Sunday, October 7, 2012

Multiple Intelligence Planning Enhanced By Online Learning

Multiple Intelligence integration into my classroom is at times enhancing and at others partitioned. Many of the natural combinations of intelligences come easy to a Language Arts workshop. Students working independently to read/write followed by sharing/critiquing peers is intra and interpersonal. Depending on the particular project, spatial and logical-mathematical are incorporated. These are the enhancements.
At other times, I struggle to incorporate intelligences and force them into separate activities. For example, bodily kinesthetic often seems forced for the sake of getting students out of their desks, not necessarily improving the curriculum. Actually, it often proves to be more of a distraction. The closest I’ve come is gallery walks and inventing body movements for vocabulary recall.
As learning increasingly turns toward technology as a platform, educators are afforded greater ease in combining multiple intelligences with a single lesson/project/activity. A single student’s varying aptitude in the intelligences does have the ability to hamper learning in a dynamic curriculum that combines them (Riha and Robles-Pena, 2009). More than likely, online learning and media integration will limit the interference and allow the intelligences to balance or even augment each other by providing greater combinations and choices of learning tools.
For instance, an online curriculum can create a podcast lecutre that incorporates music for a teacher without musical talent via published soundtracks. Linguistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal are all easily recreated by technology with blog forums and podcasting. These are the elements already most readily produced in traditional classrooms. Bodily-kinesthetic, the least used by classroom teachers, is afforded more opportunity due to the greater allotment of time. By flipping a classroom with online learning at home, class time can be spent exploring tangible, real-world applications on field trips.
If any of these particular elements creates too much interference, online lessons can be edited more simply than a one-time classroom experience. Perhaps one student cannot focus with a soundtrack playing during a podcast lecture. A teacher can much more easily edit and repost a the podcast than they can recreate an in-class lecture minus the song- if there ever was one.
Multiple Intelligence learning is research supported. High-level educators know to consider these in their lesson planning. Online learning opens more doors for synthesizing them within a single learning target.


Riha, Mark & Robles-Pina, Rebecca A. (2009). The influence of multiple intelligences theory on web-based learning. MERLOT journal of online learning and teaching. Retrieved from

Technology/Media Discussion Thoughts

On the reluctance of some teachers to reeducate themselves in the name of technology integration...

Regarding the generational discussion, perhaps it's worth taking a look at what media innovations were taking place in the past as means for assessing the possibilities of today's innovations. Now, as a younger teacher, I cannot speak from experience. However, I bet the use of a slideshow (with actual slides) back in the 1950s and 60s revolutionized the way students could experience curriculum. 

A slideshow by today's standards is basic media technology: hit the button, new slide appears. Yet, I infer that the teachers who first used this media in their classrooms had to reorganize their lesson structure and pedagogical beliefs. Teachers need to do the same today. Unfortunately for "change," the media and technology available today takes much more training than hitting a button.

On the notion that integrating technology based media creates a learning environment familiar to students...

You mention using technology based media as a tool for setting a familiar stage within which students can learn. Our current and future students are products of the digital age and therefore are more comfortable swiping the page than turning. 

Within online learning and the use of technology based media on the rise, their integration into education in early years becomes pivotal. Students exposed to these tools in middle or even elementary school will be at an advantage when they reach high school and certainly college where these platforms are commonplace. Upon entering post-secondary education and/or eventually the workforce, a student who has basic tech and media skills from owning an iPad is developmentally behind in 21st century learning contrasted to the student who has been trained with online or blended learning. 

Not only is technology based media integration a way to make many students feel comfortable, multimedia/online platforms in school can take them to a higher level of competency.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Multimedia only precludes learning with real-world delivery

Background Knowledge:
misnomer I had and feel many do: multimedia = technology. Untrue. Written words next to a bar graph is technically multimedia. Sorta seems obvious once I read it, but there it is. 

On to this post's main idea...

Multimedia improves learning, but delivery determines the strength of the media. 

People are so sure media improves learning because it provides a recorded history of knowledge learned. Without media (i.e. books, video, computers, graphs, etc.) we are relegated to original experience. While hands-on, original experience enhances learning, the recorded success found in media validate that which can be experienced. Further, culture and knowledge grow by an awareness of what has been accomplished before, using the past as a starting point for growth. 

But what makes one medium better than the other? A particular pairing in multimedia superior? Why can a thirty year veteran teacher prepare students with dusty books sprinkled with charts better than some teachers armed with eBooks and wireless Internet? The answer is delivery. 

The passionate veteran with books and charts is using multimedia to deliver context. If his or her approach in using these tools is authentic, real-world learning, student growth follows. I’d be surprised to hear that any of us cannot recall a teacher, even if they were only the wise old geezer down the hall you didn’t get to have in high school or a current colleague one floor down, that doesn’t resemble this description. 

Contrast this wily vet with the technology laden colleague. The teacher who sticks a computer in the face of every student in order to complete online worksheets or answer multiple choice questions based on the reading. The computer/Internet multimedia marriage does not preclude student growth unless wielded with the same passion and authentic experiences the veteran provides with books and charts. 

As I’m only in my fourth year of teaching, I’ve often been guilty of smothering students in technology for what truly only benefits me, the teacher. I’ve had students take electronic versions of tests and quizzes, allowing me to grade on my iPad. After typing essays, I’ve sent kids to Web. 2.0 Tool sites to review content knowledge. These are personal conveniences that do little to nothing for student learning that paper versions couldn’t. What is lacking is multimedia and authentic context. 

The multimedia experiences I’ve successfully combined with authentic learning provided those smile moments when a classroom is humming with diligent work, thriving students, and poignant discussions. One of these moments came by reading historical fiction and taking gallery walks of photographs from the time period. Combining printed word with visuals sparked a real-world context for the literature. (technology played zero role in this lesson)

True multimedia academic impacts come from the buzz word circling in every education discussion: engagement.