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In this lesson you will learn about using technology in the classroom to enable and support communication. Vygotsky's Social Development Theory points out the importance of communication to learning.
Constructivist Theory reflects both Social Development Theory and Situated Learning Theory.
Many people believe the capacity for complex symbolic language is a primary characteristic of humans. Computer-mediated communications are communications between two or more people that are mediated by computers and related technologies. Using Media Richness Theory, you can choose the technology that most efficiently accomplishes the goal of the activity.
In general, CMC requires more time to develop relationships than face-to-face communication. Over time, choosing technologies based on their appropriateness, availability, and reliability, will help you develop a repertoire of classroom activities. After reviewing the reading, you should note that the different activity structures present ways to organize communication activities in the three basic communication groupings discussed earlier.
Chat environments, instant messaging, and conferencing technologies are real-time, or synchronous. Electronic appearances, question and answer, as well as impersonations, are most often set up as one-to-group situations. These types of activities can be effectively accomplished with the instructor or a knowledgeable student acting as moderator. Most people think of CMC-facilitated communications as conversing in widely separated places.
As you incorporate some of the activity structures into your classroom, you may want to begin by replicating existing classroom activities.
Different types of communication activities have been used with success in educational settings.
A primary school teacher sharing resources, practical ideas and thoughts on blogging, global collaboration and technology integration. I thought having a class blog would be a bit of fun and a good way to connect with parents. As time has gone on I’ve come to realise that blogging brings many educational benefits. Social Skills and Confidence: While some people may be quick to say that blogging and online social media can inhibit social skills, I see blogging as a terrific starting point. Internet Safety: Everyone will agree that teaching students to be safe online is an important issue. Maths: While using blogging as an avenue for teaching and learning literacy may be more obvious, blogs can also be used for maths. ICT Skills: Blogging assists students to become more ICT literate which is a crucial 21st century skill.
Authentic Audience: In the traditional classroom, the only audience of student work was the teacher and sometimes classmates and parents.
I’ve created a couple of videos with my students in the past to allow them to highlight some of the advantages of having a class blog.
Last year I presented at ISTE in San Diego with my Los Angeles blogging buddy, Linda Yollis. Blogging is a fantastic starting point for introducing technology and collaboration into your classroom.
Additionally, there are so many wonderful online tools out there which have more value when you can embed them in a blog. This entry was posted in Blogging and tagged "educational blogging", benefits, benefits of blogging, Blogging, blogs by Mrs Kathleen Morris. As for putting our full names and location in a blog post, the children do not post their full name although this rule doesn’t apply to adults of course. Our interpretation of YAPPY is to not give out your home address or future plans but all our students have permission to have their first name and school name on our blog. As I talked about in that digital footprint post, there is a fine line between being scared to do anything online and posting too much information. I have just begun to explore blogging with my 6th grade students and have been thrilled with their response. I think it was one your earlier posts on blogging that inspired me to get into classroom blogging.
One thing I have learnt is to not put the year in the URL of the class blog (i used to have sgd2012 in the url) as two years in a row I had to start again. I am a parent, work full time and I’m also a part-time university student, I came across your class blog while doing research for a paper I am writing.
All the best to you and your students, I hope you don’t mind that I will be referencing your blog and the work you do in my paper.
Once again I’d like to say how wonderful your blogs have been, and I hope I can engage my future students in learning, in the same way you have engaged yours.
Tech Tools for TeachersI wrote a free e-newsletter for teachers from 2010-2012 called Tech Tools for Teachers. Department Website College of Education & Human Sciences: Department of Educational Administration Take Us Wherever You Go! Council of Accreditation of Educator Preparation State Regulatory Authorization Check if this degree is recognized in your state. Students need opportunities to use these tools as they interact with new concepts in your class.
Communication is usually an exchange of information that goes back and forth between two or more people. Some technologies that you may use are e-mail, text-based discussions, text-based chat, voice-enabled chats, video recordings, and video conferencing. Language used in social relationships is central to Vygotsky's ideas about intellectual development. Constructivist Theory is influenced by the work of John Dewey, Jerome Brunner, Piaget and others. Therefore, it isn't surprising that there are so many learning theories that have strong communication components. When we communicate face-to-face, we can listen to the speaker's words and voice inflection. In some cases, the intent of the activity includes a significant component of community- or relationship-building.
People in a flame war may write things to each other that they wouldn't dare to say face-to-face.
