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: 





Participate 1 – Ideal Digital Learning Communities

This is Third post in a series for Participate Module of the Georgia Online Teacher Training.  In the first two posts, we explored Character Traits of an Exemplary Digital Citizen (EDC) and Joining an ideal Digital Learning Community (DLC).   The goal of this post is to consider following questions regarding an ideal digital learning community:

  1. What would be needed to create an ideal digital learning community?
  2. What would be needed to bring such a vision to fruition?
  3. What can one do to make an existing DLC more attractive to and welcoming for students and teachers?


An ideal DLC will be reputable and knowledgeable,  geared toward specific content and will provide constructive feedback to the learners in a timely manner.  It will come to fruition by having interconnectedness among connected educators, empowered students & adherence to guidelines and laws of the community.  The ideal DLC needs exemplary digital citizens united by a common goal.  By providing excellent service at no cost to the students, following national guidelines for the content and the helping its members with well designed personal learning network, the ideal DLC will be attractive to & welcoming to the stakeholders.  Khan Academy and Google Educator Groups are two of the examples of ideal DLC serving needs of  students and educators respectively.  

Ideal DLC is interconnected

Lets us break down each of the components of this interconnected community.


The Connected Educators will have a well developed personal learning network which they will broaden to be the best version of themselves.

  • They are student-centered educators. They will have content mastery, global perspective & empathy for their students. They will be firm & fair; will hold their students to highest expectations & provide students necessary tools to succeed.
  • They will have through knowledge of  state and national standards for the subject & grade bands they are teaching.
  • They will continue professional development via collaborations with colleagues from same building as well as from across the globe. They will seek out the opportunities & mentors as well as will be willing to mentor other educators & and students alike.


Empowered students will be provided with well constructed resources, accurate material and an easy access to the content.

  • They will be given clear guidelines & goals for the content being studied.  The education will be tailored a student’s needs.  Hands-on activities requiring critical thinking skills as well as learning of the fundamentals will be the norm.
  • They will have an opportunity for self-paced, individualized learning as well as collaboration and group work.  The lessons will be for specific topics rather than a broad survey of the content. .
  • They will have access to free digital learning, instant feedback and clearly defined assignments.  They will earn achievement badges and grades as learning is progressed.  


Laws & Clear Guidelines will be be provided for each member of the community. 

  • The guidelines will be based on national standards for the content.  
  • The clearly defined guidelines will allow a learner to know if he needs progress, is continuing learning or have achieved the content mastery. A learner will receive grades and / or awards upon achievements and consequences for noncompliance to the guidelines. 
  • The laws will be aimed to protect the citizens from harm & provide proper credit.  The digital citizen will be expected to know the laws governing the community. 




Participate 1 – Joining a DLC

The goal of this assignment is to explore different Digital Learning Communities (DLC) and join one of the reputable DLC which aligns with my interests. defines digital learning communities as technologically supported environments designed to foster rich instructional and learning experiences.

As an educator who will be charged with teaching tech savvy 21st century learners, I must continue to learn about best practices in classrooms.  Fortunately with advances in technology, we are not limited to continue education classes or conferences to gain knowledge and collaborate with colleagues to better serve our students.  From our kitchen chair we can collaborate, communicate and exchange ideas with peers by joining a digital learning community.  Joining a reputable DLC allows us to work with people with similar interest in safe environment regardless of geographical distance, age or background.

From plethora of available digital communities, choosing one to join is not an easy task.  I decided to explore several DLCs.  My guideline for defining a DLC as reputable is:

  • Safe to use and is available to all students when needed
  • Ability to seamless transition of learning from DLC to classroom environment
  • Opportunity for respectful communication, collaboration & creation
  • Longevity & zero to a limited number of negative reviews
  • Expansion of cultural perspectives & inclusion
  • Scope for wider Personal Learning Network 


Choices! Choices!

Information overload is a side effect of easy access to abundant material.  In order to stay sane & manage my time wisely, it was important to bookmark some of the pages I like & use them as jumping off point.  I based my bookmarking on student-central learning by choosing them from  one or more of following categories: 

Category Example
Hands-on Activity, self-paced Makers, DIY & PBS design Squad
Academic Content Reinforcement & Enrichment Khan Academy MIT Free Online Courses
Cultural Exploration, other voices TED talks, Hindi Kavita & 100 great speeches
Getting tool for Educator Toolbox Continuous everywhere, EdShelf & edublogs
Classroom Tool Desmos
Hobbies Cooking


I have compiled these bookmarks in a Symbaloo below.  Go ahead & click on one of the tiles.  Please note that the Symbaloo does not allow for the tagging and annotation of bookmarks.  At this point, I would like to remind you that the information provided in the links are property of the respective administrator / owner; the views presented on these websites does not represent my views.


Tough Decision to Choose a Reputable DLC

I am going back to classroom after several years.  After scrutinizing several options, I decided to join the edublogs community.  It has tiered accessibility; educators can explore the community at no cost, get a free blog or update it to a pro blog.  With over 4 million members since 2005, it has a reputation for being empowering to the educators.  It is supposed to be safe to use, guided by educator ethics and  International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Teachers (ISTE Standards•T).  As a member of joining this community, I am able to expand my Professional Learning Network and connect with colleagues from different disciplines. e.g., by joining the Educator Personal Blog Challenge, I have added an essential tool,  the digital presence,  in my teacher toolbox, increased  knowledge of  Creative Commons and attributions  & cool tools to use for instruction.  Though I am not in a classroom at the moment, via edublogs community, I am mentoring students from around the world for 100 Word Challenge & Student Blogging Challenge.  I am in process of collaborating with several educators for guest blogging on each other’s sites.  Most impressive advantage of Edublogs is that by providing safe platform, ongoing support, access to class blogs and student blogs,  it empowers teachers to make process of joining a DLC more appealing and easier for students. 



Georgia Online Professional Learning

Are you ready for the New Wave? Personalized Learning


Education is always evolving organically.  We have come a long way from writing on papyrus to using personal learning devices.  The use of iPad, graphing calculators and mobile devices in a classroom is a norm.   Virtual schools are becoming a viable alternative to brick and mortar Schools.  As a result of these changes in instructional delivery, the educators must  keep honing their skills to teach net savvy students. In addition to having content mastery and good classroom management skills, we must be an exemplary digital citizen  and be prepared to deliver the instruction in online environment. 


Sit still = Get Run Over


When I read the above precept, I knew that I can’t be sitting on my laurels; I must continue to equip myself with knowledge so I can serve my students and bring my A-game to classroom.  My quest to become a Proficient  Instructor lead me to the Effective Online teaching course designed by Georgia Virtual Learning and offered by GA Department of Education.  This course is designed to challenge educators to step out of their comfort zone & act as students.  By exploration, research & implementation, I am required to learn, to adapt & to apply the knowledge learned in this class in my own classroom.  Just like students in our classes, while mastering the content of the course,  I will be earning badges as a result of my exploration & achievement in the course.  These badges are: 


GA Online Professional Learning
         Online Professional Learning Quest










Come & join me in my journey of being on other side of the desk, becoming a student once again.


If you choose to use any of my content for your blog or use, please make sure to give the credit to me & link to my post.


Thanks.  Yours in Learning,

Mrs. Trivedi-Ziemba


Georgia Professional Learning Quest image source:

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