A classroom environment has historically been both the recipient and the developer of media regardless of the decade or even the century in which it was developed. However, when educators speak of media today, they tend to gravitate towards that which is electronic and available in visual and auditory formats and which may allow for a more interactive exchange of ideas and reinforcement of the material. There is a dependency on the availability of the appropriate infrastructure to support this type of learning such as technology, electricity, and access to the internet.
Despite these, limitations, online media continues to garner support due to its ability to create what is perceived to be a more flexible and engaging learning environment. Certainly, as summarized by Petrides (2002), discussions about using web-based technologies included conversations on cost-effectiveness, access, and flexibility. In addition, there was a focus on leveraging technology to develop a “learning-centered” rather than a “teacher-centered” environment.
Technology enables educators to move to more of a flipped classroom (Educause, 2012)) because it enables the teacher to reinforce the tools and techniques for a given topic. In essence, each class becomes a laboratory of its own, with multiple possible outcomes for different learners – both in the physical classroom as well as one that may be physically far away.
Learning with media has multiple advantages. A limited list of these advantages includes:
It can accommodate multiple learning styles, including those that may be differently-abled.
The article by Lipford and Crandall (2020) suggests that there is no one definition for learning styles historically presented as visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc. Instead, they describe different learning styles as defined by Grasha-Riechmann and Schellens and Valcke with a focus on “…understanding various learning styles, structuring content to meet learner needs, utilizing opportunities to create engaging material, and implement ng techniques to encourage participation…”
It provides learning opportunities for both teachers and students
The article by Reddy et al (2020) suggests that as teachers integrate technology into their classes, they also teach baseline skills and knowledge that the students will need after graduation. This helps students become employable as teachers maintain their own skills and knowledge in ensuring that they are providing the appropriate environment in which their students can learn. I am thinking of my granddaughter as she takes her last class in becoming a journeyman electrician. Her instructor has incredible life experiences that he is unable to share with his students as he is hampered by his lack of knowledge of the technology in the time of COVID-19. As a risk manager, I wonder about the liability of having someone teaching skills that impact one’s safety without being able to fully deliver on the student learning experience. And even Alexa has given up on trying to teach my mother how to work her TV. As it evolves, technology needs to remain accessible for both teacher and student.
It can be used as a driver towards action
The premise in the article by Lewis et al (2019) suggests that leveraging media can promote a better understanding of conceptual understanding that could be used to inspire additional research and action.
One might also suggest that in leveraging technology, there is the opportunity to move away from outdated textbooks and those that have been tailored for a specific region, leading to a potential for a less biased presentation of history.
It is interesting to see how, that in the time of COVID-19, there appeared to be a lot of resistance and perhaps even animosity towards an exclusive on-line approach to learning. That suggests that the advantages of the social and emotional interactions experienced within an educational setting can not be replaced simply by the tools themselves. For the flipped classroom to succeed, the teacher needs to be present – to know what to apply when. There is, as our Star Trek journeys have shown us, simply a need to have social interaction as part of the learning experience.
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (2012). 7 Things you should know about flipped classrooms. EDUCAUSE Creative Commons. Retrieved from: https://library.educause.edu/-/media/files/library/2012/2/eli7081-pdf.pdf
Lewis, S. ( 1 ), Pea, R. D. ( 1 ), Lindgren, R. ( 2 ), & Wang, S. ( 3 ). (2019). Learning with Media: Harnessing Viewpoint and Motion to Generate Fields of Potential Action. Journal of Media Psychology, 31(3), 128–136. https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-1105/a000235
Lipford, A., & Crandall, K. (2020). Engage! The Next-Gen of Online Instruction. AALL Spectrum, 24(4), 12–15.
Petrides, L. A. (2002). Web-based technologies for distributed (or distance) learning: creating learning-centered educational experiences in the higher education classroom. (Instructional media initiatives: focusing on the educational resources center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York). International Journal of Instructional Media, 1, 69.
Reddy, S. L., Bubonia, J., & Parr, J. (2020). Technology in Education: Learning Opportunities for Teachers and Students. Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, 112(1), 46–50. https://doi.org/10.14307/JFCS112.1.46
Tabor, S. W., & Minch, R. P. (2013). Student Adoption & Development of Digital Learning Media: Action Research and Recommended Practices. Journal of Information Technology Education, 12, 203–223. https://doi.org/10.28945/1882