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The Future of Learning: Digital Communication

As technology has evolved, so has the way America's students have chosen to communicate.  Text-messaging is now faster and more efficient than a phone call; visiting a friend's digital realm on Facebook or MySpace is akin to visiting the friend's physical house; and YouTube is the place-to-be when it comes to showcasing your digital achievements to the world.  Digital communication is the thread that comprises the fabric of students' lives.  How, then, do educators use digital communication in schools for students to effectively communicate academic standards?  Are America's schools keeping up?


The term "communication" encompasses a large array of definitions, but on the whole communication is the way people express themselves to other people.  Communication can be as simple as telling a friend where you would like to go for lunch, or as detailed as George Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte".  Either way, a message is being communicated, with the receiver of the message deciphering it as he wishes.  Digital communication can then take on numerous instances, from texting, FaceBooking, Googling, Twittering, podcasting, creating a digital story, uploading to YouTube, or creating a PowerPoint.  A message is being delivered, and it is being delivered digitally.


Do schools successfully incorporate aspects of digital communication into its curriculum?  If students rely upon digital communication in their day-to-day lives, certainly educators need to enrich and modify curriculum to successfully relate to 21st century learners.  For this wiki, five graduate students from the University of Illinois CTER program sought to evaluate the levels of digital communication in their respective educational institutions.  Were students digitally communicating as part of their curriculum, and how could digital communication be improved in these schools?  Click on the links below and/or in the sidebar to examine their findings. 

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 Presentation given by Lorikay Sartin, Jimmy Juliano, Ron Folkens, Margie Hay-Ashcraft, and Dave Melone

as testimony to the U.S. Department of Education, December 9, 2008


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