Last week, I blogged about the importance of communication, verbal and otherwise. This week, Google announced embedded support for voice and video chat within Gmail. Services like Utterli are making Twitter look a bit old-school. I have this feeling that voice is going to be a big deal.
I don't mean in the sense of voice communications circa 1985 when that's all we had. I mean converged with a variety of means of communication. As the Googlers pointed out on the Gmail blog,
Being able to switch from email to chat as needed, all within the same app, is really great for productivity. But people can only type so fast, and even with our new emoticons, there are still some things that just can't be expressed in a chat message.
That's why today we're launching voice and video chat -- right inside Gmail. We've tried to make this an easy-to-use, seamless experience, with high-quality audio and video -- all for free.
So why is this important here in Ed Tech? Because when we talk about 21st Century Skills, one of the most important things we're talking about is communication. How can we all stay connected and collaborate in ways that we couldn't before with mere 20th Century skills? Again, I can't emphasize the importance of verbal communication skills enough. The digital revolution hasn't gotten rid of voice; it's simply allowing us to integrate it into a variety of media: podcasts, microblogging, video conferencing, and even face to face.
We don't need to teach kids how to use Microsoft Word. Instead, we need to teach them to use the incredible (and growing) suite of tools at their disposal and anticipate the tools to come.