Abstract A surge of interest has been seen in the use of multimedia in educational computer applications. Some researchers examine which particular benefits media provide for students' learning. A different approach looks at students' learning experience while creating their own educational multimedia applications. We present and discuss the results of a project in which seven teams of elementary school students were involved in designing and implementing interactive multimedia resources in science for younger children. We found that students improved significantly in their science understanding and programming skills. While the student teams included many multimedia features in their software, a closer examination of students' individual contributions to the software product revealed that not every aspect of multimedia programming afforded the same type learning opportunities for science and programming. We discuss the benefits and problems of integrating science content with multimedia design and discuss why the quality of dynamic and interactive components in students' multimedia production proved to be a better indicator of students' learning than the quantity of multimedia produced. Furthermore, we address how students' learning experience is also impacted by their conceptions of multimedia users.