CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Integrating Multimedia Authoring into the Middle School Curriculum

Date of Award

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Gerorge K. Fornshell

Committee Member

Robert B. Lipton

Abstract

The educational community is seeking meaningful ways to use technology as a learning tool. In Pennsylvania, students must develop multimedia projects as part of the school curricula. Despite this requirement, little has been documented about the success factors in the integration of these projects across the curriculum. This study explored the key factors required for the successful integration of student multimedia projects within middle school classrooms in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It explored these research questions: How is multimedia authoring by students integrated within the school curriculum? What are the key enabling factors for middle school teachers who successfully integrated multimedia authoring into the school day? What impediments keep other teachers from doing likewise? What are the best practices in professional development and ongoing support that resulted in classrooms in which multimedia authoring was a tool that enriched learning? Data were collected across multiple measures to produce a comprehensive profile of the current status of multimedia authoring as it was related to professional staff development, technology support, and student learning. The measures developed for this study were a teacher questionnaire. A teacher interview guideline, a classroom observation checklist, and a multimedia project evaluation rubric.

This multiple procedure approach was used to ensure accurate descriptions of what was taking place in classrooms. The study found that teachers were successfully integrating student multimedia authoring projects into the curriculum in meaningful ways that used technology as learning tools that resulted in numerous benefits. The multimedia authoring software used to create these projects was a true student-centered toolkit that supported constructivist learning. When creating multimedia projects, students enthusiastically investigated the world around them while they mastered subject area content and technology skills. The process promoted critical thinking, problem solving, social collaborating, researching, interviewing, organizing, and time managing skills. Teachers made the most of the multi modal approach that this process provided by creating assignments that allowed students to articulate themselves in meaningful ways. They found that student multimedia authoring projects are a good alternative form of educational assessment because students produced authentic learning products. Students were willing to put forth extra effort and often worked long after class had ended. The results of their efforts were immediate and tangible. Integrating multimedia projects in the classroom energized learning, actively engaged students, and helped define the role of technology in the classroom.

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