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3 Tips for Helping Students Appropriately Communicate Online

Here are many ways individuals can communicate using technology. Whether through text messaging, social media, or online collaboration tools, students must learn to communicate effectively across various platforms and online settings.

Tip 1. Develop an online communication plan as a class to help foster appropriate online communication.

Online communication can sometimes be ambiguous due to the absence of inflection and tone. The absence of these indicators makes it even more important for students to think about how others may interpret messages they share online. For example, you might demonstrate language and tone by reading sentences to the class. As you read, use different feelings, or emphasis on different words. Provide time for students to participate in the activity with classmates. Encourage students to hold each other accountable. This plan might include ways to handle disagreements or to express emotions. Once the plan is complete, students can refer back to it when engaging online communication platforms like discussion boards, texting, social media, and more.

Tip 2. Ask students to create mock public service announcements or act out scenarios that demonstrate both positive and negative forms of online communication.

This activity is designed to foster Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and is a great way to help students appropriately express or communicate thoughts and emotions in online spaces. This is useful for disagreements in collaborative, online projects as well. Social-emotional learning lessons guide students through emotion management and virtual communication.

Tip 3. Guide students toward feedforward instead of feedback to help them constructively communicate online.

Feedforward provides students with constructive communication for what they might improve in the future and how they might accomplish those improvements. This form of critique promotes student growth and improvement, which is reflected in the progress of their work. Ideas for prompting students to use feedforward might include a constructive communication rule like, provide your peers with one compliment, two constructive comments, and two pathways for improvement. Respectful use of feedforward provides students with the input they need to grow and improve.

To learn more about how you can help students engage creatively with technology, register for Digital Literacy Pathways and follow us on social media.

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