How can you make email work for you?

Friday, February 24th, 2012 | communication | Comments Off

Are you swamped by emails?  Wonderful as this means of communication is, it can become a burden to wade through stacks of them.  Here are a few tips to help you thrive and survive in the cyber world:

Unsubscribe to those newsletters you don’t read.

Don’t even open junk-mail  items – make a habit of simply deleting them.

Handle a piece of email only once: read it, treat it and trash it; don’t leave it for another time.

If you are the target (victim) of recycled jokes and other emails sent to you by friends and relatives with long mailing lists, ask them kindly to remove your name from their lists – tell them to send those items they feel would be of particular interest to you in a private email.

If you’re inundated with emails, try standing while attending to them; it prevents you from being too leisurely about the task.

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Communication trends

Saturday, February 5th, 2011 | communication | 13 Comments

Technology accelerated the pace of globalization – the result is a much smaller world, they say.  The advance of technology made travel easier and communication faster, so that the illusion of a smaller globe is created.

It seems as if technology, while making communication easier and faster, also has other effects on the way we communicate.

“Can I send you an e-mail,” one person asked.

“No, rather text me – I will get to it quicker than to my e-mail,” another replied.

The e-mail – long hailed as a technological wonder – is fast becoming yesterday, while the SMS is the flavour of today.  Doesn’t matter if the SMS (short message service) restricts you to only a few words – who needs a long message if a short one will do?

Blogging is also changing.  During the time of troubles in Iraq the world was alerted to what was happening there through blogs.  This has changed – eye-witness reports of events in Egypt are brought to us through Twitter.  We have now moved to micro-blogging as a way of receiving the news of the world.

Why use 140 words to report on something if you can do it in 140 characters?

What’s next?  We moved from long reports to a few words to a few characters.  How short can we get?  How low can we go?  The bit?

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How can technology improve a teacher’s communication flow?

Monday, December 20th, 2010 | communication, technology | Comments Off

The communication part of ICT – information and communication technology – must never be under-estimated.  Technology has radically changed the way people communicate across the globe.  You can send an e-mail to someone living on another continent or another hemisphere and receive a reply within seconds.  Cell phones put communication in the hands of the poorest and most remote citizens.  Even the way news is communicated to us has changed. 

Technology places a number of communication tools in your hands, such as: 

  • e-mail
  • cell phones (voice and text messages)
  • social networks
  • blogs, forums and chat rooms on the internet
  • and we don’t know what else may become available in the future. 

But how do these tools help you in your classroom to improve communication?  Let’s look at a few examples:

E-mail can replace paper-based memos in a school.  It allows you to send information and documents to colleagues and receive the same from them without having to walk to the photo-copy machine or your pigeon hole in the staffroom.  With the press of a button you can communicate with teachers in others schools – even in other parts of the world – and exchange ideas and learning materials with them.

Through social networks and blogs it is possible for you to consult with subject and education experts around the world.  These communication tools help you to build a personal learning network (PLN).

You can contact parents by e-mail.  Some parents may not have e-mail facilities, but an increasing number of them are getting on-line, particularly since many cell phones are e-mail enabled.  Alternatively, you can communicate with parents via a text message.

It is even possible to communicate with your learners through e-mail and blogs.  If your school has computers but does not have internet facilities, you can still use internal e-mail to send homework assignments, class notes and other notifications.  This will empower learners to use technology as a communication tool.  And it will eliminate the excuse that the homework assignment slip was lost!

Technology allows you to communicate with others with greater speed and ease – and at lower cost – than ever before.  It can help you to improve your communication flow.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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Example speaks louder than words

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 | e-Learning pioneers | 3 Comments

The e-pioneer leads by example.

When e-pioneers feel they are not reaching the hearts and minds of teachers, they should first examine whether they themselves are practising what they are preaching.  Aesop’s fable of the crab and her son drives the point home:

A Crab said to her son: “Why do you walk so one-sided, my child? It is far more becoming to go straight forward.”

The young Crab replied: “Quite true, dear Mother; and if you will show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it.”

The Mother tried in vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her child.

The moral of the story is that example is more powerful than instruction.

One way in which an e-pioneer can set a good example is in the manner of communication.  Perhaps teachers are reluctant to use e-mail.  There is no better way to encourage them to use this form of communication than using it yourself!  Principals who stopped sending out notices and instructions on paper and used e-mail instead have found this an excellent way of motivating teachers to adopt this mode of communication.

The e-pioneer never has the attitude of “do what I say; not what I do”.  Leading by example is the best way to make sure others are following.

Click here for more food for thought for e-pioneers.

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My e-mail in-box – a Pandora’s box?

Saturday, May 15th, 2010 | communication | 3 Comments

In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on earth. The gods endowed her with many talents, amongst others beauty, musical skills and the art of persuasion.

One of her gifts was a box, which she was not allowed to open under any circumstances but curiosity got the better of her and she opened it. The result? All imaginable evils escaped and spread over the earth. She tried to close the box, but everything escaped, except one thing which was left at the bottom of the box …

I have a box which I simply have to open each day – curiosity impels me to open my e-mail in-box the moment the computer is switched on. And then out flies everything that has been boxed in overnight – all 187 of them. Circulars; newsletters; invitations to get rich very quickly (I have been specially selected to help a poor widow from Gabon to bring her millions out of her country and into my bank account); remedies to beautify and enlarge all aspects of my physique and improve my psyche; jokes – most of these have been circling the globe a couple of times over the past day. My colleagues insist on copying me in on all their correspondence – perhaps they feel I will be offended if they leave me in the dark, or otherwise they try to impress me with their diligence.

I am overwhelmed by emails; it takes an awful lot of time just to sift through them to find the ones that are of real importance.

At the bottom of the box there remains the one thing that did not fly out of Pandora’s box: hope.

I hope that we will eventually find a way to use this tool as a time-saver rather than a time-waster.

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e-mail, e-book, e-learning …. e- pioneer

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 | e-Learning pioneers | 4 Comments

What is the correct way to refer to electronic mail in writing?  Is it eMail, email, e-mail or electronic mail?

It seems as if most dictionaries, publishers and writers have standardized on e-mail.  The same is true of e-book, e-learning, e-literate, e-commerce and any other e-thingy.

Don’t forget the hyphen (-). Get into the habit of using it when you write reports or e-mails.

Dear John,

Thank you for your prompt response to my e-mail …

In view of this convention in writing, I believe it will be in order to talk about an e-pioneer – using the term e-learning pioneer seems so long-winded.  And perhaps e-pioneer is a more apt term to describe those people who go into schools to encourage the use of digital resources, including e-books and e-mail – their work is not only about e-learning.

Viva, all e-pioneers.

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