Also, richer media seems to foster a greater sense of social presence than leaner media types.
The discussion of Media Richness Theory and Social Presence Theory pointed out the importance of choosing technologies that best fit the intended purpose.
You should choose a leaner medium, like e-mail, over a richer medium, like a text-based chat, if your students don't know how to use a text-based chat system.
You may recognize this concept from the second reading for this lesson, the abstract of Virtual Architecture Designing and Directing Curriculum-Based Telecomputing by Judi Harris. This makes them more engaging than e-mail, and raises the degree of social presence the participants feel for each other. One-to-group situations are often done via text-based chat, audio, or video conferencing technologies. The moderator can field questions from the group and select the best questions to ask the presenter.
Becoming aware of these activity structures and knowing their characteristics can help you choose, modify, or adopt those that best fit your plans. It can help certain individuals to practise their skills and transfer them into the “offline world”. Just two examples are our daily use of Clustrmaps and the Our World, Our Numbers blogging project we’re currently involved in. Through blogging, we’re able to incidentally discuss many ICT skills such as keyboard shortcuts, Creative Commons, researching online and troubleshooting.
Blogs provide a much larger audience for student work and an avenue for feedback and self-improvement through commenting. I have found that students really take pride in the work that goes on the blog and want to do their best for their impending audience.
Blogging can help flatten the classroom walls and over the years we have got to know many classes across the world who we call our “blogging buddies”.
Blogging can provide a really diverse learning platform and while it takes a lot of work, the benefits to students definitely outweigh the costs! Because blogging does take work, I find teachers really need to see the benefits to commit the time to it. I am a third year pre service teacher and looking for meaningful ways to integrate ICTs into the classroom. My students are enjoying it and we are definitely experiencing some of the benefits you have described above. Unfortunately, I commented and asked the author to remove the post and they have not done so.
I am currently studying a Bachelor of Education at USQ and am doing a course about using technology in the classroom.


I am new to blogging, and think you brought up some really good points about technology in the classroom.
Learning occurs when students can test, stretch, connect, reflect upon, and assimilate new ideas.
We will review Vygotsky's Social Development Theory, Situated Learning, and Constructivist Theory. Situated Learning Theory holds that learning can't be effectively accomplished in isolation. This theory holds that children internalize learning through an ongoing process of connecting new information to existing ideas. Each theory gives reasons why teachers should design learning environments that offer students a variety of ways to communicate. Specifically, media richness examines the ability of a technology to relay the communicator's message.
Social presence measures the sense of importance that others have of each other in a mediated communication environment.
One of the reasons that this happens is that some communications media isolate the communicators from each other.
This is not to say you always have to choose technologies that your students know how to use. Each type of grouping structure has strengths and weaknesses that you should consider as you adopt them in your classroom.
The instructor may also periodically monitor the activity to ensure that both parties are participating. Such activities make it possible for the group to experience a high degree of social presence for the person who is presenting to them. When setting up this type of activity, it's helpful to have a large format display so that the entire group can see what's happening. Either can be chaotic and confusing if the participants do not follow certain guidelines for using the technology. It may seem odd to have a student using a threaded discussion to discuss topics with students in the same class, but there are reasons for doing so.
Also, you can use the previous activity method as a fall back in case the technology fails. As we move through this information age, some skill with computer-mediated communication is almost as critical as face-to-face communication ability. As you begin to use technology more in your teaching practice, be aware that using the technology in relevant ways is important for your students and for you. I have previously written about how students with ASD and confidence issues can improve their skills here. Reluctant writers wanted to write for a purpose and students were using blogs to purposefully communicate and converse with others. A real sense of classroom community can be developed through blogging and establishing a class identity. We put this short video together with snapshots of our students talking about what they get out of blogging.
In this day and age it would be impracticable not to meet some people you connect with online (I have certainly met plenty) but the children realise it is not something they should do without gaining parent permission. As I have talked about in a previous post, I wonder if having no digital footprint is almost as bad as having a a negative one. I have shared it with some of my colleagues in the hope that they will see that there are benefits to blogging that they hadn’t seen before! I always use blog posts and comments as a tool for explicit teaching of English, although a few typos have still found their way into the published world! Your Youtube videos on the benefits of students blogging is exactly what I was looking for, for one of my assignments.
