Fact: We have lived through several revolutions. The one in which we currently live should be dubbed the communication revolution. Today, we have more ways of communicating than ever before and at speeds that even a few years ago would seem ludicrous.
Think about all the different forms of communication. Now imagine a traditional classroom, and ask yourself, What ways is information communicated?
The stark contrast between what and how students learn in a traditional classroom environment and the 21st century possibilities becomes strikingly evident. As educational leaders, it is our responsibility to learn about, utilize and convey our knowledge of the various modes of information communication to our teachers. After all, what is communication? Information!
Many educational leaders and their teachers may struggle with envisioning ways in which technology can be implemented into their instruction. Below is a sampling of some of the most powerful ways and ideas that teachers can incorporate 21st century communication into their teaching. Fear not... students are already familiar, comfortable and capable of using these forms of technology... another reason why educators must open their minds to information communication.
Twitter- WOW! This is a powerful technology! We just installed Tweetdeck on every single computer in my district. Why not have your teachers start to “follow” experts in their area of focus?
RSS- Have the news come to you by using RSS aggregators like Netvibes, iGoogle, or Pageflakes.
Skype- If you cannot afford a huge Polycom videoconferencing unit, then you can probably do a lot of the same things by using Skype or Ichat and using a $40 camera.
Wikis-An asynchronous and/or synchronous way of communicating and collaborating information.
Blogs- Have your students comment AND post.
Social Networking- Change the word “Social” to “Academic” networking, which is what we are doing in Ramapo Central. It is really starting to take off. We use a site called Saywire that provides a safe learning environment and teaches students to use social networking to their advantage.
Mogulus, Ustream- These are ways of streaming video like a live or recorded TV show of a class.
This being said, the first challenge for you as an educational leader is providing opportunities for professional development so your staff can learn about how to use these tools effectively. The second challenge is making sure that these ways of communicating information become customary in the classroom. As you begin to plan for the 2009 - 2010 school year, let this subject be your guide for your district’s and individual school’s goals. The students will thank you for it!
The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.