We all know the advancement technology has made in the educational field–we all are a part of it!–and the potential it has to revolutionize the traditional method of “learning”. Interactive media is a category of mediums set to give some power over to the students. Interactive media consists of a plethora of different ideas and concepts. It can be something as simple as creating a PowerPoint with audio/comments that ask questions and reinforces main ideas, and then handing it over to a student to go through it with the class. In contrast, it could be something more complex such as a 3D animation of the human body’s internal organs and the effect certain diseases have on it.

This new technology-based style of teaching has expanded over the years. KhanAcademy is an example of proof of this. They create free, instructional videos for multiple subjects, and they have now grown to the point where they are the primary focal point of classrooms in some schools. Not only can interactive media such as video lectures/teachings help educate and tutor students here, but it also brings education to places that do not have open access to proper schools or teachers.

There are many villages in Africa that have charity-sponsored computers and schools, but oftentimes the teachers there are not very educated themselves. In some of these villages, KhanAcademy replaces traditional teaching and allows children and adults to learn about whatever they want–for free. Even here in the United States, there are some classrooms that primarily use KhanAcademy’s instructional videos. Nowadays, even Ivy-League universities release video lectures on their website for free. Well, what’s the point of having a teacher then? It seems like the videos are doing all the work. However, that is not the case; while the videos help educate students at their own pace, even they are limited in their interactive ability. If a student still cannot understand a concept, or has trouble with some questions, then that is where the teacher comes in. The teacher remains the focal point of the classroom because only they can give one-on-one or group instruction.

They say that the best way to truly know if you have learned something is to teach someone else. Interactive media provides a balance between instructional learning directly from a teacher and intuitive learning from a student. A lot of teachers believe that interactive media is just something to “spice up” the classroom, but it can be a valuable and indispensable tool that can help students learn and think critically. Because it is interactive, students have to start analyzing and thinking about the concept at hand, such as why x=2 or why Gram-negative bacteria are resistant to penicillin. Interactive media blends together the ‘what’, the ‘why’, and the ‘how’ in a very creative and unique method to impart knowledge in students and faculty alike.

Anand Shah