An area where Communication Technology is slowly making head ways is Health. For years now there have been voices advocating the creation of a national central database of Health Records.
The Canada Health Infoway, a group sponsored by the Government of Canada, is working towards making this a reality. Check their excellent website http://www.infoway-inforoute.ca.
Once this is in place it will be easy for a patient to log on and retrieve his or her personal health records.
It’s already possible in some countries for some elderly patients or those with chronic illnesses to use “text-messaging” to access a health Care Specialist and ask for and receive advice or help.
Wireless health care – a thing of the future, you may think – is already happening in countries such as England.
Wireless devices connected to computers can constantly monitor a patient’s vital signs and report them immediately to health care professionals who can respond accordingly and efficiently in the event of an emergency.
A recent study by Symantec (Norton Antivirus) was released a few days ago. Over 75% of parents in different countries feel that the use of e-mail and other electronic forms of written communication such as posting on social networking sites, text messaging, and blogging does not help young students develop (formal) written communication skills. Read the full article in Today’s Star http://tiny.cc/yZ6lz.
Another study published in the March 2009 issue of the British Journal of Developmental Psychology confirms the exact opposite. “Kids who use “textisms” on mobile phones tend to have a better grasp of (normal) word reading, vocabulary, and phonological awareness, even when controlled for age, memory, and how long they have owned a phone.” http://tiny.cc/gmNt5.
I can only share my personal observations as a learner and parent.
I have two teenage daughters who use texting and messaging extensively and like most teenagers post on Facebook , chat on MSN, and use Twitter. I use these communication tools with them on a regular basis.
One daughter is at Mac Master University (Science and French), the other is at the Academy of the Arts and doing well in French, History, English — she wants to become a writer.
Since they were little tots my wife and I read to them on a regular basis and encouraged them to read as much as possible. We sent them to French School and taught them Italian at home. They also picked up some Spanish along the way.
Texting, blogging, and so on is another form of written communication. Another expression of language. If children are taught the value of reading, communicating, speaking, and writing at an early age they will do well in any communication form and forum.
Getting kids to love language and appreciate fluent communication has to start at home. We can’t relinquish this important cultural and intellectual development stage exclusively to the school.
Certainly banning texting and blogging and whatever else kids use to communicate in writing could in some cases, eliminate the only form of written communication that they engage in.
Information Technology can make a difference
Differentiated Instruction can be easily implemented using the very same tools of communication that students so readily use outside the classroom: cell phones, video cameras, iPods, iPhones.
Collaboration and sharing can be easily achieved using tools such as Smart Boards, Search Engines (Google), Wikis, Blogs, Web 2.0 interactive pages, online games, virtual reality sites, podcasts, videoconferencing.
We don’t suggest that whatever we have done in traditional teaching/learning be dispensed and replaced with these new “cool” methods. Traditional strategies can work extremely well alongside these IT tools.
Just finished registering students for the Spring Term 2009 of our online learning sessions at TCDSB.
This was an amazing turnout of 1200 kids. The constant ringing of our phones due to calls today from many other kids who, for whatever reason, missed the registration deadlines is an indication of where we stand on this fairly new mode of curriculum delivery.
Children learn differently and in differentiated ways.
Universal Design for Learning, Differentiated Instruction, Individual Education Plan, Assistive Technology, Modifications, Accommodations, Success for All, Education for All, Growing Success. I have mentioned but just a few strategies and programs that are used in our classrooms on a daily basis and not just for Special Education purposes but for all students.