Finding the Why: Part 5-Communication


Communication is the last skill in our 5 part “Finding the Why” series.  Why did we save it for last? Because it is the skill that ties all the others together.  Critical Thinking. Creativity. Collaboration.  To make these work-we MUST be able to communicate our ideas effectively.  Do people understand what we are saying, are we sharing our information with the right audience, are our ideas grounded in research and critical thinking? Not only must we be able to speak to communicate-but we must be able to listen.  Are we hearing or truly listening?  In a world where communication has dwindled down to a host of acronyms & emojis via text messages (BTW, BRB, LOL, ROFL,  CB, DUR, etc) we have to be intentional about our words and our message.

(Anyone want to go watch these folks in action? WOW!)

The Global Digital Citizen has a great article on Communication:

Students must be able to communicate not just with text or speech, but in multiple multimedia formats. They must be able to communicate visually through video and imagery as effectively as they do with text and speech.

Why it’s important: Communication is a broad term that incorporates multi-faceted levels of interaction and imparting information to others. Students love to communicate using technology, and this is an essential part of Media Fluency. But it’s more than just being able to effectively use digital media—it’s about personal interactions as well.

We must remind our students that responsible communication practice puts forth their best representation of who they are as individuals in every relationship and alliance they make in their lives. Whether talking face-to-face, blogging, texting, or creating a visual product, their values and beliefs are defined by how well they communicate with others. Encouraging them to develop and hone every aspect of their communication skills will serve them well in both their personal and professional lives.

Where do I begin with communication in my classroom that addresses these 21st Century Skills? Below is a picture of just a “few” ideas that make communicating and collaborating in the classroom easier.

This is a wheel of the vast amount of tools available for communicating and collaborating with others. There is someting for everyone!

EdTechReview blog has a great post about Enhancing Students’ Communication Skills:

How to Enhance Your Students’ Communication Skills? Does Technology Help?

 Communication skill is an indispensable skill to become successful in 21st century. This skill is required in every part of life. A good communication skill is quality of a well-educated person.
Reading, writing and listening are the three most vital components of communication skills for the students. Well! These three skills sound very common therefore, we usually take them for granted.

Technology also plays very supportive role in enhancing student’s communication skills. Students can enhance both their written and oral communication skill using technology under the sound guidance of their teachers.

Oral Communication and Technology

It has been argued in many instances that technology today is hampering oral communication in students. Belinha S. De Abreu – a media literacy educator writes, “Are students losing their ability to orally communicate because of the amount of technology?  Parents feel that their children are more monosyllabic and teachers are experiencing a lack of word connectivity with students.  With students texting and chatting via symbols and acronyms, there is actually less “talking” happening.

Well! This is the one side of argument. But if you believe that every coin has two aspects then you will agree that technology does have positive impact on oral communication.

Audio Tape/Podcast

The use of audiotape is essential in the oral skills class. For receptive skills development, the tape player or podcasts are the easiest way for students to listen to a variety of speakers on a variety of topics in a variety of genres – dialogues, interviews, lectures, stories, songs, and poems. Learn how to use it in ESL class.

Videotape/Digital Movies/Digital Storytelling

Videotape is a step up from audiotape. First of all, playing prerecorded tapes provides the audiovisual information that helps students observe, understand, and imitate oral communication, from language expressions and sentence structure to lip shape, facial expressions, gestures and distance between speakers, not to mention other cultural, behavioral, and sociological aspects of language.

Language Lab

Another technology that is invaluable for the promotion of listening and speaking skills is the interactive language lab. Because the language lab does many things that benefit oral skills development better than the regular non-tech classroom. For example, in choral repetition drills, students can concentrate on the model (teacher or tape) with far less interference from the voices of classmates, they can concentrate on the sound of their own voice, and they can record both the model and their own voice for later comparison and practice.


You’re probably wondering, what kind of technology is good for students but not so time-consuming for teachers? To get students to do oral assignments that you can hear and assess but don’t respond to orally, assign voicemail homework!


There are numerous apps to build oral communication skills such as:

  • Paper Telephone
  • Voice Thread
  • Voxer
  • Shake-a-phrase
  • WhQuestions

More apps at:

Some of the other great resources that will help you teach oral communication skills:

Debate, discussions and presentations are other ways by which teachers can actually help their students to enhance their oral communication skills. By encouraging your students to participate in debate and discussion on various subjects in the classroom or the seminars, They can actually sharpen their student’s oral communication skills.

Written Communication and Technology

Educators can enhance written communication skills in their students by motivating them to write papers in their own words. They should give more assignment that requires their own thinking and writing skills. Teachers can also conduct writing competition in the classroom or ask them (student) to share their experience or thought about anything.

Technology has significantly impacted the written communication process in terms of both quality and quantity. Middle and high school student writings takes place in different form. They write blogs, update on social media or complete their classroom assignments online. Here, obviously there is no pen and paper but the fluid used for writing is fueled by technology.

In a survey a lot of educators agreed that technology has enhanced student’s writing skills. Technology has facilitated their personal expression and creativity. They can learn more and keep themselves engage through sharing their work to a larger audience or beyond their classroom. Educators agree that there are many instances where it has shown that using tech in writing has actually developed critical thinking, imagination and analysis as well as vocabulary.

Outside of their classes, students most often encounter digital writing—that is, writing created or read on a computer or other Internet-connected device, as defined in Because Digital Writing Matters. Digital writing assignments “match the real world” and give students experience composing “in a form people will actually read. How teachers can make use of technology for writing skill development is by creating a text jointly, through shared documents or wikis, or they can take turns posting on a collective blog.

These websites and apps are popular with tech-savvy teachers who incorporate digital elements into their writing instruction.


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