The effects of interactive multimedia in geographic education for dyslexic students
Alison Elaine Philpotts, Michigan State University, United States
Michigan State University . Awarded
To evaluate the effectiveness of interactive multimedia as a teaching device to help dyslexic students and to narrow the learning gap between dyslexic and non-dyslexic students, an eighth-grade geography lesson was created in both a traditional-text and interactive-multimedia format. The content was guided by the National Geography Standards and focused on Michigan's coastal dunes. The lesson was divided into four sections, and half of each group of students (dyslexic, non-dyslexic) saw a traditional, multimedia, traditional, multimedia sequence and the other half multimedia, traditional, multimedia, traditional. The accuracy and response times of subjects were recorded. Attitude questions aimed at measuring level of enthusiasm were also asked. Test design enabled comparison of the performance and attitudes between dyslexic vs. non-dyslexic students and between traditional vs. multimedia format.
A total of forty-six eighth grade students participated in the testing. They first answered pretest questions and then proceeded through the four sections of the lesson. At the end of each section, they answered multiple-choice content questions. At the end of all four sections, the students answered on-screen attitude questions and were asked open-ended questions.
Accuracy improved significantly between the pretest and the four section posttests. A logit analysis showed that both dyslexic and non-dyslexic students answered more questions accurately with the multimedia format, and they learned more when the same information was presented to them in a combination of different ways (text, graphics and sound, for example). They were also more likely to answer correctly if they had seen the same question on the pretest. Statistically, dyslexics improved significantly more than non-dyslexics when using multimedia, but the difference was very small. The higher level of correct answers for the entire set of subjects did mean, however, that the accuracy ratio between non-dyslexics and dyslexics decreased with multimedia (odds ratio of 1.07 vs. 1.15; full closing of the gap would have resulted in an odds ratio of 1.00). An analysis of variance on reaction times showed that multimedia and the increased number of ways the same information was presented were associated with improved (decreased) response time for both groups; dyslexics improved more with multimedia; and both groups did better with multimedia, especially when the question had not appeared on the pretest. Answers to attitude questions indicated overwhelmingly that students in both groups were more enthusiastic about the multimedia materials than the traditional text.
Although the decrease in the gap between the two groups was limited, the message is clear that multimedia can be a very effective tool for teaching geography to all students, whether they are dyslexic or non-dyslexic.
Philpotts, A.E. The effects of interactive multimedia in geographic education for dyslexic students. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University.
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