A media-infused presentation allows for the development of a disciplined as well as synthesizing mind by presenting a specific topic in depth, from a variety of different angles. It is the diversity of the content that allows the student to gain the required depth to create a disciplined mind. As Gardner (2008) states in 5 Minds for the Future, “In this day of search engines … nearly all required or desired information can be retrieved almost instantaneously.” (p. 37) As educators it is now imperative that we shift from the old ways of teaching, memorization and repeating back facts, to a focus on synthesizing information. By providing students with video, music, graphics and facts, they are able to focus on the connections and the “big ideas” more than just on who did what on this day. To truly target and foster a synthesizing mind, an educator has ask the harder more difficult questions once the information has been presented to the students. However, Gardner (2008) states that in education teachers often “Fail to invoke explicit standards in judging which connections, which integrations, which syntheses are valid, and in which ways they are (or are not) meritorious.” (p. 68)
In the new digital world that students are growing up in, and we are expected to teach in, an emphasis on creating disciplined minds cannot supersede synthesis. Yet, as our schools have been fashioned these two areas are not the focus. Schools are still holding the old strategies of memorization and formalistic responses as the standard for assessing achievement. This is not what is valued in this new modern world. By having students create a disciplined mind through media-infused presentation on broad topics; the students can then synthesize the information. This synthesizing is what schools need to focus on to prepare their students for the future work place. By using media-infused presentations students are able to escape from learning in only one way, and not receiving enough information to make informed decisions. This purposeful approach to education provides students with the foundation necessary to take the next, and most difficult step, synthesis. To this end, I encourage you to view my example of a media-infused presentation, created using a web based program called Prezi.
Gardner, H. (2008). Five minds for the future. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.