The ability of technology to aid communication has led to an increased acceptance of distance learning. Individuals now are able to easily interact with others in a distance learning class and engage in live dialogues as well as view the other students live, if desired, and use a whiteboard much like a face-to-face teacher uses a whiteboard in the classroom to work out problems, add notes, or draw figures.
In addition, individuals are using these communication technologies for non-educational purposes in their homes to bridge the distance gap between family members and friends. As Dr. (n.d.) described in his video, the impact of distance has been changed so that it is no longer significant in terms of communication.
There are many tools available today that further the communication that supports the distance learning environment. For instance, there are services such as Skype that provide users the ability to video chat and hold conversations informally or formally. Programs like Elluminate allow educators to host a classroom of students and hold a class meeting while sharing an interactive whiteboard that the whole class can use for discussion and providing examples to further understanding. It should be noted that these are just examples of a growing number of resources available to educators to host interactive and collaborative meetings and communication environments.
Even the use of blogs like the one I am using here or Wikis supports the learning environment so that communication is simple and engaging users in dialogue is emphasized and supported. In addition, commercially created virtual classrooms are available through products like Angel and eCollege. Moodle provides an open source classroom environment at no charge.
Simonson, M.. (n.d. ). Distance education: Higher education, k12, and the corporate world. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5260644&Survey=1&47=8720107&ClientNodeID=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1&BrswrOK=1&PrevRef=http%3A%2F%2Fsylvan.live.ecollege.com%2Fec%2Fcrs%2Fdefault.learn%3FCourseID%3D5260644%26Survey%3D1%2647%3D8720107%26ClientNodeID%3D984645%26coursenav%3D1&submit1=Continue.
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