional challenges for teachers. Many teachers are more comfortable with text-based instruction and communication and may feel ill-equipped to harness the learning potential of visually based learning. Although advocating "visual literacy," state standards may offer little guidance in terms of instructional specifics. Yet, text-based proficiency —reading and writing is still the standard by which academic success is measured. The result is that schools often do not help students make meaning of and critically reflect upon the powerful images that so influence their lives.
To succeed in the academic and vocational world, students must be proficient in both reading and writing—they must be literate. But to navigate the real world, they must also be visually literate—able to decode, comprehend, and analyze the elements, messages, and values communicated by images."
Michael Lambert and Margaret Carpenter, in their article, Visual Learning: Using Images to Focus Attention, Evoke Emotions, and Enrich Learning, make this observation regarding visual learning:
"We are compelled by discoveries in the field of brain-based learning to teach differently than we used to. With the tools that the 21st century offers, we're harnessing the power of images in our teaching."
"Say it with words and you're lucky if they hear it or bother to read it. Tell your story with imagery, and it grabs attention, evokes emotion, and is more instantly processed. Sixty thousand times faster, say some researchers." -Michael Lambert and Margaret Carpenter
Another article from Multimedia and Internet@School, by Johanna Riddle, Bookbinders: Fusing Technology, Images, and Literature, Johanna Riddle, a media specialist in the Volusia County Schools in
, states that Florida
"As any 10-year-old can tell you, it's not just about the book anymore… For educators, this means recognizing all forms of literacy, embracing them as relevant, and, finally, creating meaningful classroom experiences that integrate printed, visual, and technological literacies within disciplines and subjects."
"Johanna Riddle is the media specialist at
Samsula Elementary School, . She is nationally certified in Volusia County Schools, Florida K-12 media education and has been the recipient of a number of awards andrecognitions, including the Smithsonian's Learning Innovation and 's Art Educator of the Year Awards" Florida
I think I mentioned in a previous post that anyone who is interested in learning more about multimedia, technology, and “digital kids should pick up the December-January 2005-06 issue of Educational Leadership, published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. This issue is devoted to current topics related to technology integration, 21st century learning, and includes Mark Prensky’s article: Listen to the Natives: Learning in the Digital Age.
Educational Leadership December 2005/January 2006 | Volume 63 | Number 4
Learning in the Digital Age Pages 8-13
Learning in the Digital Age Pages 8-13
Thinking Like Einstein: Returning to Our Visual Roots with the Emerging Revolution in Computer Visualization is another book written by Thomas West that expands on his earlier book, In the Mind's Eye.
"West predicts that computer visualization technology will radically change the way we all work and think. For thousands of years the technology of writing and reading has tended to promote the dominance of the left hemisphere of the brain, with its linear processing of words and numbers. Now the spread of graphical computer technologies is permitting a return to our visual roots with a new balance between hemispheres and ways of thinking - presenting new opportunities for problem solving and big picture thinking. Thus, he argues that the newest technologies will help us to reaffirm some of our oldest capabilities, allowing us to see previously unseen patterns and to restore a balance in thought and action"
In closing, I'd like to share a quote from a book by Dan Pink that an educational technology consultant recently recommended. Pink’s latest book might be of interest to the futurists among you:
A Whole New Mind : Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future Moving From the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, by Daniel Pink :
"The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind, creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people, artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers will now reap society's richest rewards and share its greatest joys."
Are we doing what all that we can to nurture and encourage these minds?