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Wired Magazine’s How To Wiki Blog recently posted an article on how to Write a Perfect EMAIL. As educators are flexing their fingers for work after resting this summer, this is a perfect article to kick off the school year.

Here is the annotated list:

  • Be Brief
  • Put your message in context
  • Make your requests clear
  • Include a deadline (if appropriate)

Dale Basler and I recently presented The Basics of Online Communication to NSTA’s National Science Congress. We’d add a few more tips:

  • Use bcc (blind carbon copy) for multiple addressees
  • Trim unnecessary ‘fat’ on forwards
  • Choose function over form (i.e. avoid fancy formatting)
  • Don’t use e-mail for everything (not good for chatting, etc.)

You can see the video and powerpoint of that presentation at Zentation (below):

The Basics of Online Communication
Maintaining successful and effective communication in the digital world.

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 Last night I had my regular checkup at the dentist (no cavities, thank you), and was amazed to see the technology that they have. Of course, I am talking of technology beyond the X-ray machine and standard medical equipment. I am talking about the tablet PC that the dental technician picked off its base, and handed to me to sign a consent form. Upon doing so, my signature was digitally transmitted over their Wi-Fi network to be merged with my dental records. And later, when a question came up about one of my teeth, the technician took a digital image of that tooth that was instantly available in my records, right next to its X-ray image.

So why does my dental technician have all of this sophisticated equipment available to them? Simple. It allows her to merge multiple pieces of data together into a convenient digital medical record. In short, it makes her work more efficient.

This little snapshot of the modern American workforce reveals why it important for us as educators to prepare our students technologically for tomorrow (and arguably today). But maybe that is too simple a statement, as this is already happening in many schools. Wealthy suburban schools already have technology like this, and many of these kids are also exposed to it at home. Thus, these kids have a huge advantage in today’s workforce before they even graduate.

To me, this might be the ultimate consequence of technology – it will continue to drive a deep socioeconomic divide into our country. That is, unless we prevent that. That is why it is extremely important for our educational system across the country to provide the same technological advantages that will prepare our students for workforce, no matter their background.

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