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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Abstract

KLOPPER, Audrey  and  NEL, Carisma. Development and integration of multimedia teaching and learning support material (LTSM) to support reading skills. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2010, vol.50, n.4, pp. 541-558. ISSN 0041-4751.

The Department of Education, educators, parents and various stakeholders are concerned about the literacy levels of learners in South-African schools. Various national and international studies revealed shockingly low levels and underachievement. In 2006 the Department of Education revealed the disturbing fact that 61% of South African learners still cannot read by the end of grade 3. Results of a systemic evaluation that was undertaken in 2007 revealed an alarmingly low average of 36% for literacy. The Department of Education launched various investigations to establish why the levels of reading proficiency for South African learners are so poor. The Foundations for Learning Campaign was one of the responses to address these concerns and an effort to assist teachers in facilitating literacy skills effectively. South African educators are experiencing increased pressure to teach literacy skills (including reading) effectively. It is imperative that effective reading instruction should commence in the foundation phase, where the basis for more advanced skills is established. In order to help learners to become better readers, teachers need support to deal with problems typically experienced in South African classrooms. These problems include large classes, a lack of teaching expertise/ training as well as a lack of resources in many classrooms. The purpose of this study was to describe how recently developed multimedia learning and teaching support material (MLTSM) by means of a digital book disc (DBD) can enhance the reading skills of foundation phase learners. It also describes the benefits of the DBD for the South African school context and the potential it has to enrich and support reading instruction in the foundation phase. The DBD is a form of electronic mobile learning facilitated by a DVD player that can be used as MLTSM. The DBD uses multimedia (written and spoken words, visual illustrations or animation) presented in a mobile format (portable DVD players). According to Mayer's cognitive theory of multimedia learning, the working memory includes both visual and auditory channels and learning is enhanced when both these channels are used during multimedia supported learning activities. The proposed model provides guidelines for the development and integration of MTLSM on a DBD to enable learners to become skilled in reading and writing, while enjoying the process of becoming literate. The DBD focuses on phonemic awareness, word recognition, reading comprehension and fluency as important components of reading instruction. Shared reading instruction activities where learners follow the text and join in when they are able to do so, improves motivation. Stories, poems and songs that relate to the themes (context) in the classroom, are examples of the different kinds of text used on the DBD. Relevant teaching and learning principles that support reading proficiency while using the DBD, are discussed. These include active learner participation, motivation, reinforcement of positive attitudes, self assessment and immediate feedback. The study also demonstrates how relevant learning material that relate to the learner's experience, edutainment and scaffolding can contribute to effective reading instruction. Different multimedia principles that support and enhance reading profi ciency are also explained. The DBD enables the teacher to facilitate enrichment (additional stories) as well as remedial activities, where learners experiencing difficulties/problems, can repeat learning activities according to their individual needs. The differentiated stories allow learners with varying abilities to choose activities that relate to their developmental level providing the appropriate level of challenge. Thematic stories and other reading material can also be produced by individual teachers to enhance the relevancy of the content for the learner's world, experience and interest. The DBD addresses some of the problems typical of South African schools. These include a lack of electricity, educational and developmental resources and qualifi ed/competent teachers. The DBD provides a cost effective, user friendly, yet effective learning and teaching aid that can be used by learners individually, as well as in group context. The low cost of DVD's and DVD players as well as the fact that they can be used with batteries, make them accessible to all learners and teachers. By integrating the DBD in foundation phase classrooms, teachers can facilitate the reading proficiency development of learners.

Keywords : multimedia learning; information and communication technology (ICT); e-learning; early childhood education; foundation phase; DVD; teaching; learning; reading skills; components of reading; literacy; South African schools; multimedia learning and teaching support material (MLTSM).

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