Communicate: Definitions of Communication Quest

posted May 18, 2016, 9:48 AM by Emily Kroutil   [ updated May 22, 2016, 6:14 AM ]
My communication skills have changed drastically as technology has evolved.  When I first got a cell phone, I didn't text because it was too hard to press each number multiple times to try and get each letter.  I also didn't call much because few of my friends had cell phones.  Now, I prefer to text (my sister says, "I text my friends because I don't want to bother them by calling..."), because I'm not a huge fan of talking on the phone.  I hate that awkward time of when you've said what you need to say but feel bad saying you need to get off the phone because you might be perceived as rude.  It's easier to just ask what I need to ask and be done with it.  Having a phone that has a keyboard and then a smart phone has really changed this for me.  Being able to easily text has also made it easier to keep in contact with my husband throughout the day.  We can text each other easily and I can easily receive updates from my mom about how the baby is doing while I'm at work and I can quickly relay these messages to my husband, keeping him in the loop as well.  If I have a question at work, I can quickly text my teaching partner and she can get back to me quickly without having to leave our respective classes (even if the internet is out, which happens quite often).  With my smart phone, I can quickly take a picture of my baby and text it to my husband or my sister or my mom.  My Apple Watch allows me to receive texts and messages without having to keep my phone on me at all times.  It has made me more connected to technology, but at the same time, has freed me from that same technology because I can play with the baby, glance at a text, and go right back to playing with him and I don't have to unlock my phone and possibly get distracted by email or Facebook or whatever.

Facebook has allowed me to keep in contact with relatives that I may not get to see as often.  I can also see friends' kids who live far away.  I love being able to keep in touch with them and see pictures of their little families.  I wouldn't get to interact with these people nearly as often if it weren't for Facebook.

As texting and messaging has increased in prevalence, I've also decreased how much I email my family and friends.  It's much easier to just message them than type out an email.  

In the classroom, email has revolutionized the way I can communicate with parents.  Parents can easily shoot me an email (for better or for worse...) and I can quickly respond to them.  Neither of us has to wait for a parent conference or rely on students to relay messages back and forth.  I can also communicate easily with my students.  They can ask me questions and I can respond.  I also like to send out emails at the beginning of each unit to parents so they can stay up-to-date on what we are doing.  Without email, I wouldn't be able to do this.  Class newsletters aren't really a thing in high school.  Email also lets me have a written record of communication with parents.  This is a convenient form of CYA for me.  I'm sure this will change further.  Just like how teachers can now use Remind101 to send a text to their students instead of an email.

The prevalence of online presences for teachers, whether that is a simple website or a fully-blown LMS experience for students has also changed how students and teachers communicate.  Teachers can post information or videos with students and students can view this content, teachers and students can have discussions online, and teachers can communicate with each other.  All of this interconnectedness is a positive, in my opinion. 

I know I've mentioned my AP Environmental Science (APES) Facebook group before, but I never would get the opportunity to interact with colleagues like this if it weren't for this group.  I am the only APES teacher in my school and one of two APES teachers in my district.  The internet and technology has made it possible for me to feel less like an island when I teach this subject.

I am certain that technology will continue to change the way we communicate with each other.  When my 8 month old goes to Kindergarten, I'm sure his teacher will use methods of communication that I haven't even thought about or maybe haven't even been invented yet.  I can't wait to see this evolution in communication.