Assignment 1
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EDGE903 Spring 2013

Multimedia and Interface Design

Assignment One

Explore ideas and post your reflection to the discussion forum



After reading the initial set of readings provided write a brief reflection on how the ideas presented relate to the educational context(s) in which you've studied or worked.

1. In your reflection you should introduce yourself, explaining your interest in education and settings in which your have worked.

2. Explain how the ideas you have read about are relevant (or not) and identify an idea or aspect that you would like to particularly explore as part of your work in this subject.

This is intended to be an open - ended task, so don't feel that there are any right or wrong answers. Its purpose is to get you thinking about the ways multimedia are used to represent ideas and how interface can facilitate the ways we use digital technologies for learning. Post your reflection on the discussion forum to share with your fellow students


I am a primary school teacher and ICT leader at a state public school in Kwinana Western Australia. Kwinana is a bustling industrial area first colonised by British Petroleum through the running of Western Australia’s only oil refinery. Further industrial partners are located in Kwinana including Alcoa, CBH and port handling facilities carriers. Despite Kwinana’s relatively large area (118 square kilometres) and industrial heritage, the school I work at has a very low socio-economic index (SEI). One area of educational functionality for me focuses on the cultural aspects of the school and surrounding school catchment area. These cultural aspects include students who are indigenous, refuges, immigrants and poverty laden students.

When discussing and vocalising culture and cultural, the terms of reference for me have at times presented logistical language perspectives and dialogue. There are many different definitions of “culture”. One quite useful definition of culture is “an integrated pattern of human behaviour that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group” (Queensland-Government 2010). As an educator I must be culturally relevant. In my class, I see culture as not just simply a collection of immigrants, indigenous or refugee students. Culture can also include students who have single parents, single wage earners, property owners and renters, as well as students who fit into the poverty descriptor culture group.

Unlike Byram (2013), I do think that the research is relevant. Jagne et al (2006) makes a valid point with, “rather than relying on samples which have similar cultural background information, we suggest researchers and designers should engage with the cultures directly, in-order to get a better understanding of the indigenous people.” Directly, the research by Jagne et al (Jagne 2006) is not appropriate to my teaching status, but the theories and models contained within it do and can be transferred to my teaching.

On the surface, my class appears like any homogenised westernised one. When I plan I am constantly aware of the multi-cultured students (MCS) in my class. As I alternate between the different MCS in an educational situation, I have to code switch and flit between the differing groups. Each group has its own set of rules, and as such, the students need to be able to code switch. That is, being able to make decisions regarding the use of the rules and codes of the dominant culture (Perso 2012). As an educator, we must model the rules and codes needed to succeed in the educational forum. This is further built upon by Burridge et al (Burridge, Buchanan and Chodkiewicz 2009) when they highlight the need to support schools and teachers in their endeavours to acknowledge and address cultural difference in positive ways and to build more culturally responsive classrooms. Much like “the way culture is currently being integrated into interface design is not working” (Jagne 2006), Jordan (Jordan 2004) when talking about the culture of poverty, suggests that individuals create, sustain, and transmit to future generations a culture that reinforces the various social and behavioural deficiencies. Jagne et al (2006) and Jordan (2004) compliment each other’s argument. The rules and cultural guidelines can be difficult to graduate from, and continue to perpetuate thinking and creative standpoint (Jagne 2006). They both agree that design and culture has its deficiencies and detractors, and that the stakeholder needs to take control. Small et al (Small, Harding and Lamont 2010) commented that sustained poverty generated a set of cultural attitudes, beliefs, values, and practices and that this culture of poverty would tend to perpetuate itself over time. In discussing Cross-Cultural Interface Design Strategy (Jagne 2006) I have unconsciously used aspects of this model. Due to my school’s diverse cohort intake, our school has a comprehensive on entry procedure/policy (Investigation (Jagne 2006)). This investigation helps shape and guide direct teaching practises in order to build up a holistic picture of our cohort, and to subtract the preconceptions that can often cloud the overall culture or cultural aspects of a student or school.

