Pacific Resources for Education and Learning Multimedia Strategies


Computers and technology provide several distinct advantages for non-mainstream learners. Computer-based technologies provide a medium that students can engage in and interact with at their own level and speed. Multimedia projects created on the computer bring together graphics, video, audio, and text, providing students a variety of ways in which they can express themselves creatively.

A multimedia project is defined as one that brings together information in a variety of formats. Software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, HyperStudio, iMovie, and MovieMaker allow for multimedia program planning and development. Multimedia projects promote students' engagement in authentic, real world learning, resulting in greater retention and in the development of higher order thinking skills.

Technology-based projects allow English as a second language (ESL) students to draw on their cultural strengths and background experiences, which may otherwise go unnoticed. Creative projects incorporating visual and aural media address different learning styles and modalities. By constructing knowledge, students become active learners, researchers, and producers and can take pride in their end results.

Technology facilitates project-based learning, allowing students to integrate the content of different subject areas and establish connections to life outside the classroom. A well-developed multimedia project provides avenues for teachers to delve into their students’ background experience and to draw on the knowledge of these students’ families and communities. The process of creating such projects gives students the opportunity to stretch their imaginations and reach for the words to express themselves, providing an enjoyable and interactive way to achieve language learning goals.

Sample projects are in QuickTime format. They will play automatically on Macs with QuickTime Player 5.0 and above. Windows PC users can download the free QuickTime Player.

Digital Books
Digital Books

Creating a digital book engages students at many levels, developing the critical language arts skills of writing and oral communication. This project starts with digital photos taken from the pages of children’s books. Pictures that speak to the children are often chosen, including ones that have themes or characters students can relate to. These photos are used as prompts for students to create their own stories. The digital photos are inserted and sequenced in PowerPoint or iMovie software.

The process of creating a digital book includes going over the elements of a story, choosing pictures, collaborating with a group to decide on the narrative and dialogue, and creating the story on the computer.

Download Digital Book Lesson Plan (80K PDF file)

Ri Majol PowerPoint Slide Show
Ri Majol

PowerPoint Slide Show

(Konawaena High School)

Ke Keiki Mehameha Quicktime Version
Ke Keiki Mehameha

Quicktime Version
File Size: 2.1M
Duration: 1'15

(West Hawaii district teacher training workshop)

    The illustrations in these sample projects were used with permission of the publisher, Children’s Book Press, San Francisco, CA. From the book "Friends from the Other Side/Amigos del Otro Lado." Art copyright © 1993 by Consuelo Méndez

What's My Story?
What's My Story?

The What's My Story? digital storytelling unit taps into the knowledge ESL children bring from their home cultures. Students are encouraged to bring in pictures from home, download pictures about their cultures, and develop a narrative about some aspect of who they are.

The activity can be made appropriate for all grade levels. For younger students, prompts about what to discuss can be provided on index cards. Older students can be asked to address more complex topics about their cultures and their memories or values.

Download What's My Story? Lesson Plan (72K PDF file)

Fa'a Samoa: My Culture PowerPoint Slide Show
Fa'a Samoa:
My Culture

Slide Show

(Kealakehe Intermediate School)

My Culture Quicktime Version
My Culture

File Size: 2.7M
Duration: 1'57

(Konawaena Middle School)

Show and Tell
Show and Tell

Show and Tell allows students to develop vocabulary using simple things in their surroundings as prompts.

The "Counting Numbers" movie shows a group project done by 1st and 2nd graders. Each student chose a number, found items to represent this number, and had a digital picture taken of themselves with their items. They recorded themselves saying and spelling the number on the computer. This activity is especially useful for younger children as it involves several creative and interactive tasks to teach basic concepts.

Content for this activity can be varied to address a variety of concepts. The main aspects of the activity are picking a theme, taking digital photos to support this theme, and letting students sequence and narrate something about the pictures they chose. This activity can be tied to content or units being studied in different subject areas.

The second sample movie illustrates a creative use of iMovie. The teacher used iMovie's text function to write key phrases an ESL student was learning to say. In the sample project (Kenzie), the student narrated these phrases into the computer in his own voice, providing speaking practice, as well as the powerful reinforcement of written language with oral communication.

Counting Numbers Quicktime Version
Counting Numbers

QuickTime Version
File Size 2,1M
Duration: 1'57

(Waikoloa Elementary School)

Kenzie Quicktime Version

File Size: 456K
Duration: 0'39

(Holualoa Elementary School)

Public Service Announcements
Public Service Announcements

The production of short public service announcements (PSAs) allows students to express themselves in ways that are relevant to them.

The sample projects showcase two groups of students who picked issues important to them and created short videos. One group chose acceptance or inclusion, while the other group chose the topic of discrimination.

Before planning their own PSAs, the students watched examples made by other students, discussed the elements of a PSA, and worked in teams to storyboard their project ideas. They then gathered the resources needed to create these projects. Students took all the digital photos and video, wrote the narration, and edited the PSAs on their own. (These projects were created during a two-day workshop.)

Flash Girls Quicktime Version
Flash Girls

File Size: 3.7M
Duration: 2'15

(Konawaena High School)

Discrimination Quicktime Version


File Size: 2.7M
Duration: 1'40

(Konawaena High School)

High School Civics Project
High School Civics Project

Students can use iMovie to explore themes related to topics they are studying in different subject areas. The samples in this section illustrate the work of high school students at Honokaa High School in Hawaii.

The students were studying the United States’ Bill of Rights in social studies. For their iMovie projects, students were asked to find out what rights people have in their home countries and to discuss their own concepts of human rights. Students enjoyed researching the project using the Internet and downloading pictures. The project helped the students to better understand the topic they were studying in social studies.

This sort of comparative theme-based project can be assigned to enhance social studies and science units. By finding ways to connect the concepts studied in class to the backgrounds or interests of students, these projects give ESL students a chance to better grasp the complex and potentially abstract concepts they are studying in class.

Download Comparative Unit Lesson Plan (64K PDF file)

The Government & The People by Jackson Quicktime Version

The Government & The People
by Jackson

File Size:1.7M

(Honokaa High

Mourr Im Manit: Life and Culture by Betesia and Marmina Quicktime Version

Mour Im Manit: Life and Culture
Betesia & Parmina

File Size 2M

(Honokaa High School)

All the sample projects depicted above were created by students in K-12 schools in the West Hawaii District (Big Island) as part of an ongoing project of the West Hawaii ESLL Program.

For more information on this work, contact




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