Communicate 1 – Communication Definitions


5 Units in GA Online Professional LearningThis post is focused on effects of innovation in technology on communication.  It is one in a series of posts for Georgia Online Professional Learning Course.  You can find similar posts searching under the category Communicate or Searching for hashtag #eteachertool.  


Communication is: 

  1. A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. 
  2. Means of connection between people or places, in particular.
  3. The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.


Communication: Yesterday & Today

How have My individual communication skills changed with the innovations in technology?

I have talked about impact of digital technology on me professionally and personally in the way I communicate across the board in this blog post written for Reflective Writing Club.  In nutshell, innovation in technology has allowed me global connections and continue learning.  The Geographical distance is no longer a barrier against staying connected with family, friends and colleagues. e.g., Because of the social media apps, I am able to talk to and see my parents even when they traveled to India.  I am earning my online teaching certificate, participating in MOOCs, helping texters as volunteer Crisis Counselor and mentoring students from as far as Australia from comforts of my living room couch. 

Innovation in technology is a double edged sword.  While allowing greater global reach, it also robs us of deeper personal connections, encroaches on our time and may be robbing us of our privacy. -Purviben K. Trivedi-Ziemba

On the other hand, now I receive friend requests from not only a colleague or a family member but from random strangers as well as someone I have seen once in my life 30 years ago. Do I want to connect to them?  Do I need to?  Once connected, everyone including me wishes to share some nugget of information they found.  Do I have time to go through all these public sharing?   These superficial communications takes time and effort away from deeper connections that we thrive on.  With net neutrality and deluge of new apps on market, I  have to guard my privacy and time zealously as well.

While innovation in technology has allowed me to rebuild connections which were lost in snail mail era, I have also lost some personal connection because of the instant access.  Rather than meeting in person or picking up phones, now we communicate via texts, emails or online.   Though we have one television in family, at times, everyone is absorbed in their electronic device instead of communicating with one another.    

How have advancements in technology altered classroom communication? Will these change further?

Advancement in technology has radically changed the classroom communications among all stackholders.  e.g., United School District of Marshfield is prides itself on at online integrated education.  Besides, open house at the beginning of the school year, twice yearly parent-teacher meetings, quarterly newsletters and 9 week progress reports via mail,  most other communications  including student registration, paying fees and making appointments for Parent-teacher meetings takes place online.   The school system has provided an iPad as a personal learning devices for each K-12 students and instructors.  Teachers are using Canvas as Learning management system (LMS) and Skyward as student management system (SMS).  Google Classroom and online resources are rapidly replacing paper textbooks and the push is toward going paperless.   Both canvas and Google Classroom, when used efficiently, lets students communicate with their peers via sharing their work with one another, commenting on them and collaborating on projects.

The best measure of effective communication between a teacher and their students is the level of engagement and learning in their classroom. -Purviben K. Trivedi-Ziemba

Communication among students and with Instructor is the key to learning and thriving.  Sharing of the knowledge, assessment of content mastery and assisting students requires open communications in classroom community.  Innovation in technology and diverse needs of student population has forced instructors to change lecture and learn style of communication to hands on learning aimed at differentiating instruction based on student needs.  Today, learning is a fluid experience, the technology is ever changing and we, the educational community, must be ready to match our steps to these changes. Unfortunately, due to time and budgetary constraints, the educator is not always abreast of the changes and the communications- learning- suffers.

Advances in digital technology allows educators from far and wide to collaborate and communicate;  to use peer’s product for our classroom rather than reinventing the proverbial wheel.  Here are some examples of how savvy educators are using technology in classroom to enrich their students’ learning and sharing the resources which others utilize in their on classrooms.

  • Some students find science boring.  Glenn Wolkenfeld, a science teacher is here to help them and peers.  In the YouTube video below, he uses rap to teach mitosis followed by interactive quizzes to solidify the learning.  Teachers can use his Karaoke version to use in their classroom and engage their students. I bet my bottom dollar that students will enjoy learning about cell division using this fun song than just rote memorization.  


  •  Any McNabb  uses Graph Art Project  to differentiated student assessment for basic functions.
  • Jim Sadowska’s Global studies students learn at their own pace about Europe via Amazing Race, an interactive online learning experience.
  • Santha Walters, @Santhawalters uses drones in classroom to teach her 8th grade English students about communication.  Fun and learning does not stop here.  She visited Vicky Davis and shared her knowledge  at Cool Cat Teacher

Communications between Instructor(s) and  Parent / guardian 

  • Educators are sharing syllabus, projects and the feedback / grades on assignments with parents using SMS and/or LMS.  Parents can choose parameters for how and when they will monitor student progress. 
  • Teachers and parents contact each other via emails, phone calls and mobile apps  as well as Canvas notifications or Skyward calendar to stay on the same page for their student.  
  • With Skyward and Canvas, parents can see real time results of student attendance & fees management. 

Communications among Instructor – Administrative staff – colleagues 

  • Better transparency in communication as well as timely intervention aimed at student progress is achieved with use of SMS and LMS  
  • By using electronic communications, the administrative staff can save their time and resources which can be better utilized to serve the students. 

Communications between Instructors & community

  • Due to security concerns and providing students maximum learning time, many school campus are choosing to be closed campus. The instructor communicates with stackholders via blogs, social media and webinars.   Without using identifying information, the instructor can share examples of excellent student work with the community and invite feedback.



