During the Flat Classroom book club discussion last week (recording available soon), we talked about communication. As we did so, it struck me how, in the 21st century, communication can happen in so many different ways. I mean, just think about all the ways we can communicate today that we couldn’t just 15 years ago. There are words for communication methods (Skype, blog, tweet, etc.) that didn’t even exist until fairly recently. So, as teachers in this “new” (and still rapidly evolving) world of communication, what are we to do?

I’m of the belief that we have a responsibility to the students to prepare them for lives as functional citizens. Not only does this include traditional topics such as reading, writing, and math, but we’re also responsible for teaching them how to communicate, create, collaborate, connect and all the other demands that will be placed upon them in the digital world that lays before them.

In  a nutshell, I think it’s our job as educators to TEACH. Not exactly revolutionary, but bear with me…

It’s our job to teach students to communicate digitally…via Skype, backchannel, blog, wiki, facebook, twitter, etc. If we model proper communication techniques, and support them in developing their own over the course of their K-12 career, they will certainly be well prepared for the world that awaits them. Just like reading, writing, and math, if we DON’T teach them, how will they learn it? When we ask kids to figure out the complex nature of 21st century communication techniques on their own, we are setting them up for failure.

So, as an educator, how are you working to show students how to communicate effectively? What opportunities are you providing them to practice this essential skill?

The conversations during these book club meetings keep getting better and better. Join us this Sunday at 6 a.m. Eastern time to talk about Chapter 5: Citizenship. I can’t wait. (Click HERE to see what time that is in your neck of the woods.)

Image Credit: FlickrCC http://www.flickr.com/photos/67945918@N00/4954202744

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