by Marie LeBlanc
It is hard enough to offer multimedia in a typical adult education setting. It is even tougher to offer multimedia to adult learners in a medium-security state prison, where I teach now.
photo collage from the DOC FaceBook page
Perhaps similar to yours, many of my students left school between the 7th and 9th grades due to learning disabilities, immigration issues, poor family support and complicated environments. Their lack of background knowledge is very apparent in many subjects. Add to that the prison restrictions on device and internet use within the classroom, and the general challenges of teaching inside the wall.
Still, it is possible. I would like to share how I have taught U.S. History in a memorable and easy-to-understand way, while addressing the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE).
I presented the evolution of our country through a multimedia timeline. This approach allowed me to show pertinent events, people, and documents through a variety of primary and secondary sources.
I tried to incorporate the strategies for Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge into my activity questions and used reading, writing, math, and science texts to expand the scope of learning. I incorporated technology by including video and audio files containing music, speeches, podcasts, documentaries, and more.
I found that presenting formative and cumulative assessment activities individually and as a group allowed me to effectively evaluate the needs and progress of my students, and that I could use a variety of assessment activities such as cloze reading, matching terms, and games presented through PowerPoint, PDFs, Word documents, and websites. The hardware I used included SMART Boards, LCD projectors, laptops, and an Elmo document projector.
Many of the activities I created from scratch, but there are hundreds of shared online educational resources. When teaching outside of prison, I’ve also used smartphones and QR codes.
Following is an example of how multimedia may be incorporated into teaching the Declaration of Independence.
(2) Discuss vocabulary as a group
(3) Ask "reporter questions":
(4) Explore the main ideas from each part of the document
(5) Listen to this podcast and discuss the relevance of the Declaration then and today
Podcast with transcript and links at https://shapingopinion.com/writing-the-declaration-of-independence-episode-17/
(6) Analyze the Declaration as a primary source
The National Archives has a trove of resources for primary sources. I use the document worksheet pictured here.
I have also presented this U.S. History lesson online through a webinar to my adult educator peers in order to stress the usefulness of multimedia, and to show how it:
There are numerous ways to incorporate multimedia in any subject, and yes, it may take a little more work, but I can assure you that it will create an engaging and memorable lesson!
graphic by Starline at Flaticon
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