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''Ernie Kovacs once said that television is a medium because it is neither rare nor well done.''

As we stand here at the edge of the new millennium, the same can be said for the current state of multimedia. There are thousands of computer programs, millions of Web pages, and countless PowerPoint presentations. And unlike material in books and magazines, the vast majority of these items are untouched by editors. While new media offers an unprecedented means for sharing ideas with the rest of the world, it is also becoming that much harder to stand out from an ever-growing crowd.

That's where effective writing comes in. By planning and focusing what you want to say, you can better connect with your audience, whether you're designing a Web site for your family, or promoting your company's image. This guide is designed to help you effectively use new media to communicate your message with clarity and focus.

Multimedia is media and content that uses a combination of different content forms. The term is used in contrast to media which only use traditional forms of printed or hand-produced material. Multimedia includes a combination of text, audio, still images, animation, video, and interactivity content forms.

Today the use of computers, tablets, phones, projectors has become so extensive that it becomes impossible to imagine a world that existed without all these gadgets. In such a scenario you would certainly expect the teaching and learning process to have progressed beyond the chalk and talk method. The combination of the advances in hardware and software has resulted in enhanced learning facilities. Now one can sit in a classroom or in front of a computer and see images, animations, videos and graphics presented on a screen with music or sounds or can even interact with others in a virtual setting. This is multimedia learning which is developed on the premise that students can learn more deeply from well-designed multi-media materials than from traditional modes of communication. In this unit we will look at the meaning, types, tools and advantages of multimedia in education and see how this has made learning interesting and more meaningful.

Multimedia is usually recorded and played, displayed or accessed by information content processing devices, such as computerized and electronic devices, but can also be part of a live performance. Multimedia also describes electronic media devices used to store and experience multimedia content. DEFINITION

  • Transmission that combine media of communication (text and graphics and sound etc.)
  • Multimedia is media and content that uses a combination of different content forms.
  • The use of different media to convey information; text together with audio, graphics and animation, often packaged on CD-ROM with links to the Internet; of, or relating to this combined use of media; of, or relating to an application that can combine such media into an integrated package


  • . 15,000–13,000 BC—Prehistoric humans paint images on the walls of their caves (including a narrative composition) in the Grotte de Lascaux, France.
  • 3500 BC—The roots of Western music are developed in Mesopotamia. Future artifacts will include an undecipherable song carved in stone (800 BC).
  • 3000 BC—Chinese entertainers use firelight to project silhouettes of puppets onto a screen. Unfortunately for those watching these “shadow plays,” popcorn is still confined to North America.
  • 1834—Charles Babbage conceives the first automatic digital computer, the Analytical Engine. A working model is not built until 1991.
  • 1837—Samuel Morse debuts the telegraph. The invention revolutionizes the transmission of information.
  • 1837—Louis Daguerre invents the daguerreotype, the first practical form of photographic reproduction.
  • 1839—Magazines begin publishing woodcuts and lithographs produced from daguerreotypes.
  • 1877—Thomas Alva Edison invents the Phonograph. He also cuts the first recording, a soulful rendition of “Mary had a Little Lamb.”
  • 1878—Inventors in the U.S. and Germany debut the dynamic microphone.
  • 1898—Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton introduce stop-motion animation in The Humpty Dumpty Circus.
  • 1900—Eastman introduces the Brownie, a one-dollar camera designed for children.
  • 1901—Guglielmo Marconi perfects a wireless radio system that transmits Morse code over the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1912—David Sarnoff, a Marconi wireless operator in New York, receives the SOS from the sinking Titanic.
  • 1938—Speaking of strange visitors from other planets, Superman makes his debut. The Man of Steel (along with Batman and numerous other champions) will first help popularize comic books.
  • 1952—Bwana Devil, the first 3-D film using polarized lenses, is released.
  • 1956—The Picturephone is first tested at Bell Telephone Laboratories.
  • 1959—Debut of the integrated circuit.
  • 1965—IBM introduces the word processor.
  • 1981—MTV debuts.
  • 1981—IBM releases its first PC
  • 1989—British physicist Tim Berners-Lee proposes a global hypertext system, the World Wide Web. During the next few years, he will develop the standards for URL, HTML, and HTTP.
  • 1991—The MP3 digital audio compression format is invented at the Fraunhofer Institute, a German research lab.
  • 1992—MS Windows version 3.1 is released.
  • 1992—Hypertext markup language (HTML), debuts, giving anyone with an interest the tools to build their own Web page.
  • 1993—Mosaic, the first graphical Web browser, is released.
  • 1993—The Internet's first radio station (imaginatively named Internet Talk Radio) begins broadcasting. It uses Mbone (IP Multicast Backbone) technology.
  • 1993—Wired debuts.
  • 1999—Napster debuts, allowing users to download (and share) their favorite MP3s.
  • 1999—RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is officially introduced. The format allows instant syndication of news and other content, and will pave the way for the rapid rise of blogs and podcasts.
  • 2000—Postmodern humans project images on the walls of their pyramids. For one magical night, we all party like it's 1999, and the world really does seem like a smaller place. Unless you went to bed early.
  • 2001—The revolution will be downloaded: Apple introduces iTunes (January) and the iPod (October).


