Engaging Education with Audio-Visual Technology


October 13, 2018

If I were to ask you if you would rather sit down and read a paper, describing a particular topic that you need to learn, that contains a few images and about 50 pages long OR sit through an entertaining video including songs, jokes and well-known movies stars; which would you choose?

If I were to guess, I would say the first.

Learning needs to be stimulating, engaging and maybe even entertaining. After reading Neil Postman’s article “Learning in the Age of Television” I thought about how he connected watching “Sesame Street” to “undermine the idea of traditional schooling”, he discusses many differences between being educated by television versus being educated in school. The television, he mentions, can act as the educator for a child when a parent/caregiver is unwilling to be the teacher himself. Children are entertained by television. School is not always that entertaining. Postman mentions that school is a place of social interaction whereas television can be on one’s own. You can ask the teacher questions, but cannot do the same to the television. In the classroom today we do not need to fight with the technology but use it to assist in student learning.

Image result for sesame street

Image source

Children and adults alike use smartphones, tablets, or other hand-held devices as a form of entertainment. Whether one is actually reading a book, article or other form of print, listening to music, talking to others, playing a game (mindless or educational), perusing social media or whatever it may be it is usually to be entertained. Learning may occur, but is not the main reason for having the device. Yet, when these devices are brought into the school, the school is not intending for them to be used as entertainment, but as learning tools. But, what may not be fully realized is that with the learning comes some form of entertainment (or at least the ones that the students want to use). I find that I retain more information when I am entertained or enjoying what I am learning.

 The use of AV (audio-visual) aids, when it was first introduced into educational settings in 1928, (page 34) was to aid the teacher in the presentation of the material. As Haiming and Brooke mention in their blogs about how the traditional idea of the classroom is based on the behaviourist learning theory that has the teachers participating in the direct exchange of information to students while standing at the front of a classroom and lecturing to them. The use of AV aids allows for the opportunities for students with varying learning styles to be given the opportunity to learn in ways that work best for them.

The use of audio-visual technologies in the classroom has allowed for an approach towards connectivism in teaching and away from the behaviourist and constructivist theories on teaching. As was discussed in the presentation this week, AV has led to an opportunity for students to connect with others and to engage more fully through their own learning styles in the classroom.

Pitts explains how media has changed the way we learn where

in the past the printed word was the dominant mode of communicating meaning, new  media have enabled other modes to come to the fore. Kress (2003) explored how new   media transforms arguing that the dominance of writing is being replaced by the           dominance of the image, and the dominance of the book is being replaced by the          dominance of the (literacy digital) screen ( page 23).

In society now, being literate doesn’t only include being able to read and write but also involves being multimodal. In today’s modern classrooms it is the educator’s job to be able to maximize the opportunities for students to use technology to their educational advantage.


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