What is Interactive Digital Media?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Digital media is usually considered as a category in contrast to analog media or print media. It refers to electronic media, including audio, video, and other content, that can be stored on a computer. Interactive digital media refers to digital media that invites or accepts feedback from the viewer or listener, such that he or she is not simply a passive audience. Analog media and print media can both be converted to digital media, and either analog or print media can be interactive as well.

Interactive digital media is often accessed through CDs or DVDs.
Interactive digital media is often accessed through CDs or DVDs.

Interactive digital media can be delivered in a variety of formats. It can be accessed through web browsers on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and on sites with user-generated content such as YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr®. It can be accessed on mp3 players through the enormous array of apps available, as well as podcasts.

The Nintendo Wii gaming system is a form of interactive digital media.
The Nintendo Wii gaming system is a form of interactive digital media.

Interactivity can be built into the larger structure of the website, or into settings such as Adobe® Flash® games, Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations, and Adobe® Acrobat® pdf files. In each of these products, it is possible to access sound, video, text, and images. In some websites, it is possible to create, or even co-create digital media through the site.

Interactive digital media can be accessed on MP3 players through apps and podcasts.
Interactive digital media can be accessed on MP3 players through apps and podcasts.

Interactive digital media have an important role in education. They are used in courses for e-learning, as well as in other situations in which the student does not have constant teacher attention and feedback, which is supplied instead through the interactive product. The material may be accessed through a CD-ROM, DVD, download, or online. Interactive educational products also allow a single product to offer differentiated instruction to students at a variety of levels. For example, one student might use hyperlinks to look up vocabulary or background material that another student has already grasped. By providing built-in support that is accessed only if needed, the product can seem "just right" to students of different abilities.

Interactive digital media are not restricted to access through a computer keyboard. The Nintendo® Wii™ and similar devices allow users to interact with provided material in what seems like a 3D environment. The users may hold computer mice, game controllers, remote controls, proprietary devices and/or other controllers that enable them to point and move in order to choose, navigate, or otherwise act in the environment. For the Wii™, the balance board senses motion and weight, allowing additional kinds of interaction with the environment.

Interactive digital media includes content that can be stored and retrieved on a computer or website.
Interactive digital media includes content that can be stored and retrieved on a computer or website.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments

animegal

Interactive digital media has made gaming a lot more fun. I was really excited when the Nintendo Wii came out. With the motion sensitive controllers and balance board you can really challenge yourself both physically and mentally while playing a game.

I love how older people and those with mobility issues are now using this kind of interactive digital media to participate in sports, like bowling, that they normally couldn't do. It is very inspiring and I hope that we will continue to increase how interactive our digital media is so we can all experience new things.

Can anyone think of any other ways interactive digital media is improving and changing the lives of people around us?

Sara007

I love how interactive digital media changed my experience in university. I had a lot of traditional classes that were lecture based, but a few of my more tech savvy professors took it upon themselves to make fun, educational, and completely interactive sites for their courses.

In addition to what we learned in class, you had access to great discussion forums, site links, recommended videos and we even had a few virtual classes in Second Life.

I think that interactive digital media has the potential to bring education to many people at a really affordable price. I think virtual classrooms are an excellent opportunity for student and teachers alike to expand on traditional education.

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