Adding More voices to the discourse: 





Impact of Digital Technology

 Digital Technology connects us across languages and geopolitical boundaries


I am participating in Reflective Writing Club facilitated by Michelle Pacansky-Brock.  In this post, I am sharing my reflection on the impact of digital technology.  

How has Digital Technology Impacted me – Professionally and Personally?

To answer that, we need to look at my use of technology as a student and as an educator.

Long Long time ago, as students, we were happy to have an alternative to type writers.  While using 5 1/2 inch floppy drives on apple computers we needed to make sure to save the project on a correct drive or retype the whole 35 pages.  By the time I got my second degree, we had progressed to 3.5 inch discs and were talking about world wide web.  In  computer lab, one of my co-worker was excited about a new program, word, that will make writing easy.  I learned about Lotus in required Computer Application class.  Does anyone remember Lotus?? Or Dos or Dot printing?  Talking about this make me feel like a fossil.  

Chalk boards and projectors were the norm of the day.  We flocked to the reference library for research.  Making copies of reading material was not fun, especially there were 5 people ahead of you and the copy machine broke down.   We actually talked to a human when we needed the information.  During final exam week, the my college libraries stayed open till 11 PM; the larger university had 24 hour services available.  Guest speakers travel to campus and in-person meeting was the way to go.

Fast forward couple years when I started teaching. I used smart board in my class. We still used notebooks.  Textbooks and journals were still hard copy and printers still broke down.  Use of  books on CD allowed my differently able students to view and listen to the material.  We were able to share material with parents via email attachments.  Digital learning has started giving  teachers and students opportunities to explore.  Bringing Discovery Education in classroom anyone?  We connected via in-person conferences within the building or traveled to learn from experts.   Having 3 computers in classroom was considered connected classroom.  


Lets look at expansion of digital technology available to an educator by looking at this Symbaloo I have created for Web Walk about.  Click on a tile which will bring you to its website & explore further.

Now, my kids use personal learning devices and textbooks are being replaced with online resources.  hybrid classrooms, Blended learning and flipped classroom is the norm of the day.  We neither required to physically go to the libraries for research /study groups.nor we are bound by synchronicity or physical location.  Like my 50 colleagues for Reflective Writing Club, a learner can connect with anyone on the world to share ideas and learn from one another.  Digital technology has allowed me to become a global citizen in online communities.  e.g., I can

  • Stay connected to my family and friends. Use Skype, Whatapsp or Face-time video so grandparents can be a continue present in my kids’ life.
  • Add on to my Georgia teaching licence via taking an GA Online Virtual Professional course and completing the requirements.
  • In my role as volunteer Crisis Textline Counselor, help a texter who reaches out to the platform by texting 741741 on their phone and bring them from hot moment to cool calm one via text conversation with them
  • Mentor the participating students across the globe in online challenges.  Mentor participating students from around the world from comfort of my home. 
  • Connect with peers and expand my personal learning network by taking parts in Connected Learning MOOCs, Webinars, online conferences, blog challenges and collaborating with peers online.  Hashtag #CLMOOC, #CCCwrite and #SOL18 to see these connections in action.
  • Avoid reinventing the wheel and learn from other professionals by participating in Twitter chats, connecting on social media platforms and visiting other professional blogs 
  • Use of Learning Management System and resources such as Google classroom for better management of the classroom.  Go ahead and click on tiles of this Symbaloo to see how I use Digital Technology in my personal and professional life.  


Yes, these can not replace in person connection.  Just like anything else, healthy balance of unplugging and use of technology is necessary. We can take care of it by picking up a phone and talking to people, meeting them and attending in-person events.  Some people argue that digital technology hampers personal relationship and easy access to Googling has dulled the need to look deeper when looking for answers. I will say to them that we, the user, decides how much entrenchment of our life we will allow to technology. At the end of the we are the master of our choices. We can still allocate time for reading, hands-on projects and encourage students to write in their hard cover journals.  Yes, the digital technology has opened more doors for me but at the end of the day, I am still same person.


Let me know what do you think of the digital technology?     


The prompt asks:

  • Compare your current professional experiences with your professional experiences at the beginning of your career.
  • Discuss how digital technologies have impacted what you do professionally and how you do it.
  • Has your professional identity shifted at all as a result of the emergence of digital technologies? What about who you interact with and how you interact with them?




Winners & Losers

My father is a very wise man.  He is also very hardworking man who moved to USA in his 40s,  started over in a new country and never complained once. He and my mom forges ahead with a plan till reaching their goal, no matter what.  They believe in doing the work and giving their best in every situation.


His philosophy is good and sound.  But does it work in every situation?

Nah. There is a place for forging ahead and there is a time to fight back for the change.  e.g., If the slaves and abolitionists have not complained and work toward changing the second class citizen treatment of black people, do you think slavery would have been abolished?  Rosa Park stood up for her rights & refused to sit in back of the bus. It took long and hard work by everyone- the freedom singers, the civil rights leaders and people themselves -for all races to be treated equally.  As a direct result of “complaining”, United State elected Barack Obama, the People’s President in 2008 and again in 2012.  

Your thoughts?


Slice of LifeI am writing this post for11th Annual  Slice of Life Story challenge hosted by  Two Writing Teachers .   Durin
g whole month of March, we will share a slice of our lives.  You are invited to join too.