In our society nowadays, there has been an abrupt change in multimedia technologies which lead to advancement in the world of education in Malaysia. Changes are starting to be spotted in most institutions of higher learning. Multimedia technologies are slotted into Malaysia's education system bits by bits to follow up the trend of the outside world. It can be said that the usage of computers are turning up to be more and more vital in our daily lives and has become a part of us. Tapscott (1998) claims that due to the increase in familiarity of the coming generation towards computers cum Internet, expectation towards what they are going to learn in the classroom can be seen to tag along the same pattern. According to Meiers (2009), improvement of students' learning in a classroom can be achieved through the implementation of ICT. Multimedia learning can be defined as the use of pictures, text and not to mention sound to propose a potentially influential surroundings or background knowledge that can help students to enhance their understanding towards the lessons that have been taught in the classroom. Cognitive theory is a theory which talks about the way learners deal with the multimedia information that they obtain in their classrooms (Mayer & Moreno, 2002). Guidance to enable teachers to transfer their knowledge and information effectively has been provided through this theory so that they will be able to make their mind up in measuring as well as choosing the resources that can maximized students' potential while learning in the classroom. Nevertheless, not all the functions of the multimedia assets that the teachers use in the classroom have the same appropriateness. As a result, teachers will be facing difficulties in identifying and selecting which resources or materials should they use in their lessons so that they can carry their lessons in the classroom effectively. It can be said that the penetration of multimedia elements has really pushed all teachers, including old and experienced teachers, to the extent that they have no choice to upgrade their current self to be more technology-orientated so that they will not be left out and become out-dated.
Since students nowadays are more exposed to multimedia technologies, teachers have to equip themselves with lots of resources in order to come up with various types of ICT curricula and arm themselves with the ability of tackling numerous approaches of teaching with the intention that they are able to make their lesson plans more interesting to arouse the 21st century students' attention. Thornburg (1995) proposed flexibility as well as having a wider range in teaching is something that teachers will gain by incorporating the technologies into the syllabi effectively. Thornburg (1995) also claimed that creation of a student-centered learning environment is made possible. Through the process of equipping themselves, they will be able to fit in various types of media elements into the traditional way of teaching. Thus, teachers will be able to adapt and adjust the lessons that they have prepared to fit the students' need and level of proficiency so that they will be more interested to learn and not feeling ignored.
Ways for learning materials to be delivered effectively to students based on Multimedia
As teachers nowadays are becoming more and more technology-oriented, there are several methods that they used in order for their students to gain knowledge through multimedia based-learning.
The first method will be applying the use of films in the classroom. Using film is a method that can be applied in various fields like for example science, literature and others. This is because using films is a process of combining both images cum sounds together. It helps beginners of certain subjects a lot because the students will be able to get the gist of the language skills and not to mention memorize the contexts and learn new complicated patterns and words that they are not used to in the classroom. According to Mitchell (1994:38f), learners are to take responsibility for their own progresses in their language learning since language learning is considered as an active process. Before the lesson starts, teachers must be aware of three aspects like what their students are going to study, what kinds of materials are to be used and what kinds of response will the students give after they watch the films. While teaching using films, teachers are to encourage their students to utter their own thought without any restriction and at the same time try to awaken their interest in the classroom learning. Teachers have to take into account of the students' interests and needs and at the same time they have to make sure the suitability of the objectives of the film towards the students and themselves. Background knowledge of the films that teachers are going to show to the students has to be introduced first so that students will be able to get a clearer view of what they are looking at. Teachers have to educate their students as imaginative and creative as they can. The language of the films will have to be selected based on the proficiency level of the students so that they will have comprehensible input as if they are unable to understand whatever that has been mentioned in the films, they will lost interest in it and soon lost their confidences in that particular subject. Teachers have to take note of the duration of the films because students might find the films very boring if the duration of the films is too long and time will be wasted.
Besides films, the use of Power Points (PPT) is another method that can help in exposing students effectively to the materials that their teachers have prepared. The use of PPT in a classroom can contribute in altering the traditional way of teaching, which is Chalk and Talk, to a more technological method. PPT can be considered as the method which most institutions applied in their teaching. The reasons for PPT to be common in being used in teaching are due to varieties of functions that it has. Things that we can include in PPT are texts, pictures, sounds, computer graphics as well as information that we can obtain through media. These stuffs we can present it through computer. PPT is basically visual aids which are essential for producing excellent oral presentations. Through the use of PPT in a classroom, it helps to make students' presentation visually arousing in the sense that others' attention will be laid on them. Besides that, PPT enables the presenters to link their thoughts to the audience. Covering more topics in lesser time is made possible through the use of PPT by teachers in the classroom. In some situations, visual aids are needed when teachers are facing problems with some topics that can hardly be explained with words and not to mention topics that are time consuming as a long description will be required to understand it. PPT has the function of becoming an instrument that can help to summarize information into keywords, graphs and tables. It has the ability of making a very boring topic into an interesting topic. Before novice teachers are going to use PPT to teach a lesson, they have to prepare themselves by writing a script for it so that they will be able to know what they are supposed to talk about and what kind of knowledge they are to share with their students. They have to organize the script so that the speech for their presentation will be structured. Learning materials can be successfully being taught to students. Students will then be able to obtain knowledge when listening to their friends and teachers' presentation or enhance their creativity while producing their own PPT.
