Magazine article Technology and Children

ARTICLE: Staying in Touch-Communications

Magazine article Technology and Children

ARTICLE: Staying in Touch-Communications

Article excerpt

The ability to communicate ideas and information has evolved over time to become a dramatic process where a message is sent though a channel and then instantly received. This system has been a vital part of society from the Stone Age, when people used smoke signals to transmit coded information, to the Information Age, where people use computers to immediately exchange messages. Students need the primary concepts of communication so that they can understand how to communicate effectively and interact in society.

communication-system model

There are key elements in a communication-system model that must be present for a message to be successfully sent and received. First, there are inputs (resources) that are necessary to achieve the end goal. Second, there is a process (action) that changes the inputs to the final outputs. Let's look at an example from school. The principal calls a teacher with an urgent message: "Please come to the office at once"! After several rings, the teacher picks up the phone in his room and hears the excited principal on the other end of the line. They have communicated directly with one another.

However, communication processes change with the use of storage devices. For instance, suppose the principal called the teacher again and had to leave a voicemail message on his phone. The communication process of one-to one communication was altered because the intended telephone message was not immediately received by the teacher. The teacher was the intended recipient, not the voicemail box. In order for the planned communication to take place in this example, the phone message sent by the principal needed to be received directly by his intended recipient-the teacher. Instead, the message was received and stored so that it could be retrieved later. In essence, the steps (input, process, and output) in this process were altered.

There are other key components found in the communication-system model. They include a message, sender, channel, and receiver (Johnson, 2000). Sometimes feedback takes place, and the process starts again. For example, in the previous communication example, the principal was trying to communicate a message to a teacher. First, she initiated the process of sending the message (the principal was the sender). Second, the message went through a channel (the phone system). Messages may go through more than one medium before they reach the intended receiver. Third, the message reached the teacher's telephone (the receiver) as a voice message. Though the message was still sent to the teacher (the final desired destination), the one-to-one communication did not take place. If the teacher had answered the telephone, the intended message would have been received, and he could have provided the principal with feedback to the original phone message. The communication process would have been completed at this point and, depending on the feedback, the process could start again.

communication process

The steps in the communication process provide students a deeper understanding of the importance of the communication system by being more active and visible (Johnson, 2000). This model provides the fundamentals needed to send and receive vital information. Steps in the communication process include:

* Encoding

* Transmitting

* Receiving and decoding

* Storing and retrieving

* Feedback

This process can be taught using a communication activity where students develop a 30-second television commercial to promote technology education and use a camcorder to record the material.


In the encoding step, the students start brainstorming ideas or a message to be transmitted into a commercial. …

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