Technology is everywhere – assisting with everything from scheduling our appointments to keeping our cars running.

There’s no question why it has become a critical component in our classrooms. Technology can make learning fun and engaging for students of any age and provides educators with yet another platform to foster learning. Online educational multimedia platforms that host content like streaming video encourage students to learn in different ways and allow us to work towards exceeding 21st century learning expectations.

There are various educational multimedia platforms that deliver and distribute content digitally and target the K-12 market. With thousands of videos, articles and audio files at our fingertips, educators are able to stay one step ahead. New technology, such as streaming media-on-demand, blogging tools, online classroom management systems and more, offer many options for teachers and students to communicate in and out of the classroom. Educational technology also facilitates communication through discussion boards in which users can share ideas and lesson plans at the click of a mouse. This sharing and collaboration of resources enhances learning and moves the educational system beyond the four walls of the classroom.

There are several ways to create a more tech-savvy environment in the classroom. For example, assign presentations as multimedia projects. When students access videos, photos and audio from trusted and secure sources and add to assigned presentations, they are more likely to explore their topic further.  The technology aspect can also intrigue students who are watching the presentation, allowing them to gain more from the experience. When dealing with online multimedia, both students and educators need to be aware of copyright laws, as well as which websites and resources are school-approved.

Conducting research via Internet-based multimedia platforms expands students’ knowledge not only of the lesson at hand but technology as a whole. Multi-sensory lesson plans improve the teaching/learning experience when using credible resources. Rather than always turning to textbooks, allow students to research on school-authorized websites and platforms to give them experience with keywords and access to extensive amounts of information and resources.

Live-streaming is another tool available in which you are able to host a conversation with a professional or expert related to the topic your students are currently studying. If you’re reading a book about the history of sports, perhaps contact a coach from a team in your area to participate in a video chat. Students could engage in discussion about where sports are now and compare to the history in their lessons.  It’s a way of learning that students won’t experience by simply reading the book.

Research shows that when video and multimedia are implemented in schools, students are more engaged, teacher performance improves and student-teacher interaction is greater. Multimedia allows for mobile learning, so location is not an issue. It also provides flexibility with teaching and learning methods. Since some students are visual learners while others are auditory learners, multimedia enables them to learn in the way they are most comfortable. It also promotes collaboration through blogs, discussion boards and social networks.

Ultimately, multimedia technology gives students a broader view of the world.

Students can experience today’s global community by learning about cultures and countries in new ways. We are currently taking a step forward to reach the common goal. The integration of more streaming video and multimedia in the classroom is only a start, but if done effectively, can be successful in reaching and exceeding 21st century learning expectations.

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technologyEd Murphy is the vice president of marketing and business development at Learn360, an on demand multi-media and streaming video provider to the K-12 education market. Learn360 also offers blogging tools, discussion boards, assignment and quiz applications, and more technology to educators and students and parents.