  • Multimedia presentations may be viewed in person on stage, projected, transmitted, or played locally with a media player.
  • A broadcast may be a live or recorded multimedia presentation. Broadcasts and recordings can be either analog or digital electronic media technology.
  • Digital online multimedia may be downloaded or streamed. Streaming multimedia may be live or on-demand.
  • Multimedia games and simulations may be used in a physical environment with special effects, with multiple users in an online network, or locally with an offline computer, game system, or simulator.

  • The various formats of technological or digital multimedia may be intended to enhance the users' experience, for example to make it easier and faster to convey information. Or in entertainment or art, to transcend everyday experience.

  • A lasershow is a live multimedia performance.
  • Enhanced levels of interactivity are made possible by combining multiple forms of media content.
  • Online multimedia is increasingly becoming object-oriented and data-driven, enabling applications with collaborative end-user innovation and personalization on multiple forms of content over time.


Education and training -

A great learning tool, the use of multimedia allows for interactive learning at the users pace. Learning goals can be identified and met before allowing the user to proceed to the next lesson. Training sessions can be transportable on DVD or CD ROM to allow for maximum flexibility. In Education, multimedia is used to produce computer-based training courses (popularly called CBTs) and reference books like encyclopedia and almanacs. A CBT lets the user go through a series of presentations, text about a particular topic, and associated illustrations in various information formats. Edutainment is an informal term used to describe combining education with entertainment, especially multimedia entertainment.

Sales and Marketing -

The use of multimedia at kiosks at trade shows are used to entertain and educate. They can also be programmed with database functions to gather information from participants for future marketing efforts. Businesses design flexible and interactive multimedia presentations to describe their products and services for their sales force as well.

Presentations -

Presentations can be designed so that the presenter can go from one subject to another, based on a client or audience’s interests or feedback. Sometimes a little multimedia eye candy can go a long way towards keeping your audience alert and amused, especially when the content of your presentation is technical.

Displays and Kiosks -

Multimedia can also be used in stores to entertain, educate, engage and market to customers. Whether your customers are standing in line waiting to check out, at a trade show or walking or driving on the street, multimedia can be used to engage, motivate and inspire your potential client to make a purchasing decision.

Entertainment -

Multimedia has been used to give life to virtual reality and game development of all sorts for years. Animation, music, sound, graphics and lots of multimedia programming are used to give life to these two huge industries. In addition, multimedia is heavily used in the entertainment industry, especially to develop special effects in movies and animations. Multimedia games are a popular pastime and are software programs available either as CD-ROMs or online. Some video games also use multimedia features. Multimedia applications that allow users to actively participate instead of just sitting by as passive recipients of information are called Interactive Multimedia.

Creative industries

Creative industries use multimedia for a variety of purposes ranging from fine arts, to entertainment, to commercial art, to journalism, to media and software services provided for any of the industries listed below. An individual multimedia designer may cover the spectrum throughout their career. Request for their skills range from technical, to analytical, to creative.

Mathematical and scientific research

In mathematical and scientific research, multimedia is mainly used for modelling and simulation. For example, a scientist can look at a molecular model of a particular substance and manipulate it to arrive at a new substance. Representative research can be found in journals such as the Journal of Multimedia.


In Medicine, doctors can get trained by looking at a virtual surgery or they can simulate how the human body is affected by diseases spread by viruses and bacteria and then develop techniques to prevent it.