When I think of communication now in education, I cannot help but remember Martin Dougiamas, because I was so struck to learn of early education. It is a testament to the strength of the will of a boy who was determined to learn. It was asynchronous and synchronous learning pushed to their limits. Every couple of weeks a plane flew over the Australian outback where he lived and dropped school materials. Then he and a few other students talked over a CB radio with a teacher 600 miles away. And we think we face challenges! But then, these challenges were what inspired him to develop Moodle.
Communication in the educational setting is essential, whether that setting is face to face or virtual. Virtually we find that regular, informative, engaging and appropriate to the situation communication is essential. We are fortunate that we have so many tools, tools that did not even exist eleven years ago when I started teaching online.
In the virtual age of education we have begun to speak of stakeholders, just as the business community has for many years. We have come to realize how important it is to inform everyone who has an interest in what is happening in our classrooms. Encouraging students takes a bit more effort for us. We cannot just look up everyday and say, “Good job.” However, the encouragement is still requisite.
The forms of communication are numerous: chats, emails, newsletters, phone calls and live classes online. This brings the need for a heightened awareness of the tone and substance of our communication. A word chatted or emailed or spoken in a recorded live session has a life of its own. We cannot pull it back, so we must think carefully about what we write and say.
Students need to hear when they are doing well and when they are having problems. Parents/guardians need to be regularly update on the course and on student progress. Administrative stakeholders like advisors and tutors need to be kept in the loop. It is our job as teachers to make certain that everyone out there who should be included is in that loop.
There are multitudes of tools, programs, software, images, etc. on the Internet for us to use to create engaging communications. We’ll be looking at more of this later.
Here are the bookmarks: www.diigo.com/list/barbara_ann/Communicate/39n3c0vf4