Interactive. Interactivity is a characteristic of dynamic media that is a key to
educational use. This allows users to
change and control media on the fly,
permitting them to manipulate parameters and move among representations
in nonlinear fashion.
Multilayered. Dynamic media frequently include video, animations, audio,
data, graphs, and other representations
layered on top of one another.
Mobile. Dynamic media are increasingly mobile and ubiquitously available
to users on smartphones, Blackberries,
iPods, and other mobile media players.
Dynamic media are frequently repurposed for different form factors, from
wide-screen televisions to cell phones
and mobile media players.
The dynamic nature of media makes
teaching in more dynamic ways possible, to engage students and facilitate
inquiry inside schools.
Teaching with Dynamic Media
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy stepped from a black-and-white Kansas
landscape into a vibrant Technicolor
world. In the same way, dynamic use
of digital sound, images, video, and
animation can transform a classroom. In social studies, students are
incorporating online primary source
documents into short digital docu-mentaries. Math teachers are using
dynamic media to demonstrate connections among multiple representations. In science, visualization tools
allow learners to see patterns in data
that allow them to interpret underlying phenomena.
Google Earth provides a good ex-
ample of this use. Its three-dimensional
viewing capability makes it possible to
tilt, zoom, and interactively fly through
the terrain. For many students, tradi-
tional maps are only a two-dimension-
al pattern of colors. The site Teaching
Geology in the 21 Century provides
a description of ways in which Google
Earth can be used in teaching.
Characteristics of Dynamic Media
Google Earth illustrates many of the
characteristics of dynamic media. It
is interactive, allowing users to move
through the landscape. It supports
layering, allowing additional information and markers to be placed on top
of the base layer. It has a movie-maker
feature that makes it possible to record the three-dimensional imagery
and save the recording as a movie file.
The resulting movies can be shared,
linked, and embedded. It is mobile—
there is a version of Google Earth for
the iPod Touch and the iPhone.
This allows instructors to move
from a static, two-dimensional approach to teaching to a dynamic, 3D
approach. It allows them to interact
with a class and respond to questions
on the fly to facilitate inquiry.
Student Engagement and Participation
In studies conducted across several
content areas and grade levels, including science, mathematics, and social
studies, we have found that effective
use of dynamic media can lead to increased student engagement. As a new
digital generation becomes increasingly comfortable using these tools to
communicate and interact, teachers
will have the opportunity to allow students to remix media.
Lawrence Lessig’s most recent
book, Remix, comments on the educational potential of this aspect of
Remix is a strategy to excite
“interest-based” learning. As the
name suggests, interest-based
learning is learning driven by
found interests. When kids get to
do work that they feel passionate
about, kids (and, for that matter,
Media can be remixed and recombined
Media can be exported and linked
Media can facilitate ongoing conversations
User interactions are supported
Multiple layers of media are incorporated
Ubiquitous on media players, phones
adults) learn more and learn more
Lessig notes that teachers like Elizabeth Daley and Stephanie Parrish,
while working in inner-city schools,
…saw classes of students who
before could not retain their focus for a single class period now
spending every free moment of
every hour the school was open
editing and perfecting video
about their lives, or stories they
want to tell.
Teachers are beginning to use this
approach to extend traditional essays
and engage students.
Engaging the Senses
Teachers who employ dynamic media
effectively must have the ability to use
audio editors, video editors, social
media, and applications specific to
their discipline. They must also possess a deep knowledge of content and
associated instructional strategies to
discern how dynamic media can be
employed most effectively.
Dynamic media can move us into a
world that engages the senses through
images, sound, video, and animation.
Teachers with the necessary skills can
employ these media to teach more
dynamically, and it is encouraging to
report that teachers often do just that
when given the opportunity.
An Anthropological Introduction to You Tube
(2008). Wesch, Michael. http://mediated
Remix (2008). Lessig, Lawrence.
Teaching Geology in the 21 Century: http://