page three September 2,1992
At convocation last Monday, Dr. Hofstetter presented an entertaining
lecture on multimedia. He used a computer to strengthen his points by
providing visual and oral images. He stressed integrating slides, video, and
music to entertain students in the classroom. Studies show that lecture is one
of the least effective teaching methods. So why do so many educators
continue to drone facts at students instead of encouraging them to experience
new learning concepts?
Some may oppose entertaining students, but our society prepares us for
it. Commercials must entertain to sell a product Television shows must
entertain to sell space for the commericals. Since we spend so much time
watching television and movies, we expect to be entertained.
Educators cannot waste time questioning why society expects entertain
ment. Instead, teachers need to spend their energy motivating students. If that
means entertain them, then entertain them.
As college students we must encomage our professors to take advantage
of the multimedia technology. It will increase our understanding of material,
as a visual image of a collapsing bridge triggers the
specific details of Hooke’s law.
Increased use of multimedia tech
nology will also encourage other
educators to model their strategies.
Eventually the advancements will
trickle down into the public
schools. The technology could
make teachers more effective.
What could be wrong with that?
The multimedia approach has
a place in the public school class
room. Yes, the equipment is expensive. Yes, few classrooms have comput
ers with hard discs and compact discs. However, teachers will use what is
available to them. Many educators use VCR’s to show films or use record
players to play music for educational purposes. If parents, students, educa
tors, and superintendents see what an asset multimedia equipment can be,
then they will work to integrate it into the classroom.
Advanced equipment is not foreign to public schools. One of my classes
had access to video footage on a laser disc. As a high school senior, I could
independently manipulate it. Teachers and other students could do the same.
Multimedia is not an impossible goal for public schools.
Multimedia technology is exciting because it could motivate students.
By presenting the concept, Meredith College makes a commitment to the
advancement of education. Multimedia can help reach unmotivated stu
dents. It might be you in biology class on Friday morning. It might be your
son or daughter in health class in ten years. Use your eyes and ears to learn
in the future.
Yes, I watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I even know the theme song.
When I was five, I knew the Scooby-Doo theme song. However, just because
I have grown up watching TV, a lot of bad TV at that, I do not need total sensory
stimulation in order to learn, which is why I’m opposed to the multimedia
I’m concerned that most students today need an elaborately staged class
room in order to learn. I’ve heard Nan Miller, English professor, say she
sometimes feels like her students expect her to turn cartwheels in the middle of
class. As much as we all would like to see one of those cartwheels, educators
must see their chance to wean students from the “need” for Broadway
productions as a part of their classroom experience.
Students need to know they won’t always be entertained. What would
happen to a student with a media-filled education upon graduating? How could
she concentrate at a job or in the college classroom where she is expected to do
her work because it is her responsibility? As I see it, a multimedia education
would simply worsen a student’s dependency on being entertained.
Does it sound like I expect
students to be enthralled by the
kind of classroom we all hate?
You know the one where the pro
fessor talks for 50 minutes and
then makes a reading assignment
as the bell rings. That is certainly
not what I have in mind. Many of
my English classes here at
Meredith have been exciting and
even inspiring. This inspiration doesn’t happen just for nerdy English majors
like me either. When professors know their material and are willing for their
classes to participate in open discussion, the students and iwofessor have
ownership of the class. This sense of ownership inspires students to do their
work and to do it well.
In addition to believing the multimedia concept is wrong in its promoting
classroom couch potatoes, I also believe that most school systems, eqiecially
ones in North Carolina, could not afford the technology needed. If local sdxiols
were to spend their money on multimedia equijHnent, what would studems
lose? There would have to be a sacrifice, and I’m afraid money used for
textbooks and basic classroom suHriies would be the victim.
In conclusion, I believe a dependence on multimedia would be
to students. I do believe that audio and video should be impv-nyrtted on a
occassional basis, but only when the professor and .shidpnts cannot present the
concept as well themselves.
Point/Counterpoint is designed to create campus awareness and in
volvement about issues concerning the Meredith community. We seek
suggestions, comments and contributions.
Leave suggestions in box at Student Activities box office in the Cate
Center, or call the Herald office at 829-2824.
Amity Brown, Editor
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Amy Clark- Yearbook 829-7735
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