Tell A Story Using A Multimedia -Get Generation Z Students' Attention


I chose this TED talk because teacher Tyler DeWitt expressed his frustration and presented the solution- Tell a story. The storytelling motivates his students to learn biology. Having a strong desire for the subject, he managed to mediate it appropriately for the z generation students- using suitable images.


What is the problem Tyler tries to solve?

His students do not want to learn biology.


He asks - why?

Throughout the lecture, he concludes that the ways we present the content to our students affect their desire to learn it.

The content is presented in the textbook through a complex text in scientific language, which requires a very significant effort from the learner.

The learner is not willing to invest (at most, he is ready to memorize without understanding).


And what alternative did Tyler find?

Tell a story using a picture and a verbal text (not printed) that describes it.


Many times experienced teachers discover during practice that a particular way of teaching "works."

Sometimes, such success also has a theoretical side. I want to bring it to you.


Multimedia learning theory informs us of research-based principles for successful teaching and learning.
For example - the Multimedia principle dictates that mediating content through image and text is better than text alone.
The modality principle deepens our understandings by suggesting delivering the text through spoken words and pictures via a visual display.

Dual-channel theory expresses the unique characteristics of human cognition; Processing information in two channels; Visual for images and written text and auditory for spoken words. Mediating multimedia to students burdens the learner's working memory.

Tyler uses these principles when teaching but adds some more to gain students' full attention.


The story that teacher Taylor Dwight tells about the virus is a fascinating detective story in which the facts are not entirely accurate.

Nevertheless, he manages to interest the listeners (middle school students). He also builds a narrative sequence in simple language. He uses visual representations of two types - three-dimensional dolls and schematic drawings on a whiteboard (photographed in his presentation).

The drawings keep a sense of continuity throughout the show, using the same colors, lines, and images. Taylor Dwight synchronizes the story and the illustration shown on the board and adds key phrases written at the bottom of the board.


This synchronization is an example of the continuity principle, which means that learners will benefit if text and the image are presented closely in time and place.


Teacher Tayler DeWitt summed up his cartoon visually and outlined the two ways the virus works,

And only then first introduced his students to the official scientific concepts (virus and bacteria). This way of (segmented) teaching reduces possible rejection by some students that find professional biology concepts intimidating.

The visual summary is another essential way of repeating - not only in words but also in the image.

In conclusion -when Tyler repeats the concepts using the familiar colorful characters of the story (virus and the bacteria), the screen becomes divide. Thus, the screen has two parts (right and left), and the scientific concepts appear together according to the continuity principle, allowing for the reduction of external cognitive load.


A teacher that uses a fascinating story can increase emotional connection. Studies have shown that a personal relationship can promote students' recall scores.


When connecting research to practice and experience, there is a desire to build stories with images that will promote our students' learning.


Well, What prevents us from building presentations and videos for our students to enhance their learning?

1. Lack of suitable and available images that meet all our demands as content and pedagogy experts.

2. Lack of teacher time.

3. Lack of appropriate technical knowledge and equipment.

4. Serious reference to the content of the instruction.

5. Shyness and inability to paint appropriately.


Indeed there are other reasons for our arrest.

So what do you do anyway?


First of all, compose a simple, understandable, continuous story (built-in clear steps) and interesting about your teaching content.

Remember who we work with - this is a generation used to receiving information in massive quantities concisely and accurately and with a combination of text and meaningful and relevant images.

From your experience, you probably know that learners' attention is short. Ten minutes delivery in class in total concentration, and the rest of the time, you do not always get the same ideal conditions (then you should do other things like practice, peer dialogue, e-learning, and other tasks).


Then - find/draw the most appropriate visuals for the story. Finally, make sure to follow the rules written above, using the complete example - the lesson of teacher Taylor Dwight.


Do not be afraid to create a story with humor, share the visuals with the learners, let the learners write the story, and more.


Please check, for yourselves, what succeeded? What was less successful?

Learn from other teachers, share them, teach from the students, and create islands of enthusiasm; your learning content is fantastic.


As usual, I would love to get comments on these ideas here on the blog.


Good luck, 21st-century teachers.

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