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MULTIMEDIA IN EDUCATION

Some books difine multimedia as any combination of text, graphic art, sound,animation, and video delivered to you by computer or other electronic means. However in education, the difinition is extended to cover any media that combine the function ofall the five basic senses. The idea is to to fully utilized all the senses of human being so as to maximize efficiency of teaching and learning. If a subject can be though insuch a way that it make use of as many senses as posible, then teaching can be more efficient . Teachers have being using multimedia since the beginning of education itself. The technology might be different. But all make used of human five senses.

Since the early days of formal education, seing and hearing are the main media of transfer knowledge. Teachers had taken big efforts since thirty years a go encouraging studentsto make use of other senses like touch, smel and taste in their learning processespecially in science subjects. The only obstacle that might stop them from doing thatwas the lack of facilities in their schools. In fact, most teachers did not hasitate toprepare transparencies, models, and other teaching aids using their own pocket money.

Although tape recorders, radios, television, over head projector, slides and flims mightbe considered out dated, they are still playing important role in teaching and learnig inschools. The list of multimedia equipment is becoming longer by the introduction ofcomputer in education.

School's computer clubs.

computers were introduced in Malaysian schools more as extra curricular activities thenas subject. They were set up to teach computing skills. Most of these clubs were supported byfunding from Parent-Teacher Associations or fees collected from club members. Besides, the more motivated principles and his/her teachers took initiatives to organizeschool funfair, walkathon or some other activities to follow the trends of setting upcomputer clubs at those time. Most of the time they were only able to raise just enoughmoney to buy one or two Apple II or compatibles (Lingo). With these limitations, the schools involved were at least succeeded in promoting the computer power to schoolcommunities. With lack of resources, facilities and personal, limited number of studentswere thought using basic application software such as wordprocessor, database andelectronic spreadsheet.

Computer Literacy Pilot Project

At the same time Malaysian educators embark on creating a computer literacycurriculum for schools. The Computer Literacy Pilot Project (CLPP) was launched inApril 1986 in twenty pilot schools, where Form Four pupils were taught a subjectcalled Computer Literacy. This CLPP were abruptly stop the following year.

Although many consider that computer clubs and CLPP project were a failure, it hadbeen a good starting point. With bare minimum trainning and facilities, teachers wereable to familiarized participated student, and school communities, with basic computerliteracy and terminologies.

Computers In Education

In the same year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) set up a joint committee with theMalaysian Institute of Microelectronics System (MIMOS) to study and makerecomendations or IT implementation in schools. A report was prepared by MIMOSand presented to the MOE in early 1989. This report noted that computer literacy wasno longer the major issue in education. What was percived as needed was thewidespread use of computers in the delivery of educational programmes across theboard an integral part of curriculum. With such an approach, computer literacy wouldbe naturally acquired.

The core of the recomendations is the recognition that information and knowledge willincreasngly manifest themselves in electronic form. This requires that IT systems bemade widely available in schools.

There were some other MOE-MIMOS projects and programmes resulted from the jointreport. They had a blue print of the ComIL system (Computer Integreted LearningSystem) completed in 1990, Knowledge Resource Centre, Computer-AssistedInstruction/Learning (CAI/L).

In 1995, Ministry of Education made an anouncement that the CIE Project would beextended to all primary and secondary schools in the country. Unfortunately, thepromise remain to be kept. Internet projects.JARING is the pioneer Internet Service Provider in Malaysia. It was launch in 1991 byMIMOS. Taking advantage of JARING, Ministry Of Education launched another pilotproject in 1994, Jaringan Pendidikan.

In this project,

Internet connection were installedin 50 pilot schools throughout the country. This project was suppose to enhancecommunication and information exchange among teachers and students in the country.

In 1996, the Ministry Of Education launched another Internet Project, Pusat SumberElektronik (PSE) in 14 selected pilot schools, Rangkaian Munsyi (the computernetwork contributed by Telekom Malaysia) was expected to enable schools to accessthe Internet and use multimedia applications. Some of the project schools have createdtheir homepages, most of which is not being updated regularly.

Smart Schools Project

Perhaps the most established IT projects in schools is the Smart School Project. Theselected schools are well-equiped with resources such as computers with internetfacilities. School involve in this project are expected to extensively incorporate IT intoteaching and learning. The emphasis was It-across-curriculum.

IT education in schools is taken more seriously recently whereby a better infrastructureincluding new buildings and resonable number of computers are being prepared in more schools.

The Issues

Most of the IT projects mentioned above were pilot projects being experimented inschools. They were suppose meant for testing viability and feasibility before wide-scaleimplementation. The success of these projects are questionable. Some of them are stillgoing on, but none has generated into a nationwide project as intended originally.

Insufficient Facilities.

