What are Real-Time Communication Tools?

Today, people expect fast and seamless communications with each other, facilitated by technology. Real-time communication tools have been developed and integrated into a variety of platforms such as LMS and organizations’ websites to create full-duplex channels where multiple users can communicate information and share ideas synchronously and asynchronously. Many people are already familiar live chats, video conferencing, and unified communications, all of which are now widely accessible and have broadened the reach of many institutions. For example, students in China can complete college courses in America without ever leaving home, engaging in live discussion forums that enable students to ask questions and collaborate in real time. Web development platforms, like Wordpress, have become more accessible and user friendly overtime making it easier than ever to integrate discussion forum plug-ins onto sites that foster seamless communications. As new tools such as Slack emerge, education leaders are pondering how real-time messaging and archiving applications can be used to improve learning and productivity while fostering deeper communities of practice.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I’ve been using real-time communication tools in my international school projects since 2005. Forums and chats were already then integral parts of Moodle platform and Skype was launched a few years before. I think they still are the most important part of learning projects and courses built in VLEs. They deepen and give yet another dimension in collaboration. They enable learning 24/7 outside classrooms and across borders. For example while creating shared wikis or documents (Google, O365), you can comment and discuss the process while adding text or other elements to the shared document/product. The fact that learning forums, chats and web-meetings are integrated in the course design emphasize the idea of sharing knowledge, experiences and ideas. In VLEs all learning discussions, chats etc. document the learning process and remain accessible. These tools and their development towards easier and more reliable user experience is very important for basic education. - tiinsari tiinsari Oct 21, 2016 I agree. Real time communication tools add value to the learning and teaching that takes place inside and outside the brick and mortar. The students enjoy participating in conversations both as a language and social contex. Writing and reading blogs and participating in Skype conversations is perfect. For this to work the teacher needs to build a pln. https://annmichaelsen.com/2016/05/28/the-blogging-competition/ ,
    https://annmichaelsen.com/2016/01/11/the-global-classroom-engaging-the-students-exploring-the-possibilities-bett2016/ - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Oct 24, 2016
  • Real-time communication tools may be used both as a classroom, to bridge the classroom to the student, to bring in more teachers, and to provide a collaboration space for assignments, projects, laboratories and more informal collaboration. The personal learning environment need a real-time component, and sorting out how to blend this with learning resources, other students, teachers and the class is emerging in discussions around the next generation learning environment - ingrid.melve ingrid.melve Nov 4, 2016
  • Real-time communication tools are essential in a 21st century skills based learning environment. Having students engage with experts, communicating with other schools, engaging parents, having access to their teachers outside school. Learning beyond the classroom, real world problem solving, skilled communication and collaboration - all dependent on real-time communication. Skype/Skype for Business and OneNote being a crucial tools - Kirsten.Panton Kirsten.Panton Nov 10, 2016 The relevance of real-time communication tools connects a lot with the idea of engaging with experts, other schools, etc. as mentioned. Today, and in future, learning should hit straight to the point in terms of the core of how are we learning, what are we learning, and why are we learning that / that way. Real-time communication - face to face or with technology mediating - has a huge importance in these processes. - olli.vesterinen olli.vesterinen Nov 14, 2016
  • I agree on what is written above – nowadays Skype for example, works fine and even the youngest child is used to communicate via Facetime or such which means this tool can be used in many ways, not only for communication, but also for play and aesthetic performance. - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander
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  • Rethink undervising and develop guidance platforms (used the last 6-7 years), so a teacher synchronously can give verbal instructions based on students' synchronously written work. For example, the 10 students individually work with a math assignment, a translation job or an essay assignment in each of their cambre separé. The teacher can follow the individual student's work process and both orally and in writing intervene. And also invitetere the students, the teacher believes can have a common instruction into common shared space and provide a common indstruks before students return to their virtual individual workspaces.
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • inviting experts in different fields into your classroom is a good idea here. It is easy when you have the technology - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Oct 24, 2016
  • in Finland we have this service for schools (have had for some years). It's called Expert Network and it has a wide range of experts representing different fields of expertise who are willing to talk to and discuss with students via Skype or AC during schools hours. Only a month ago they were awarded in Global Best Awards for best practice in promoting cooperation between schools and businesses. Unfortunately they didn't seem to have English pages: https://www.asiantuntijaverkosto.fi/ - tiinsari tiinsari Oct 25, 2016 - ellen.k.fossvoll ellen.k.fossvoll Nov 7, 2016

  • Many students have extensive experience from in-game chat and use of Skype for problem solving in games or everyday life. These experiences are somewhat used for homework, but not blended with the rest of the learning environment. - ingrid.melve ingrid.melve Nov 4, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • as mentioned above adding value to your classroom by inquiering, asking questions with your students, getting answers from experts. - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Oct 24, 2016
  • Impact on learning is from how students interact with each other, how learning resources are available and discussed, and how teacher interact with students. Impact on teaching is in how to reach students for conversations, how to organize groups, what kind of assignments are possible, and what laboratories are available. For creative inquiry, the sky is the limit. Well, not really, since these tools may well reach the International Space Station, if students figure out who to talk to. So the sky is not the limit for these tools. - ingrid.melve ingrid.melve Nov 4, 2016
  • There is a potential for children with the same mother tongue languages to communicate with each other, although not present at the same preschool or school. - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander
  • There is a potential for mother tongue teachers to teach children at different schools instead of travelling to up to 6 different sites during one day. - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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