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Whether you subscribe to multiple intelligences, learning modalities, emotional intelligence, or another system of describing multisensory learning, you agree that multimedia enhances learning. Multimedia activities engage vision, hearing, and tactile senses in the exploration of information. Using multimedia, students learn concepts and processes.

The state of the art of educational technology provides a variety of avenues for incorporating media into instruction.


Add speech, drama, music, and a multitude of other sounds to your classroom. Play CD-Audio using the computer’s CD-ROM drive and speakers. Record digital sound to add to presentations. Download non-copyrighted sound files for projects. Make sure that sounds add realism rather than distraction. Avoid repetitive sounds, even if they are funny the first time.

To save sound files from a Web page, right-click on the hyperlink that plays the sound. When the pop-up menu appears, select Save Link As. Your browser should give you the opportunity to choose a file name and location.

Often Windows will Auto-Play an audio CD when it is inserted into the CD drive. If not, then start the CD Player by clicking Start-Programs-Accessories-Multimedia-CD Player. If the CD begins playing, but it cannot be heard, check the following:

bulletSpeakers are present, connected, turned on, with volume up, not muted
bulletVolume control in the Windows Task Bar is up. Double-click the speaker icon to check all sound sources and outputs. You may need to check the Volume Control Options.

Sound File Types

bulletAU: Audio, Unix and Internet
bulletWAV: Wave, Windows and Web
bulletVOC: Sound Blaster
bulletMIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface, synthesizer and Web
bulletMPEG: Internet
bulletMP3: MPEG-1 Layer 3 compression, high-quality Web
bulletWeb Streaming: RealAudio or Shockwave for Web, plays continuously without fully downloading

Creating Sounds

Windows Sound Recorder and a microphone can be used to record sounds including narration, nature sounds, and performances. The sampling rate and the length of the sound will determine its file size. Sampling rate is the number of samples per time, expressed in kHz. Fr example, telephone sound is sampled at 4 kHz, FM radio at 16 kHz, CD audio at 22 kHz. As a rule of thumb, 5 kHz takes 5 kbyte per second; 22 kHz takes 22 Kbytes per sec. Once a sound is captured, named and saved, it can be edited using software such as GoldWave. Sound files may be inserted in PowerPoint slides or Web pages, or attached to email.

To record a sound, make sure a microphone is connected. Start Sound Recorder from Start-Programs-Accessories-Multimedia. The red button begins the recording, and the black square stops recording. After recording, move the slider to the left, and click the single triangle to play the sound. The Edit menu allows you to change the sampling rate, and to delete portions of the recording before or after the slider. For fun, experiment with the options in the Effects menu. Save the recorded sound using File-Save As.

Sources of Sounds

bulletHistory Channel, for speeches;
bulletLibrary of Congress, for speeches;
bulletNational Public Radio archives;
bulletMIDI Fest;
bulletMultimedia Sound;


Graphics are image files used for visual display in documents, presentations, and Web pages. Graphics files can be attached to email.

Graphic Files

bulletBMP, PICT: Bitmaps
bulletJPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): lossy compression algorithm (10:1 to 100:1), millions of colors, used in most applications
bulletGIF (Graphics Interchange Format): uses a compression algorithm (4:1), 256 colors, can be animated

Creating Graphics

Graphics can be obtained from the clip art files of many applications, or saved from the Web. Saving images from the Web begins with right-clicking over the image. Choose Save Image As from the pop-up menu, then choose a name and location.

To create your own images, use a drawing program such as PhotoShop, Paint It, Color It, or Paintbrush. Windows Accessories includes Paint, for creating bitmaps. Existing images can be edited or converted to another file type using software such as Lview.

To capture images, peripherals such as scanners or digital cameras are used. An object or printed image can be scanned and saved as an image file. Digital cameras capture digital photographs that are transferred to a computer for editing and saving.

Sources of Graphic Images

bulletBarry’s Clip Art Server;

Video and Animation

Digital video and animation can also add realism to presentations and Web pages. Video can be saved from the Web or created using software and hardware. Video capture cards or digital video cameras will capture digital video from an analog source such as a VCR or TV. Digital video cameras can capture live video which can be saved as a digital movie file.

Animation is a sequence of still images (usually GIF images). Software such as GIF Construction Set or GIF Animator is used to combine images into a file.

Video File Types

bulletAVI: audio/video interleave, Video for Windows, Web
bulletMOV: QuickTime movie, for applications and Web
bulletJPG: compresses each frame 20:1, for computer applications; near lossless
bulletMPEG-x: compresses each frame up to 50:1, for CD, DVD and broadcast; loss varies, for applications or Web
bulletStreaming/RealVideo: for extended or live broadcasts on the Web

Video Files

A video signal is 10,000 times larger than a voice signal of the same duration. A frame of digitized video can occupy over 750 KB; 1.3 GB for 30 fps! Video files are compressed to reduce file size, makes storage easier, shorten loading time. When choosing frame-rate, compare to 30 frames per second for real-time. Use a smaller video display window to speed processing and improve resolution (reduce pixelation).

Video Production

bulletAcquire video image from analog or video source: tape, camera, disc.
bulletEdit digitized images using software.
bulletOutput to storage or broadcast: network, tape, disc, computer-controlled VCR or laserdisc player.
bulletChoose an application: presentation, Web

Sources of Video

bulletCNN Video Vault;
bulletDesktop Video;

Multimedia Storage

bulletFloppy disk
1.44 megabytes
bulletZIP disk
100-250 megabytes
650 megabytes
4.7-17 gigabytes
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Copyright 2006 Drs.Cavanaugh  Last modified: March 06, 2008