Computer is the very basic tool needed for IT education without which, any attempt toimplement IT in schools deemed to be a failure. It is a well known fact that schoolscomputer clubs did not have enough computer to catter for big number of students.Without enough machines, the number of students could be involve is limited and handon activities cannot be done.

Teachers training

Unavailablity of well trained teachers and personals in IT was another factor thatcontribute to the slow progress of IT education in schools. A sudden introduction ofcomputer in schools cause dificulty in asigning school's staf to the job. Teacherstraining colleges across the country which train non-degree teachers for primary andsecondary schools started offerring a compoulsary IT course i n 1990s. Howeverfaculties of education in univarsities seem to be lagging behind. Most offer suchcources only as electives. So most teachers graduating from such programmes were stillIT illiterate by the time they start teaching. The situation was worsen when most of theinservice teachers had little or no exposure to computer. Teacher's training programmeshould have started long before computers were introduced in schools.

Educational software.

No matter what approach is taken for the IT education in schools, asspecially IT-across - curriculum approach, suitable software is needed for implementation. Mosteducational courseware available at present are not suitable for most of schoolssyllabus not only interms of language, but also contentwise. Since most of the sofwareare writen by programmers, not teachers, their products only served as informationdisplay, and does not follow the proper the process of teaching .

Educational Policy

Until now, nobody can deny that education in Malaysia is exam oriented. Hence IT wasnot taken seriously by pupils, parents and educators. Computer and IT subjects werenot formarly included into the curriculum and worse still they were not in the formalschool time table. Time and efforts by a few motivated teachers were not taken into consideration of their existing heavy workload.

IT subject is not integrated into school time table because it is not considered as asubject by itself. Teaching and learning IT activities were taken more as a hobby ratherthan as a subject and done as on part time basis. IT education in schools is not a priority. Hence monetary allocation were little and ifany, was limited to initial purchase of very basic equipment. However in most cases itis left to the creativity and initiative of the schools to find ways of getting facilities tostart up with. The schools then have to take care of the maintainance and supportivematerials by themself.

The implementation of IT in schools will eventually be based on Smart SchoolsConcept, employing an IT-across-curriculum approach. A new curriculum is requiredto meet the dual goal: using various resources, including computers and IT, to enhenceteaching-learning process, and providing students the opportunity to acquire computerand IT literacy.

The idea seems to be perfect. Computer and IT will be a tool in teaching other subjectmatter. Most probably large portion of IT-across-curriculum approach was influencedby indiviuals who might be educators but not directly involve in teaching. Even if theydo, they must have stopped teaching 30 or 40 years ago. Teaching and learning is a very complex process. It is more than just viewing andabsorbing information. Providing a new interesting ways of viewing pictures andwritings, does not mean that young school pupils are able to learn and beknowledgeble. To teach does not only means to provide knowledge and information.The more important part of teaching is to transfer skils, both psychomotor and cognitif.In the process of teaching, teachers need to interact with unlimited kind of responsesfrom students of various socio economic backgrounds.

Teaching and learning is a very unique process both for subject matter and for individuals. Every subjects need specific tools and meterials to teach and learn effectively. IT and computer can only besupplimentary and cannot play important role in teaching any subjects other than IT.

If IT is tought together with other subject simultenously, there will be a lot of confusionin the pupils cognitif aspect and will slow down not only the process of learning, but also the process of teaching. IT might be one of teaching tools, but it cannot play majorrole in teaching school's students.

The solutions

It is hard to believe that IT-across-curriculum approach will produce a positif result forthe IT education in Malaysian schools. A better way is to introduce IT as a subject.Include the subject into daily time table and recognize it as part off the teachers formalworkload. As a subject, it should be treated equally well like the other where there are given certain amount of monetary allocation yearly. Distribute a formal syllabus toschools so that teachers know clearly what to teach. The IT subject should also beincluded into public examination and their result are taken into consideration forproducing certificates.

Conclusion

Implementing IT in schools nationwide is a tedious task. In Malaysian contex, it ispertinent that the authorities take notice of the fact that without a solid, long termstrategic plan backed by personals of IT literate and committed educators to manageand implement IT projects in schools, all the national goals concieved so far to exploit IT in education are unlikely to produce results. IT will soon diffuse into education.However successful implementation of IT projects in Malaysia demands the emergenceof a new culture and a paradigm shift in education. Not only must the curriculumchange to integrate IT, teachers and educators, as well as managers and administrators,must all become IT literate through preservice and inservice training.

References ;

1. http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/whats_new/techknow/june01.shtm

2. http://www.netc.org/equity/

3. http://www.netc.org/equity/access.html

4. http://www.netc.org/equity/strat_access.html

5. http://www.netc.org/equity/curriculum.html

6. http://www.moe.gov.my/

7. http://ehostvgw6.epnet.com/ehost.asp

8. Jonassen, David H. (1991). Evaluating constructivistic learning. Educational Technology, 31, 28-33.