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The interplay of films, readings, lectures and discussion: Multimedia in learning history

MacCallum, J., Sturma, M. and Veitch, S. (1998) The interplay of films, readings, lectures and discussion: Multimedia in learning history. In: AARE 1998, 29 November - 3 December 1998, Adelaide, South Australia


The use of different senses to promote learning has long been recognised ineducation. Salomon (1997) argues that not only do the different symbolic forms of representation contribute in different ways to learning, but that each student's existing knowledge also affects the meaning constructed.

This paper explores the interrelationships between the different representations of history available to students in a university history course, the students' relevant background knowledge, and the learning outcomes. The representations of history were feature films relevant to specific periods in twentieth century American history, written critiques of the films as history, history texts, lectures and tutorial discussion.

Analysis of data produced from students' responses to questionnaires, group interviews and written reflections revealed a number of ways that the films contributed to enhanced learning. It was evident, however, that important learning outcomes such as critical thinking and students' conceptualisation of history were dependent not just on the films or students' knowledge, but on the ways the particular representations interacted with specific films.

The films JFK and Fatal Attraction and associated readings are used to illustrate the findings.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
School of Social Inquiry
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