1: Digital Media for Comprehensive Learning

When I was in 8th grade, my middle school’s guidance counselors visited every social studies class with learning style self-assessments. My results did not necessarily change the way I approached learning, because I had been previously taught to seek out diverse tools for retaining information. This assessment did, however, introduce me to the theory behind the learning aids that my peers and I had been subconsciously relying on for years.

Most psychologists categorize learning styles as either Visual, Auditory, or Tactile. There are many free online quizzes to determine your learning style and resources to get more information on each, such as this website.

As bauers mentioned in their “Pros and Cons of Digital vs Print” post, “Digital is not replacing print, its filling a niche that print never could.” We discussed in class on Thursday that there is a lot of information to support both sides of the argument over whether digital or print resources are better for educational purposes. My stance on this argument is that digital multimedia is more accommodating to different learning styles, because it has the potential to simultaneously provide interactive media that address all 5 modes of communication presented in Chapter 1 of Writer/Designer, which correspond with the 3 learning styles.

Textbooks, both in print and online, often include visual aids such as pictures and graphs. Increasingly, they also provide website URLs/links for supplementary audio and video files. Third party sources like YouTube channels with animated educational videos, Quizlet, and Khan Academy are great study resources for students looking to review any number of academic topics. These were especially helpful to me when I was studying for AP tests and the SATs in high school. Instead of skimming through 2 years worth of notes and outlines for the AP U. S. History exam, I watched YouTube videos from Crash Course and Adam Norris. Quizlet’s vocabulary games were my go-to study resource as I was preparing for my AP Psychology exam. I used Khan Academy’s SAT Math Test Prep to review and practice more efficiently than I ever would have managed with a book alone.

Because we do not all learn the same way, and many of us rely on more than one learning style, digital media is the best way to merge all 5 modes of communication for educating diverse groups of learners. However, there is a remaining question as to whether print or digital textbooks are more affordable for school districts. On one hand, digital textbooks are typically much cheaper, but not all students will have reliable computer/internet access. School districts who elect to use digital textbooks or supplementary learning materials will have to take this into consideration and should provide access to low income students. This is a growing trend in both private and public schools. The best way to determine which is more feasible from an affordability stand point would be to analyze school districts’ demographics and survey students for data to base this decision off of on a case by case basis.