The DeHavilland Blog

Monday, October 10, 2005

New communication tools for teachers

I believe that one of the problems facing education today is a communications problem - that there is a thick fog between schools and their stakeholders through which communications are halting and infrequent (something akin to the fog of war). So it's always nice to see educators finding ways to improve communications with the rest of the world.

The Portsmouth Herald offers a story entitled "Internet builds bridges between school and home" (link
here) that highlights the use of websites by teachers in their attempts to improve communication with students and parents. Different schools have achieved different levels of sophistication: some teachers are simply posting basic static information (requirements for papers, syllabi, school calendars and the like), while others are operating at a more advanced level with password-protected areas, access to grade information, links to chatrooms and other online learning resources. Implementation rates are mixed: in some schools participation is mandatory and in others it's optional.

It's worth noting that this is happening in the same area as a prominent ubiquitous computing initiative. The Portsmouth Herald serves New Hampshire and the lower part of Maine, and Maine was one of the first states to launch a 1-to-1 laptop initiative whereby every 7th and 8th grader in the state receives a laptop from their school. (Information on that initiative
here.)

This may be overreaching, but one would logically expect to see a correlation between the widespread availability of computers and an increased application of practical uses of that technology, right? Regardless, it's great to see schools leveraging technology towards a practical and productive end: clearing away the communications fog and strengthening relationships with parents and students.

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