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Centre for the Study of Communication and culture


Probably as far back as people can remember, education has drawn on communication technologies, either to teach students how to use them effectively or to make use of those technologies in the educational process itself. In the former instance, the educational sector typically follows a cultural valuation that regards a given technology as so essential that people cannot leave its use or teaching to chance—reading and writing provide the clearest examples here, with schools teaching both the mechanics of writing and reading (forming or deciphering letters, spelling properly, adhering to a common grammar, and so on) and the composition of texts, arguments, expositions, explanations, essays, etc. In the latter instance, schools use communication technology to provide information or to connect with their students: again, books provide an historical example as does educational television more recently.

A great deal of existing research in pedagogy, learning theory, and classroom management examines how learning with technology occurs and how to measure its impact (Jonassen, 2004). Similarly, a great deal of writing addresses the practical issues of making the best use of communication in or for the classroom. This review will not address the learning theory or the pedagogy, except indirectly as it appears in other studies; it will focus instead specifically on the communication technology—a very wide field— and how educators incorporate the various means of communication in the schooling of a younger generation. These typically occur in two ways: distance education and supplemental education. Distance education refers to the use of communication technology to reach students who cannot or do not physically attend a school. Supplemental education refers to the use of communication technology to supplement face-toface or in-school programs. Looking at the recent past (the last 10 years or so), this review will examine published studies discussing communication in or for schools as well as some more accessible online materials describing current work./


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