As an education student, we are constantly discussing bringing technology into the classroom. This lesson will help you better understand why communication is an important learning activity. ZPD distinguishes between a person's ability to solve problems alone and a person's ability to solve problems with someone's help.
Communication is a vital part of this process; children must test their understanding of new concepts by interacting with others.
In addition to learning theories, there are other reasons communication is an important learning activity. While not as common, the language of the communication may also be mediated in some way, such as through a translation system. Knowing the relative richness of different media can help the user select the most efficient or appropriate medium.
Some communication technologies can cause people to forget about the other person involved in the communication.
People may never think they are just communicating with a machine, but some still lose the sense of talking to another person. Using Social Presence Theory will help you design learning activities and choose the most appropriate communications media. There is a growing understanding that old education paradigms are not always going to remain the best paradigms.
Simply put, if your students spend all of their instructional time learning technologies, when will they learn the content? However, you may need to make time for students to learn how to use a technology, perhaps through peer coaching. Don't attempt to use unfamiliar technology in a widespread or high profile application all at once.
It's impractical for a single instructor to attempt to monitor the many messages the two students will share. However, it is more difficult for the presenter to experience much social presence for the individual members of the group.
If you use text-based chat or instant messaging, it's a good idea to have a picture of the presenter displayed for the group to see. Because of this, these types of activities can be a little more difficult to coordinate and synchronize.
As your students become more proficient with technology, and as the technology demonstrates its reliability, you can develop new ways of using technology to facilitate communication. Several learning theories stress the importance of language and communication to cognitive development.
In fact, if you use a technology yourself, you are more likely to find ways that the technology can work for your students. Through being heavily involved in blogging, my class has opportunities almost daily to discuss cyber safety issues and appropriate online behaviours in an authentic setting. Blogging is part of my literacy curriculum so I use blogging to explicitly teach English conventions. A sense of understanding and tolerance develops and students can learn a lot about the world in which they live.
Adults would be wise to use their full names for online professional work in order to build their digital footprint. There are so many things that blogging can be used for and the students I’ve taught enjoy seeing their own work on the blog. I am assuming I will have a lot of control over the project in the beginning, but eventually the children will develop the skills necessary take on more management of their blog, well that is what I am hoping. Of course these rules have gone out the window for me because I team teach and share a blog. We are learning about IPads with apps, the smartboard and other ways to integrate technology in the classroom. This interaction must occur in environments where the learning is tied to the context of a situation. Constructivist learning situations may include Socratic dialogues, discussion groups, problem solving, group task performance and round table sharing sessions.
Among these is the need for communication skills in order to be successful in the work environment. In these situations, communication through intermediaries such as computers is required and this form of communicating is different than face-to-face communication. Therefore, social presence is important to consider as part of a CMC supported educational activity.
For this reason, you should choose the most appropriate technology based on the medium's effectiveness, availability and familiarity. There are other ways of incorporating technology into an activity that don't require you to have technology expertise. Let's consider some of these activity structures in light of what we know about media richness, social presence, and other factors we've discussed. However, e-mail does make it possible for students on opposite sides of the planet to communicate, each in their own time zone.
For example, you'd need richer media if you wanted students to empathize with each other to better understand a different culture or society. However, the instructor can set up reporting requirements to monitor the activity's progress.


Pictures, especially large pictures that show the presenter's face, can raise interest and social presence. Such activities can be done with whole-class participation, using the instructor or knowledgeable student as a moderator. In the book Virtual Architecture Designing and Directing Curriculum-Based Telecomputing, Dr. Blogging is an excellent way to learn about being a responsible member of an online community. Making it possible for these students to communicate with in school classrooms is a very good way to boost their confidence. Finally, it will help you understand how to develop technology-enhanced learning environments to foster communication. This type of learning is often structured as group problem solving, or "anchored instruction." Anchored instruction is a learning activity centered on an interesting problem, story, or situation. Such activities should be designed to help students connect new information to what they already know.
Common forms are individual-to-individual use of e-mail, desktop conferencing, or instant messaging. In other words, richer media should be used when there is room for interpretation in a message. In less dramatic situations, students may fail to write or respond to each other, even if this is the activity's purpose. Knowing that desktop video conferencing might be the best medium for an activity doesn't help if desktop video conferencing is not readily available.
Use the new technology in ways where recovery from failure causes little disruption to the classroom. Knowing someone in a personal way is also a great motivator for students to learn more about the other person's country.
