Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Multimedia in the classroom

Something I intend to do a lot more in this coming semester than I did in semester one is make use of multimedia in my lectures. I learned in ED6111 (Introduction to Tertiary Teaching & Learning) that, aside from its other benefits, injecting some variety into your lectures can have positive effects on students' attention and learning. As I noted the other day, straight lectures can be uninteresting - regardless of subject matter - and that causes our attention to wander. Even on things that we're really interested in, like our favourite tv show or whatever, sustained attention for the best part of two hours is actually quite difficult.

One option, then, is to use some different presentation techniques, such as videos/cartoons/audio clips etc. I've decided to be quite determined and deliberate about this for semester two, and have already gone through my lecture schedule and jotted some notes about what videos or other interesting things I could use to help break up the lecture period into shorter chunks.

(In case it's not clear to everyone yet: my total number of semesters entirely in charge of a subject = 1. The likelihood of me overthinking & overplanning things = 1.)

Some of these videos will be serious, but mostly I've been thinking about using bits from comedy shows & so on. Partly that's because it's the sort of thing I like, but it's also because I think those sorts of things are the most likely to engage the students' attention, particularly in the middle of a relatively-serious thing like a lecture. Fortunately, in politics there's always something amusing just around the corner... Here's a clip I'll be using when I discuss parliament, from the incomparable Micallef P(r)ogram(me)

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