Media Presentations: Forms & Purpose

Instructor: Millie van der Westhuizen

Millie is currently working in tertiary education, whilst completing her master's degree in English Studies.

In this lesson you will learn about the various forms of media presentations, as well as thinking about how reportage, storytelling, and interviews can be used in the classroom.

Media Presentations in the Classroom

Incorporating media into a classroom environment can complement and enhance more traditional approaches to learning. Many students find media presentations particularly engaging and as such, they motivate greater student interest. In addition, media can assist students in retaining knowledge and can assist you in teaching subject matter through their ability to illustrate the relevance of a particular concept.

When incorporating media presentations into your teaching, it is possible to make use of existing media resources, or to create your own resources in order to ensure relevance to the material being taught. In both cases, the integration of media allows for teachers to transfer expert knowledge more effectively.

As the visual graph below shows, data cited by the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research indicates that students differ in their preferences when it comes to the use of media in the classroom. This highlights the fact that teachers should employ a variety of methods to effectively reach students. It is perhaps valuable to note the dominant preference for multimedia (such as videos/presentations) above media which only communicates using a single mode or channel (e.g. audio/visual).

Example of a visual graphic communicating the findings of a study on modal preferences among learners.
Example of Visual Graph

Types of Media Presentations

The most common form of media presentation is the print message. Although we often don't consider text in the same light as other media, a well-constructed set of notes or questions can do a lot for not only communicating information, but it also represents the most cost effective way of distributing resources that students can revisit after a lesson.

Another common form of media that can be used in the classroom comes in the form of still visual media. These include graphic messages in the form of pictures, drawings and photographs, as well as visual graphics, like tables, charts, maps, and diagrams. These can be useful for communicating a wide variety of topics.

Visual media can be extremely powerful, evoking emotional reactions, aesthetic interest, or providing a quick overview of some quantifiable situation. While some learners might prefer graphic information, it is important to equip students with the necessary skills to analyze and understand information conveyed through visuals. However, still visuals tend to be more limited in the amount of information conveyed than when text is used.

Moving visual media include movies, animation and other videos. When such images are combined with complementary audio, as a form of multimedia, this is known as an audiovisual message. This form of media tends to be very accessible, combining the advantages of both graphics and audio. Viewing an audiovisual presentation, however, is considered a particularly passive activity on the part of the learner.

However, these might be more effective than audio messages in capturing learners' attention. Audio messages include oral media like songs, chants, speeches, as well as instances where stories, poems, or articles are read out loud. Still, audio messages represent an effective way to invite active listening and the formation of mental images based on a specific topic. Compared to text, audio messages represent a more passive learning activity and, since many people read faster than people generally speak, print media is generally able to convey more information in the same time span.


While media is often incorporated into the classroom for the purpose of teaching media literacy or analysis, it is also possible to incorporate media in teaching other content. While the purpose of using media varies, let's consider how reportage, storytelling, and interviews can be used in the classroom.

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