In some cases, the instructor will need to intervene if one of the students fails to engage in the communication process. The technologies that support one-to-many presentations accentuate this characteristic of a one-to-group presentation. The group consisted of a programmer who was creating software and one or two content developers who were using the software. Harris notes that instructors who do this commonly complain that they don't have enough time. There are many ways to use technology to foster environments that facilitate communication. Through scaffolding, the learner externalizes higher cognitive functions with help from someone else. Activities influenced by Situated Learning feature relevant problems that students solve by working together in cooperative groups. Another form is individual-to-group, which may make use of desktop video conferencing or web casting.
Occasionally, students may use the communications medium to attract the instructor's attention, rather than to converse with other students. If your students have already had instruction on developing web pages, for instance, you may substitute website development for a traditional paper assignment.
This kind of activity is also good for helping students practice language skills (Claro que si!). If this happens, it's a good idea to try to develop a way for students to select a new partner on their own.
One-to-many activities are good if there is a high profile individual who is willing to share a message that is important to the members of the group. If there isn't a moderator, and everyone can add to the discussion, the results can be disorganized. Even though they were within 50 feet of each other, and sometimes in the same room, instant messaging was helpful as they tested the software's reliability.
She makes the excellent point that although this may be true, the technology isn't always what takes up the time.
However, it is important to understand that CMC is not the same as face-to-face communication. Still another form is group-to-group, which often uses text-based discussions or multi-user chat technologies. This may be caused by the communicator's low sense of social presence for others in the communication environment.
Educators pride themselves on being experts, often in a particular field or in teaching techniques. Another strategy is to have a backup plan for high-visibility, high-consequence activities. It may be possible for your students to use available technologies to collaborate with individuals in your local area. In many cases, as new technology-enhanced activities are added to the classroom, the instruction changes from teacher-directed to student-centric. In today’s world, it is so important to help students understand about cyber bulling. Learning environments influenced by Social Development Theory bring learners together in purposeful interactions with adults and knowledgeable peers.
If this happens, it's important to try to find ways to raise social presence among the students. Often, educators believe that they must be technology experts to use technology in their teaching. For example, if you're planning on having an important speaker do a web cast, try to have a phone backup and a picture of the presenter on display as he or she talks.
This can maximize the time investment of a busy person willing to participate in this type of activity.
For the activity to be successful, there should be a clear expectation for the interaction.
The media's richness and the degree of social presence that participants feel can help you understand a communication media's characteristics.
Knowledgeable others help less knowledgeable members of the group become full members of the group.
One way of understanding some characteristics of these CMC environments is found in Media Richness Theory.
This information is transmitted in face-to-face encounters through facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. While a certain level of competency is important, it is essential to differentiate between teaching technology and teaching with technology.
For technologies that students use alone or in small groups, develop trouble-solving strategies for students to work on if the problem solving system doesn't work. Often, the transcript (when text-based chat is used) or multimedia resource (when video conferencing is used) can be kept and used for later reference.
For this reason, it's a good idea to help the group establish communication etiquette and develop clear goals for the group collaboration. However, these environments do take more time than traditional instructor-centered learning environments.
Rather, the adult or knowledgeable peer should have a clear idea about what the learner should achieve. In fact, developing these problem-solving strategies cooperatively with a class provides a positive example of proactive problem solving that will benefit students. Reporting is a way of organizing what has been learned by retelling and sharing with others.
Yet, this is a trade-off that many instructors are willing to make as they work to achieve their own best practice. Another type is information about the message that is often conveyed in tone of voice and body language. A media's ability to carry both types of information can have an impact on the social presence experienced by the participants. Also, synchronous as opposed to asynchronous environments can help communicators develop greater degrees of social presence. Normally, all doctoral students will be on campus to present the dissertation proposal and for the final defense of the dissertation study. Courses are offered on the regular semester and summer session schedule of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Summer courses are offered in the pre-session (three weeks) and in a hybrid fashion (time-intensive on campus experiences followed by additional online content) to facilitate on campus residency. Courses are announced in the UNL schedule available online and students register for courses using the University web based enrollment and billing system.
Because this program is designed to prepare you for a scholarly career, you'll be expected to master a scholarly research tradition in a specific area of educational administration and be familiar with both quantitative and qualitative research methods in education. The courses focus on special topics of major interest allowing for extensive interaction with experts in the field.



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