Moving Beyond Papers and Testing: Multimedia Options for Students

We now have so many ways to represent, create, and present content; ask questions; construct connections; analyze research; and a myriad of other interactive learning that can take place in synchronous and asynchronous environments.

How you structure options for your learning activities is key in providing students with multiple ways to present their learning. By offering students a menu of artifact options to move beyond just writing papers or taking a test, you not only offer more opportunities for them to produce a meaningful product, but you introduce another element into the learning experience–technology problem-solving.

Here’s an example: Say your learning objective is students will “compare digital divide to digital inequality.”

To get started, you provide reading resources, an introduction to digital divide and digital inequality, and then set up a discussion in class about these issues.
Students post experiences they have had with digital divide and digital inequality to their class Facebook group or other interactive forum, to stimulate further conversation and reflection.

You then create a menu of options for students to demonstrate their understanding of these issues.

These options might be:

  1. Write a short paper, including images, videos, and other relevant media.
  2. Create a Prezi presentation, showing how the concepts are similar and different.
  3. Conduct an interview with students and teachers, recording the audio, adding background music, and exporting as an mp3 file for listening online.
  4. Create a poster using Glogster, including elements of digital divide and digital inequality along with embedded multimedia.
  5. Write a script and animate, using any of a number of free tools, such as GoAnimate.
  6. Record an original multimedia representation, using Animoto, narration, and music.
  7. Create a narrated slideshow, using PowerPoint or Keynote, uploading to a presentation sharing service, such as authorstream.
  8. Create a concept map of the two issues, using or other free mapping software.
  9. Write an original music video, record, and publish online to YouTube.
  10. Conduct an anonymous survey of students in the school (use Google Docs form or the free version of Survey Monkey) and analyze/report results in an online narrated presentation.

Involved in all of the above would be the requirement to upload, link to, and/or embed the artifacts to a post on the student’s blog or Learning Log. In fact, having a blog should be one of the first and more important parts of a student’s technology tool box.

A blog enables the instant posting of ideas, artifacts, comments, and other content, providing an easy way for students to store work online and for others to view this work. Publishing in an authentic environment is essential for any of the above options to demonstrate learning. Blogs can be made private or public, with settings also available for individual posts. My most favorite blogging platform is WordPress (, but Blogger is another very good alternative (

In today’s creative and multimedia-rich environment, it’s essential that teachers offer options for students to express themselves in ways they couldn’t just a few years ago. Even if you don’t know how to use all of these tools, it doesn’t matter–you will and can learn with your students. Show your students what learning looks like in the 21st century.

What types of options do you offer your students to create artifact and projects? Do you require your students to have a blog and update it regularly? What types of problems do you run into when trying to incorporate multimedia in your classroom?

Please post your comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Moving Beyond Papers and Testing: Multimedia Options for Students

  1. Pingback: Moving Beyond Papers and Testing: Multimedia Options for Students | Daringsearch

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