Effective Communication

“Effective communication is defined as verbal speech or other methods of relaying information that get a point across. An example of effective communication is when you talk in clear and simple terms.” http://www.yourdictionary.com/effective-communication
 
 "By using words, body language and other nonverbal cues, recipients will be able to understand your thoughts, needs, and wants”. http://learn.uvm.edu/blog-business/improve-communication-skills.
 
Effective communication makes learning easier, helps students achieve goals, increases opportunities for expanded learning, strengthens the connection between student and teacher, and creates an overall positive experience.
 
In the absence of some body language cues and gestures effective communication is vital for delivering digital literacy learning; clear communication is needed between the learner and the tutor for learning to take place. The interaction between student and teacher is the place where the “transaction of knowledge takes place”. 

Technology

When things go wrong

Communication has come a long way in just the last five years, and it continues to evolve as technology and social media evolve.
 
Making a phone call from a dedicated landline was once the most convenient means of communication - you could connect across the country in an instant! Today, you can send text messages, initiate calls, or even transmit video messages all on a single, mobile, handheld device. These changes have impacted not only on businesses but in the classroom.
In the absence of body language sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what the other person means in an online environment without being able to see them or hear them, this can result in flaming.
 
Flaming is the act of posting or sending offensive messages over the Internet. These messages, called "flames," may be posted, eg: within online discussion forums or newsgroups, or sent via e-mail or instant messaging programs. 

Changing Pedagogies

Relationship building is particularly important when delivering digitally literacy. We all want to feel cared for and valued by the significant people in our world. Students are no different. Human beings are naturally social creatures – we crave friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water. So it makes sense that the better our relationships are, the happier and more productive we're going to be.

 

Thompson (1998) says, “The most powerful weapon available to secondary teachers who want to foster a favourable learning climate is a positive relationship with our students”. We all can recall classes in which we did not try very hard because we didn't like our teachers. This should remind us how important it is to have strong, positive relationships with our students.

Relationship Building

Pedagogies are being re-thought as learning how to learn becomes paramount in inquiry learning and problem solving. The trend is towards the “flipped classroom” where “fact learning” is relegated to independent work on the part of the learners and frequently accessed electronically, the lecture-style of transmission learning is eliminated, and classrooms become hives of activity, exploration, application, discussion, reflection, and collaboration. 

We all have different personalities, wants and needs and different ways of showing our emotions. EI is the ability to recognise and understand our emotions and reactions. Learners are encouraged to reflect on and think about the initial and long term impact of sharing information online on their own (self-awareness) and others’ wellbeing (empathy).

 

We need to manage, control and adapt our emotions, mood, reactions and responses (self-management). Learners with high emotional intelligence are able to regulate themselves online and stay in control. These individuals, even though motivated individuals, are unlikely to rush headlong into writing hasty online comments or let their anger take over online. They have good social skills and are typically team players.

Emotional Intelligence

Building Relationships

Learners should be given the opportunity to get to know each other. Building better relationships involves interacting with those around you; sharing your knowledge and experiences. As you build relationships, chances are those around you will benefit from your experiences and knowledge.
 
In a digital environment learners build relationships by following a basic set of rules, demonstrating appropriate digital etiquette. It's just as important to treat people with courtesy and respect online as it is in real life.
 
Our learners should responsibly communicate with digital users using a range of platforms but know how to recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct, and most importantly know how to report concerns.

How Wikis work?

The most famous wiki is Wikipedia, a massive online encyclopedia with more than a million articles. It is so popular that it is now one of the Top 100 web sites in the world!

 

When you come to a wiki, you are able to read what the wiki's community has written. You are able to edit the article's text collaborating asynchronously. Most of the wiki hosting platforms are for free; it encourages non-technical users to participate.

 

Teachers can use a wiki as an online resource platform where they can share numerous links relevant to the current lesson topic. Students can write summaries on a wiki for every lesson they’ve learnt. By reviewing them, teachers can assess students’ performance and design individual learning plans. However there are some concerns as students can be distracted easily, it also takes a lot of time and effort to manage the quality of the site and it can lead to sloppy writing similar to email or text messaging.

A blog is a lot like an online journal or diary:

  • Normally a single page of entries.
  • Organised in reverse-chronological order, from most recent entry to least recent.
  • A blog is normally public - the whole world can see it.
  • The entries in a blog usually come from a single author, although some blogs ask for others' vews. 

It’s worth remembering that whatever you publish is available for everyone to see.

  • If you write a post in anger you might regret it later.
  • Personal blogs may be biased or contain inaccurate information
  • Blogs can be time consuming.
  • People may leave rude or inappropriate comments.

It may seem somewhat daunting at first when considering the perceived technical skills involved but using blogs in the classroom can be very rewarding. Blogging can improve students’ writing skills (as well grammar and spelling) and build their confidence as writers. By blogging, students can take ownership of their writing, become better observers of others’ writing, and develop a more immediate and powerful understanding of an audience. 

 

What are blogs?

Facebook is the most popular social networking site of all time. Within six years, Facebook has experienced dramatic growth - it has reached more than a billion users and is still growing rapidly.
 
  1. Facebook is the most convenient tool for finding old buddies and keeping friendships alive. 
  2. Facebook provides the opportunity to easily communicate with your old friends and keep up-to-date one what they're doing. It's fun to see their photos from around the world!
  3. Facebook now also offers you an email address, another handy feature. These email works just like Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, and Hotmail, allowing you to send and receive email with users both within and outside of the site. 

However, while the social media site can be very useful, some of the main disadvantages of this site are:

  1. Facebook is addictive. For some people, Facebook can be as habit-forming as cigarettes! 
  2. There are fake profiles and IDs. Now it is easier to create fake profiles using stolen pictures. People often use fake profiles to insult or harass someone they don't like.Teen girls are the most vulnerable to these activities.
  3. There are plenty of groups and fan pages out there that condone extremist, unaccepting points of view.

In the classroom there are some advantages:

  • Social media sites can increase student collaboration
  • Using social media in the classroom can encourage more participation
  • Social media sites can be useful for homework help
  • Share resources quickly when using social media in the classroom
  • Social media helps keep parents, teachers and students all on the same page
Conversely there are some disadvantages:
  • Social media can be a distraction in class
  • Improper use of social media in the classroom
  • Posting inappropriate content on social media websites
  • Using social media in the classroom can detract from human interaction
  • Cyber bullying on social media websites

There are many pros and cons of using social media in the classroom, so should the college allow the use of social media?  If policed well and through lots of discussion the college will be able to embrace the positive aspects social media has to offer education and at the same time help prevent the negative aspects from being an issue.

Social Media - Facebook

 References: