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Computers And Overheads Vs. Multimedia In The Classroom

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.116.1 - 1.116.4



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Emil C. Neu

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2220

Computers and Overheads vs. Multimedia in the Classroom

Emil C. Neu Stevens Institute of Technology


In spite of the availability of computer hardware and software of ever increasing sophistication, blackboard and chalk still is the visual aid of choice in most lectures. Reasons for the gap between the availability of technology and its utilization in the classroom, and how this technology can be employed to renew the lecture system are explored.


Nearly twenty years have elapsed since Apple, Radio Shack, and Commodore launched the personal computer revolution by making computers widely available. During this period computers have become increasingly powerful and affordable. Hardware and software innovations are announced with constantly increasing rapidity. While a considerable amount of this technology could be employed to reform the lecture system, most lectures still use blackboard and chalk, with the principal change being in the color of the board. Lectures still consist of the professor speaking and writing while the students dutifully copy every written and spoken word, at the expense of comprehension.

Reasons for the lack of widespread employment of technology are discussed. Methods of overcoming impediments to the use of computers in the classroom are suggested. The desirability of using multimedia systems versus small widely available systems is explored. In addition, pedagogical strategies for effectively using computers in the classroom are studied.

Impediments to the Employment of Technology

There are a variety of reasons that technology is not more widely employed in the classroom. Some of these reasons are related to reluctance on the part of faculty members to change. While a certain amount of this can be attributed to inertia, there are legitimate faculty concerns. Principal among these is the fear that lectures will deteriorate into high-tech displays of the professor’s notes with students assuming a completely passive 5 role . Another is that malfunctioning or poorly performing equipment will focus attention on the equipment rather than on the subject matter. For example, a barely visible projection of a computer display would cause a rapid retreat to the tried and true chalkboard.

The principal impediment to bringing technology into the classroom is not its availability; but rather, its availability in the classroom. An instructor who must carry an overhead projector, a computer, a display panel, or a multimedia system to an other building is unlikely to take the initiative to integrate this equipment into the

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Neu, E. C. (1996, June), Computers And Overheads Vs. Multimedia In The Classroom Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5931

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