Interactivity

By: Randi Vanderstraeten

Interactivity in software is a concept that requires active participation from the user (Yun, 2007). Users can see interactivity in many different forms. Some forms are making choices and decisions, composing, taking notes, making evaluations and judgements, constructing, drawing, and controlling (Alessi &Trollip, 2001). There are different levels of interactivity in software. Some software offers limited interactivity, and others offer a great amount of interactivity. A good example of limited interactivity is a typical website on the World Wide Web. Users can see and navigate through the web site but they do not have control in creating the content of the site (Yun, 2007). On the other hand, many web discussion forum sites allow users to create their own content, which can be viewed by message writers and other users (Yun, 2007). Wikis and Blogs are a great examples of software that allow users a great amount of interactivity. Yun (2007) states that these sites allow the exchange of messages and permit the building of content among users. It is highly likely that users will feel like they have primary control over the content of the program (Yun, 2007).
This is an example of a classroom blog. This is a great way to incorporate interactivity into the classroom on a daily or weekly basis.
This is an example of a classroom blog. This is a great way to incorporate interactivity into the classroom on a daily or weekly basis.



Literature about Interactivity in Software

This video is a great example of an interactive software that allows students to get involved with their learning. This particular software uses and Interactive Whiteboard but there are many interactive softwares that can be accessed through the World Wide Web.






It seems that interactivity in software is such a great thing for education, so why has it taken so long for this to catch on in classrooms? According to David Kirsch (2008), computer interfaces are rarely interactive because the programs that drive them are rarely intelligent enough to behave as tactic partners. He also states that it is important for educators to be taught how to use the many tools multimedia offers in order to make interactivity possible. Multimedia technology offers instructional designers an unprecedented opportunity to design richly interactive learning environments (Kirsch, 2008).

This is an example of a software that allows the user to interact.
This is an example of a software that allows the user to interact.


Lynn V. Marentette, in her article Reaching Learners: Immersive Education through Interactive Multimedia, states that growing evidence supports immersive approach to education, utilizing multimedia technologies, over traditional classroom environments. Interactive large screen displays support the collaboration of two or more people, and are ideal for visualization, multimedia, and presentation applications (Marentette). In the classroom setting, new interactive technologies support new ways of communication and knowledge sharing, increasing collaboration, motivation, and engaged learning among young people (Marentette). There are so many great things to do with interactive screens and software but some people do not understand the many uses of these new technologies. Marentette states that the most commonly mistaken view about interactive displays is that they function as electronic chalkboards, or giant powerpoint screens, providing a few multimedia bells and whistles to attract attention to key points for a moment or two, while the teacher continues to lecture. Interactive large screen displays support multiple learning and interactive styles and preferences, and are flexible in the ways they can be used (Marentette).


An example of an interactive lesson on an IWB. The children are working together to complete the assignment on the board.
An example of an interactive lesson on an IWB. The children are working together to complete the assignment on the board.

Resources
http://exchange.smarttech.com/search.html - This website is full of different lesson plans that can be used on interactive whiteboards. A great resource for teachers who have access to these white boards but are not comfortable creating lesson plans on them.
References

http://web.ebscohost.com.lib-proxy.fullerton.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=108&sid=f03b2da9-8b00-4112-80f5-0e8f73ab157e%40sessionmgr115&vid=7

http://adrenaline.ucsd.edu/kirsh/articles/interactivity/brock-single.html

http://www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xbcr/infocomm/ReachingLearners.pdf