Multimedia - Planning and Managing for a Better Product
Planning.> A multimedia
product, such as Power Point, can really get the students going in a computer lab.
Presentations can become extremely complex and help is needed often when students are
in the middle of creating special effects. There really is not much to be accomplished
if there has been no planning between teacher and computer tech. Students have
to have research geared towards this product; it will not work if they bring in a
typed report intending to produce a multimedia product.
Use of graphic organizers are key to
the success of a multimedia project, because students must become aware that
they are NOT writing a series of paragraphs. They will be presenting a series of
main ideas, facts, or short descriptions. The presentation will be a
series of charts, and student must have a good idea of how their topic is
to be broken up. Bibliographies should also be complete before
beginning the project. Students should have all research and
graphic organizers complete before beginning Power Point, or
any other multimedia software, because they will not have a good plan for the
total presentation. Teachers can review the drafts of the text in hand written
form or typed, printed format. Power Point allows the easy printing of text only for
Types of multimedia projects. Teachers should
decide which type of presentation will apply, or if the students will make this
choice. The three types are:
- Self Playing presentations. With this type, slides advance
automatically and all special effects play automatically. There is no
manual intervention at all, and the presentation becomes a "show."
- Manually advanced presentations with linear progression.
This type of presentation will advance slides and text only on the
click of the mouse. Special effects can be set to go off automatically or
by a mouse click. Students required to give an oral presentation accompanying their
multimedia presentation should use this type. Example of topics with linear
progression are biographies or History.
- Manually advanced presentation without linear progression, or "interactive." This type
of presentation is most difficult for students to plan in advance if they haven't seen it
done already. The front slide will have hyper links which
can be clicked in any order by the presenter. When clicked, another slide will
appear which has specific information, special effects, and a place to click
which takes the presentation back to the front slide or on to another. Students
should be required to make a "map" in advance, with lines connecting all slides (boxes)
which are to be connected by action buttons. Otherwise it becomes difficult to visualize.
This type of presentation are for topics where there is no particular order
that information should be presented.
Examples are parts of a plant, math projects, etc. This type of presentation
can be created with an accompanying oral talk in mind, or it can be created as
a presentation which students will take turns sitting down and studying it
interactively. This is a particularly good format for students [or teachers]
who want to create interactive quizzes. Power Point has a feature for action buttons which
when clicked, will take the viewer back to whatever slide brought the viewer to that
point. This means that a generic "wrong answer" slide can be prepared which will work
again and again to return the viewer to whichever slide they came from. Buttons can
also activate sound effects, or other actions.
Graphics Teachers should have an idea ahead of time what
graphics, if any, the students are to use for the project. Many choices are:
- Maps, photos or other graphics can be found and downloaded from
the Internet during the class computer lab time.
Students will be taught how to search for, download and insert graphics
into their documents. Permission is not necessary as long as the use of the graphic
remains within the confines of classroom instruction. See
the copyright law, Chapter 1,
Section 107 for details. (For a nice hypertext version, instead of the difficult to read PDF version
on the LOC web site, go to http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/.)
- Students can be taught how to use the drawing tools to alter
graphics (e.g., to put an arrow mark on a map graphic), or to create simple graphics
themselves using Word Art, autoshapes, etc.
- Students can use scanners to scan in graphics found in books
or art work they themselves have created. Students will be taught how to
scan, save, manipulate and insert the graphic into their documents.
- Students can create their own graphics using Windows paint
or some other software.
- Students can use a digital camera to take a photo. Students
will be taught how to download the image from the camera, save it,
manipulate it and insert it into their documents.
- Students can use conventional clipart programs or
encyclopedia CDs to find suitable graphics. Students will be taught
how to search clipart or encyclopedia CDs, save the image and insert
it into their documents. See
the copyright law, Chapter
1, Section 107, for details on use of copyrighted material for classroom instruction.
(For a nice hypertext version, instead of the difficult to read PDF version
on the LOC web site, go to http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/.)
Pulling Multimedia In. A multimedia presentation
has a number of ways that the media can be manipulated to support or enhance the topic.
Students should be taught the various ways and encouraged to create presentations which
are a "total experience." The available facets of multimedia are discussed below:
- Graphical design and the use of color has a powerful effect
in a multimedia presentation. Students should be taught (if time allows)
how colors are associated with moods. Teachers should decide in advance how
much time to allocate to this topic. Areas of the art curriculum can
be emphasized here which deal with use of imagery, lines and color.
- Background music also has a powerful effect to enhance and support
a topic. Teachers should think about and establish rules for use of music and
how much freedom student preference should be given. Many music files are available
on the internet which allows students to conform to the period/ethnic
theme of the presentation. If time allows, students should be taught how to coordinate
music patterns to animation patterns.
Music links can be found here.
- Sound effects are available on the Internet and some in Power Point. Used sparingly
and with careful selection of quality, they add a tremendous depth of feeling to a
Due to the inclusion of inappropriate sounds in all sound web sites I've seen,
I do not have a
link of sound effects for students to browse through as I do for music.
can search on "sound effects" and come up with a number of sites having a rich variety
of sound effects most of which are designated as open domain files.
- Students can also use a microphone to create
their own sound effects. Unexpectedly hearing student voices during a
presentation jars the "viewer" into attention with stunning exactness.
Again, teachers should decide in advance how much time to allocate to this activity.
Due to the need for complete silence, the recording session usually has
to be the same period for everybody in the class. The students take turns using the
microphones. I have also had a "free period" designated for sound recording when a
whole class needed to do this.
- Video also adds fascination to a presentation. Video clips can be downloaded
or student created video can be added. If students create their own clips, they must
be encouraged to keep the time to 5 seconds or below as the file sizes can become
- Buttons add a fascination for the viewer. If free access to the total presentation
is granted by generous application of buttons, the viewer becomes engaged in a learning
experience. Students should be encouraged to explore interactive presentations.
- Animation and timing. It is critical that students be taught how important it
is that the motion and progression of the multimedia be controled in a manner that allows
the viewer to digest the content. This means readable text, supporting graphics,
animation that directs, not distracts.
Technology Skills. Many technology skills
can be chosen selectively for introduction during a multimedia project. These
- Text manipulation (font, size, bold, italic, underline,
justification, color, text art, text boxes, spell checking, grammar checking,
copying, cutting, pasting, deleting). Text needs to be readable, inviting (ie, NOT long
paragraphs) and attractive in multimedia.
- Methods to save and retrieve files (the correct server, path,
file name, file extension, folder, drive)
- Object formatting (text boxes, sound, video,
and graphics boxes, formatted for animation, autoplay, manual advance,
autostart, loop, timing, dim/flash)
- Graphics manipulation (inserting, resizing, cropping, framing,
copying, cutting, pasting, deleting, moving, grouping)
- Use of peripherals (microphone, CD ROM, scanner, digital camera, and printer)
- Other Technology Skills: tool bars, short
cut icons, menu system, help system, short cut keys, task switching,
and other features which can be utilized during word processing. Certainly if there
is much searching the Internet for graphics, video or music, task switching can become
second nature to the students.
Assessment of a presentation. Teachers traditionally
have no serious problem grading research papers. However, grading a presentation can
be more tricky. There are a number of resource available which have rubrics for
multimedia projects. Mrs. Carol Cisky, fifth grade of John F. Pattie Elementary, has
a rubric she adapted from a Teacher
Created Materials rubric appearing in several of their books.
Click here to view it.