Week 7 was not my best week of the course so far, and this data visualisation is not the most accurate I’ve created so far, and it’s also the one that took me the most work to design…
This week I was reflecting on the different ways education is ‘datafied’, not only in the more traditional sense of data collection, but also in the way that communication is structured, presented and encouraged in an ‘modern’ educational context. The ways in which students can contact me as a teacher are many! Students can:
- Write an email
- Send a message (in Teams)
- Video call
- Send a message through the school’s LMS
- Visit office (when in school)
- Contact administrative staff at the school to pass on messages
Teams, messages, emails, video calls. Educators can be contacted in almost every possible way and at any time. Although the expectation of ‘replying’ and ‘being available online’ varies between institutions, the thin line between the ‘private life’ and ‘work life’ is blurring now more than ever, especially as many people are teaching and learning from home.
There is also a sense of ‘instantaneity’, where students, educators and administrators have different expectations than before in terms of the acceptable time required to reply to a message, email, etc. While in school, it is assumed that teachers are ‘busy’, as they are in the classroom, with students, in meetings or supporting in extracurricular activities.
While working from home, this expectation has changed, I think, as it is assumed communication is easier and more immediate. My experience this week was that I ‘expected’ in a way to receive a response from a colleague almost immediately after I saw the ‘read’ indicator next to the message. I knew the he had read the message, and therefore a reply was expected soon. The same way, directly or indirectly, other people ‘expect’ me to reply to communication as quickly as possible.
Miscommunication & generational gap
The way I tend to communicate with students, is more closely related to the way I communicate with my friends. I use emojis, giphs and memes to transmit the message and meaning I want to.
On the other hand, with some colleagues communication is more formal and direct. Also, depending on the cultural context, some interactions might be perceived as ‘cold’ or ‘unfriendly’ depending on who is sending the message and who is receiving it and interpreting.
Teaching & Communicating with Data
Overall, the connection I wanted to make, although maybe not so successfully, was that ‘communication’ in an educational context could be said to be a ‘form’ of data that is shaping relationships, learning and teaching between students and educators around the world. COVID allowed for a rapid change and adoption of new technologies and practices, and at the same time, redefined, in my opinion, the way students and teachers interact online.