Make your own free website on

Created By: Kienna Knowles

Course: EDUC 6625-005 Managing Change: Technology, Leadership, and a Vision for the Future

Course Instructor: Rachel Bordelon, Ph.D.

Technology Standard 5: Productivity and Professional Practice

Program Outcome: S5.4: Use technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, parents, and the larger community to nurture student learning.

Rationale: The use technology to support student learning also involves using technology to facilitate and monitor communication with students, parents, and colleagues. In the following document supports the use of technology and digital tools as a method for communication and collaboration. This learner supports that , technology has changed how people communicate both personally and professionally. Thus it is only nature that these changes be exhibited in today's schools. Communicating using digit tools communicate allows educations to communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and colleagues using a variety of digital-age media and formats.More importantly, using technology to communicate enables teachers to exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

Title: Communication Tools: A Learning Environment For Today’s Students

New communication tools are fundamentally altering the way our society reads the news, expresses creativity, socializes, shops and learns (Baker & Lund, 1997). If the school is the microcosm that prepares students for citizenship in diverse and increasingly globalize democracy, stakeholders (including students, administrators, parents and educators) should take the lead in utilizing these new communication tools for learning. Dr. Thornburg (1998) shares several technology characteristics that are influencing students on a day to day basis. Particularly, this learner supports Thornburg’s theory that many students use technology as a tool of connection rather than isolation (Laureate Education 2004). With this in mind, today’s educators must provide learning opportunities that build on productivity tools that enhance communication.  

The plethora of tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, social bookmarking, streaming, YouTube, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, etc. form the basis of new approaches for interacting with learners and information (Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002 ). According to (Levin & Arafeh, 2002) the Internet is not a network of computers it is a network of people. The new technologies are increasingly focused on connecting people. Thus it is important for students to create connections and develop their own networks - with other learners, with content, with teachers/mentors (Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002). It is equally important for educators to create connections and develop their own networks as well. However, it is most important, that educators develop lessons that enable students to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts and other audiences using telecommunications and media technologies (Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002). 

Lessons that build on productivity tools enable learners at any grade level to use technology as a means of communication not just isolation (Laureate Education, 2004). Often in this learners classes, technology tools for communication are incorporated into lessons. From online discussion groups (via charts or blogs) to video conferencing, to a interactive science fair web site (similar to myspace or facebook), this learner enables students to freely and safely use technology communication tools in the classroom.  

Online discussions, video conferencing and interactive web sites allow students to use telecommunications efficiently and effectively to access remote information and communicate with others in support of facilitated and independent learning (Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002). Student can communicate independently via e-mail, Internet, and/or video conference with people in a remote location. For instance, during the recent school year, this learner’s students participated in four video conferences with surgeons and other doctors while they performed various procedures. As well, students created an interactive web site which allowed them to use technology tools for individual and collaborative writing, communication and publishing activities to create curricular related products for audiences inside and outside the classroom.

By implementing various productivity tools (like online discussions, video conferencing and interactive web sites) this educator’s students are able to collaboratively use telecommunications and online resources to enhance learning (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002). Specifically students are able to:  

• Request collaborative exchanges among people in local and/or remote locations (e.g., e-mail, online discussions, Web environments) (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002).

• Communicate electronically to collaborate with experts, peers and others to analyze data and/or develop an academic product (e.g., e-mail, discussion group, videoconferencing) (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002).

• Present an academic product to share data and/or solutions (e.g., Web site, multimedia presentation, video) (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002).

• Using criteria for research in Standard 5, create an end product (e.g., multimedia presentation, publication, Web page) to disseminate the information (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002).

• Manage and communicate personal and professional information utilizing technology tools and resources (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002).

• Contribute digitized material (e.g., video interviews, scanned pictures, text, and graphic information) to a project archive and create links to resource material (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002).

• Conduct e-mail interviews with content experts (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002).

• Consider several methods and choose the best for building group collaboration in research, communication and presentation among students in physically separated schools (Thornburg, 1998; Baker & Lund, 1997 and Levin & Arafeh, 2002).  

Technology has had an effect on how people live, communicate, and learn. Barriers of time and place are tumbling as technology offers new choices and opportunities for students and educators. Thornburg refers to students as digital natives and teachers as digital immigrants (Thornburg, 1998 and Laureate Education 2004). This suggest that students in today’s classrooms are technology savvy and use technology in virtually all aspects of their lives. Thus, educators must begin to incorporate technology productivity tools in their lessons. The exponential rate of technological advances demands that educators and school districts prepare students for the future with the 21st century skills to access and evaluation information from a variety of digital sources (Thornburg, 1998 and Laureate Education 2004).  


Baker, M. & Lund, K. (1997) Promoting reflective interactions in a computer-supported collaborative learning environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. Vol. 13, p175-193.

Barros, B & Verdejo, M. F. (2000). Analysing student interaction processes in order to improve collaboration. The degree approach;. Intell. Education. Vol. 11, p221 241, 21p.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2004). Technology, Leadership and a Vision for the Future. [Video recording]. Los Angeles: Author.

Levin, D., & Arafeh, S. (2002). The schooling of Internet-savvy students. In The Digital Disconnect: The widening gap between Internet-savvy students and their schools (Part II). Retrieved 07/18/08, from

Thornburg, D. D. (1996). Putting the Web to work: Transforming education for the next century. San Carlos, CA: Starsong Publications.