Media use in education

Our kids are also more used to cinematic innovations and how rapidly they improve. Advertising and sales departments try to make the initial hype of the innovation’s launch bigger and to make it last longer, because tomorrow they will be old news.

Teachers, fortunately stands closer to children’s initial introduction to most media and have the opportunity to use the uniqueness and the process of getting used to media to teach their kids something.

Narrative Media
Narrative media is very much what it says it is: it tells. This form of media includes text (e.g. books and websites), audio (e.g. radio and podcasts) and video (e.g. DVDs and Youtube videos). This form of media is by no means uninformative and outdated as it teaches students structure when presented in a linear form like a book, but also teaches learners that there are various way to navigate through content and structures when it is non-linear like the internet when you hop from one hyperlink to another. In either form it gives learners the opportunity to learn the structure of the tool and content that they are working with.

Interactive Media
Interactive media is something that engages learners in action while providing reaction. The media includes interactive web-sites, again through hyperlinks, certain games and web-tools like Playposit. The immediacy of interaction is rather important in this step as a learner will navigate content to build their understanding and interactive feedback is significant in clearing up misunderstandings and to rectify conceptions. Teachers learn as much as their students in a process like this.

Communicative Media
This form of technology is the business end of collaboration or “working together�?. Many adults and children don’t have fond memories of working in groups where it is always seen as one person doing all the work. However, through technology breaking down barriers of everyone getting together at someone’s house to do a project, each member of a team can be assigned a different area of the project and be given their area to submit it. Collaborative tools like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides or Prezi are examples of text, spreadsheet and presentation apps where group projects can not only be done together and separately, but can also be monitored by the educator.

Adaptive Media
Artificial intelligence makes us think of science fiction films, yet it is something we all interact with. Games and even your google search adapts to how you interact with it. This of course requires practice to master and beat in terms of a game and it is within this simulation of an event that the educational potential of adaptive forms of media lies. It is also the most misunderstood and underutilised educational media, because it is not specifically designed to teach. Games and simulations are mostly designed to entertain and engage, it is the challenge of the teacher to see whether a specific game can be applied to teach a concept better than methods they already have and perhaps let go of the notion that games can’t teach us anything. For those who still dismiss the value of games in teaching us real-world knowledge and skills: I encourage you to look up the similarities between the stock exchange and the World of Warcraft auction house.

How do I know that they have learnt anything? This is a question that teachers, parents and self-reflective learners often ask. However, I believe learning and proving that you have learnt something doesn’t have to be separate processes. Through constructing your own knowledge you express your understanding of something. If you can’t put the challenge or learning outcome into words, you have to spend more time on it. Once your project is complete you have not only figured your own way out to the answer just by being placed in a position where you had to answer it, what you just did proves that you have learnt it. This type of learning is priceless as our kids are educated with tools of today and yesterday to prepare them for a future of which we have no clue. As it has been said: “The road to the future leads through the past.�?

N. Ndlovu, 2015, The pedagogical integration of ICTs by seven South African township secondary school teachers. Unpublished Doctorate

You might want to read more about possible digital careers for your learners.