Blended learning is the third multimedia based learning that teachers are able to apply in a classroom. Blended learning is defined as a type of teaching practice whereby it joins two components which are online learning as well as face-to-face teaching together. Clark (2001) mentioned that there are certain methodologies can be conveyed through the combination of interactive as well as social nature of classrooms in the company of self-paced environment. Blended learning can be identified as a model that is currently grow in haste as it is able to provide tremendous help to schools in improving the students' achievement. This learning approach is put in action in different types of methods. For instance, the scope is from models that is about face-to-face interaction through online to models that is about face-to-face classroom lessons is incorporated with online elements that broaden the learning ahead of what has been learned in that particular day. The hasty development of the learning approach functions as a catalyst to make an improvement in flexibility and also in personalizing students' own learning experiences and enable the occurring of pedagogical evolution in teachers' job as a facilitator, a mentor for their students and an instructor. This learning approach is supported by teachers as it can help in enhancing students' learning experiences. Students will still be able to gain knowledge even if it has way past their learning period. Speaking of the learning experiences, Banathy (1968) said that not all learners will be experiencing the same thing. For example, different person needs different level of guidance. Some people might be equipped with the capability to handle complexities but some might not be equipped. Some people will have good achievements in their academic however some might get poor achievement. Through blended learning, teachers will be able to do a better preparation in engaging the next generation learners which is the 21st century students.
The forth method will be none other than the usage of animation. Animation is a type of presentation which is mainly about pictures. Animation can be categorized into three different definitions. The first category is picture. If it is in the form of picture, animation is said to be represented by many pictures. Motion will be the second category which is about animation being portrayed as a noticeable movement. Last but not least, the third category will be simulated. Through drawing, animation, which is made up of objects, is synthetically created. Animation can be used in building up students' awareness in recognizing words and pictures. They will be able to know which words match which pictures. By exposing learning materials in the form of words and pictures, animation will be able to improve students' understanding. By exposing students to On-Screen text in the form of animation, students will manage to understand what they are learning even better. When teachers include both narrations and animations together during the students' learning process, students are said to be able to gain knowledge of what they are learning more easily. Animation is identified to have the ability to enhance learning especially when it requires learners to think deeper than they usually do to get the gist of what they are supposed to know. Learners will be able to use animation to its fullest potential if only if they are exposed to pictures as well as spoken media.
Multimedia Motion CD-ROM, on the other hand, is one of the ways for learners to be exposed to the learning materials that their teachers have prepared for the lessons. Multimedia Motion is more to the teaching of physics whereby the disk contains the examples of laboratory-based experiments like the teaching of momentum and kinetic energy. The students are to watch the contents of the disk to learn more about it. At the same time, the disc plays a role in helping students to boost their motivation up by exposing them to real-life contexts instead of experiments that students have done in school. Students will think this method as a fresh and interesting way to learn especially to those who are used to CD-ROMs' role as entertainments. The disc is said to be providing students with data for them to solve problems which they face and at the same time are related to physics however there are time where students are lacking of enthusiasm to go aboard and face the problems especially when they are needed to do some calculations. The use of disc can contribute to collaborative works among students whether in pair work or in group work.
There is this technology called 'Apple Technology' which contributes in supporting special education students' learning. In most schools nowadays, there is no doubt that there will be a group of special education students who are having disabilities in their sensory as well as learning process. This group of people without doubt is also considered as pillars of our country's future. They can give contribution too like normal people. Thus, education will be given to them. Apple Technology is a type of technology which offers help to provide scaffolding in the students' ability to read and write and has effects during when special education students are engaging with their learning. Apple Technology in this sense comes out with different ways of input and output that are accessible and at the same time aid the learning process of the students. Technologies that can be found in Apple products can benefit special education students. For instance, dyscalculic students who face problem with mathematics can be overcome through the usage of an application called 'Voice Memos' which can be found on an iPhone. 'Voice Memos' enable students to record down what they teachers have mentioned so that they will be able to review it later when they are doing their homework. As for dyslexia students, an application called 'VoiceOver' can be used to help students to read the text for them as they have difficulty with reading and writing. Besides that, the 'Pages application' that is in iMac can be used for students who are unable to write nicely for teachers to read so that they can improve in their writing. The use of iMac is less time-consuming and it enables teachers to get the gist of what their students are writing.
In the nutshell, teachers have to start equipping themselves so that they will be able to follow to the newest global trend in education so that they will not be out-dated and the will be capable of teaching students who are from the 21st century. Students will be starting to fed up with the old traditional way of teaching as the traditional way, like for example chalk and talk, has been used to a long period of time. Teachers are to expose themselves more towards multimedia technologies so that they are able to carry out their lesson technologically so that the lesson plan itself will be something new for the students. They can start with bringing in multimedia stuffs into their lessons to catch students' attention.