Understanding the Communication Revolution



As a former U.S. History teacher I often talked about the industrial revolution and its impact on society. Today, in developed countries, the industrial revolution has long since passed.  Next up:  The communication revolution. Thomas Friedman’s book, The Earth Is Flatwas a starting point for explaining how the ability to communicate with nearly anybody in the world is changing how we live. Seth Godin talks about the end of the TV-Industrial complex, where in the past we were reliant on a few communication networks (ABC, PBS, CBS, NBC in the USA) for our information.

Today, of course, nearly anybody can create a video, broadcast that video and share an idea or viewpoint. This class you are taking right now is an example of the communication revolution at work.

So what? How does that change anything?  In many ways, it changes everything!  Ideas (for better or worse) spread without limits. Blogs, photo, video, and audio services allow all of us to communicate on a scale like never before. However, and this is the painful part sometimes, just because we all have a huge broadcast device, it does not mean anybody wants to listen to us. We can’t just interrupt people with ads like the TV-Industrial complex did in the old days. We have to earn people’s trust and that can be tough!


  1. Watch the videos below in the resource section
  2. In the comments section below, leave a brief response to this question: What examples of the communication revolution have you seen in your classroom or personal life?
    1. If you have done so already, consider getting your own Gravatar. This will enable a picture of some sort to be next to any comment you make on this website and many, many others around the web.  Interested?  Try it out here.
  3. Open a Word or Pages document
    1. In 250 words or more, reflect on the communication revolution.
      1. Suggested ideas
        1. How can/should teachers change how they teach to accommodate the communication revolution?
        2. Will they change?
        3. Should they change?
        4. Will this revolution lead to massive change in the world?
        5. Will this revolution simply lead to more “silly” videos like Annoying Orange?

Frustration Alert

frustratedThe impact of this revolution has wormed its way into the classroom. Students, as you know, are always communicating with each other on their personal devices. This may take the form of text, images, video and more. Some of us may find it annoying, but this byproduct of the revolution (speed) is not going away. At some point, (hopefully soon) our classrooms and schools will shift to embrace this new reality.


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The communication revolution your classroom and you

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heritageIf you registered for this course via the THI website, please submit your assignments via the THI portal here.  Questions?  Email Michael right away.

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  1. In my classroom(s), I think the biggest change has been with the CMSs (Content Management Systems). Being able to have your students on a single platform, sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, creating portfolios, etc has been amazing. Google Sites where kids can make their own pages, WordPress where our kids develop their online portfolios, and blogs where our teachers post learning materials…have all transformed parts of the learning process.

    Another big one is Wikipedia. When it started, it was not the most reliable, but now it has stabilized and I can’t imaging teaching without it (both for myself and for the students).

  2. Oh man, I LOVE that CMS change. Really has pushed us to consolidate where we place our teaching ideas and expectations. My school recently started using Canvas and I really like it. Before that WordPress was my CMS of choice. Still, of course, like WordPress.

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