Major Themes

When I initially began the search for interactive multimedia technology, I assumed that I knew the majority of technology ideas. However, early into my research I realized that there is an ever-expanding universe of technology. My research led me to develop a central question to answer: How do we learn through technology and does it work? In addition to the public consumer side of technology, another entire side exists exclusively devoted to education. I have identified four new areas of interactive multimedia technology to incorporate into my thesis and my classroom instruction following the headings of student use of technology, learning procedures, student achievement, and various new technologies.

Student Use of Technology

The 21st century learner uses and defines technology in different ways. Different courses require different resources varying from computers to textbooks. However, some technology can overlap curriculum by supplying the students with network resources, connectivity and organization. A common theme that I have seen throughout my research is that students have more opportunities for organization. Students now have the choice to stray away from tangible, paper based documents and instead organize them in either network or cloud based computers. The obvious benefit is in the connectivity that students can access documents from home, school or by mobile devices. The level of productivity rises and student organization becomes more transparent between teacher, parent and student.

Learning Procedures

Why do we love technology? Is it because it works? Perhaps the best explanation why we love technology and why our society has made a commitment to the addiction is because we continue to exhibit a high level of fascination. Examining the results of why the technology engages us provides educators the chance to research what works and what simply does not. Understanding the aspects of how our brain processes information provides valuable reasoning behind the support for technology. The research surrounding learning theory is staggering but a common theme continues to become evident providing a clear understanding that interactive multimedia education works and makes learning enjoyable. Additionally, the research surrounding learning theory delves into cognitive processes and other psychological concepts not initially evident when I initially started the action research process.

Student Achievement

Few studies provide adequate measures of research other than student achievement. The entire concept of education rests with growing and promoting achievement. Measuring if technology truly promotes achievement was a central theme throughout my research. Measuring why technology works is an advantageous approach to implementing technology but measuring if it works provides administrators the data they need to continue to support technology. Student achievement is tied to funding and reputation and in a struggling economy where achievement holds more weight than ever, quantitative and qualitative data supporting technology stands paramount to the success of students.

New Technologies

Updates, hardware changes and software advancements make the technology portion of my thesis dynamic and subject to change. Aside from the fact that my thesis does have a subject to change disclaimer, technology at its core is constantly evolving. The various research I conducted provided me with papers published in 2006 highlighting cutting edge blogs. Now we focus on smaller chips for iPad’s and expanding memories where space restraints fade into distant memories of removable media. Throughout the research a common theme presented was the latest and greatest, game-changing mode of technology.
The four components of my thesis inspire me to continue my research to better my students, peers and community by demonstrating the effectiveness of interactive multimedia. We are now in an age of change. Economies are changing, global dependency is evident and technology binds education and the world together in ways only imagined to the 20th century learner. The 21st century learner understands concepts in varying and complex manners sparking the same debate: How do we learn through technology and does it work?