Multimedia Learning & Cognitive Load

I have always found the aspects of Multimedia Learning (ML), that is learning from words and pictures (Mayer and Moreno 2003) and Multimedia Instruction (MI), as presenting words and pictures that are intended to foster learning (Mayer and Moreno 2003) to be highly motivating for my students and myself as an educator. My earliest memory as a child of ML was watching an episode of Open University on BBC 2. Although the content was quite complex for my naďve brain, I found the mixture of typed words and static pictures intermixed with stock footage and overdubbed vocals, liberating and fascinating. This coupled with historical documentaries and drama documentaries opened up a lifetime fondness and appreciation for MI/ML educational delivery. Fast forward a couple of decades and I found myself at university about to start a teaching degree.

From my earliest days of university in the 90s, the internet and Netscape Navigator was a secret buried in the basement computer room on campus. Prior to university, I had never heard of the internet. But what possibilities lay untapped. My renewed interest in MI/ML began in my first year. Unknown locations in the world stored whole directories of scientific and educational animations, recordings (audio/video) and images. By the end of university, the days of physical chalk and talk were fast becoming irrelevant for me as a neophyte primary school teacher.

In the article, Mayer and Moreno (2003) describe a central challenge facing designers of multimedia instruction is the potential for cognitive overload—in which the learner’s intended cognitive processing exceeds the learner’s available cognitive capacity. For me, the Load Reduction Methods (Mayer and Moreno 2003) listed together with their effect size highlighted colossal mistakes I made in the early days of teaching using MI/ML. My development as an instructor has over the years, paid close attention to Type 1 (Essential processing in visual channel > cognitive capacity of visual channel) (Mayer and Moreno 2003) to such an extent, that I have been able to utilise technology and software techniques now that addressed the deficiencies of my content delivery. Something as simple as adding an overlayed audio track to a video file instead of adding subtitles increased the retention of information by the learner.

Educators are used to delivering content in a measured, bite-sized and scaffolded manner. Type 2 describes Segmenting. That is allowing time between successive bite-size segments (Mayer and Moreno 2003). There have been many times where my MI/ML education delivery has been deliberately divided up so that content is intermixed with regular pause/share amongst the learners. Breaking the task into smaller chunks highlighted the need for the learners to reaffirm their understanding of the content, and vocalise their thoughts to another learner. This in turn led to the learners demonstrating bite sized retention of the content.

Further Exploration

I find the Cognitive Load research interesting and confusing. As part of a new strategy in my classroom, I have been experimenting using computers games and tablet apps as a resource. Initial observations indicate that my cultural group of gamers seem to have a high capacity for Cognitive Load usage. It would appear some of the students are able to break the rules for Types 1 to 5 for the overload scenarios (Mayer and Moreno 2003). Simply put, their cognitive load doesn’t appear to suffer any information retention depletion or recall during and after game play/use. It almost contradicts what they shouldn’t be able to do. I found myself asking the following questions:

Why is their information retention higher than a non gamer?

Can this skill from gaming be transferred to non game audio/visual MI/ML?

Is this age dependant?



Byram, O. (2013). Exploring and reflecting on ideas relative to multimedia and interface design. Assignment 1 EDGE903. UOW

Burridge, N., Buchanan, J. and Chodkiewicz, A. (2009). "Dealing with Difference: Building

Culturally Responsive Classrooms." Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal; Vol 1, No 3 (2009).

Jagne, J., Smith, S., Duncker, E., Curzon, P. (2006). "Cross-cultural interface design strategy." Universal Access in the Information Society 5(3): 299-305.

Jordan, G. (2004). "The Causes of Poverty Cultural vs. Structural: Can There Be a Synthesis?" Perspectives in Public Affairs(Spring 2004).

Mayer, R. E. and Moreno, R. (2003). "Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning." Educational Psychologist 38(1): 43-52.

Perso, T. F. (2012). Cultural Responsiveness and School Education With Particular Focus On Australia’s First Peoples: A Review & Synthesis of the Literature. Darwin, Northern

Territory, Menzies School of Health Research, Centre for Child Development and Education.

Queensland-Government (2010). Working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Queensland Government: pp.28.

Small, M. L., Harding, D. J. and Lamont, M. (2010). "Reconsidering Culture and Poverty." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 629(1): 6-27.

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