Curriculum, multimedia, real-world connection, assessment, collaboration, extended time, and student decision making—seven dimensions of project-based multimedia projects may seem to be a lot to think about; but if you have a multimedia project with a strong real-world connection, you can hardly go wrong. Student engagement is just about guaranteed. This is a project your students will work hard on now and remember for a long time. Multimedia is like any other practical art form—it makes sense only when it is part of a context. In wood shop, students don’t make joints, they make birdhouses with joints. In sewing, they don’t make seams, they make clothing with seams. We don’t just combine random media elements, we make multimedia that communicates something. In creating a real-world connection, you are embedding multimedia in a rich context in which students will learn and practice skills, gather and present information, and solve problems. Indeed, the real-world connection is a strong distinguishing element of this learning approach that makes it so motivating for students. A real-world connection means that students see a reason to do this project, other than the fact that you assigned it and they will get a grade on it. There are so many ways to connect to the real world that even beginners to the multimedia approach can design a project that students will find worthwhile.
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