Task 3 of Learning and Innovation Skills: Communication and Collaboration

Communicate Clearly

  • Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts
  • Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions
  • Use communication for a range of purposes (e.g. to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade)
  • Utilize multiple media and technologies, and know how to judge their effectiveness a priori as well as assess their impact
  • Communicate effectively in diverse environments (including multi-lingual)

Collaborate with Others

  • Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams
  • Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal
  • Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member

What are some collaborative  activities that help develop communication skills?

Podcasts | Wikis | VoiceThread | Blogs


What’s a podcast? A podcast is an audio or video file that you can download to your computer or music player (such as an iPod). You can listen to a podcast on a music/MP3 player or a computer. The difference between this kind of file and any other download is you don’t have to go out looking for new content – it is delivered to you automatically when you subscribe, so it’s more like your daily newspaper as compared to the book you borrowed from your local library. Podcasts are generally short and contain additional written material, which can be accessed on computer OR smartphones.

World language teachers have 3 options in using podcasting:

  1. Using podcasts that others have created (ESL Podcast) (Apple’s index of educational podcasts) to provide authentic, motivating materials for your students.
  2. Creating podcasts that are closely tied to the content of your course and sending them out into the ether for use by your students in class or in a mobile immersion environment.
  3. Having your students collaboratively create podcasts as a way to increase their listening and speaking opportunities, give them an authentic audience and motivate them toward greater engagement with the language. See how GWU’s  professor Heather Schell has her writing center students create “Gorilla Radio” news podcasts.

There’s even an  ESL Teacher Podcast for getting some new teaching ideas.


A wiki allows a group of people to enter and communally edit both images and text. Here’s a quick introduction to how wikis work.  One teacher had her students at NOVA create a Wiki to collect tourist information for Washington DC and give feedback to a similar class in a community college in Dallas on the site they built with information on the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

This wiki provides resources for college-level ESL students.


Article on how Weblogs can be used in ESL Classes. Posting written work in a blog encourages the student’s development of the concept of audience, and gives students more reading practice, allowing them to comment on and respond to each other’s work.

Voice Thread

Voice Thread is a way to save audio files and documents online, sharing them with others. The audio files can be responded to on the same page as the original. Here’s an example from a Georgetown University class.

More Resources

Facebook has Language Exchange – Connect with people who want to exchange lessons in your second language and your first one.

Purdue University has an excellent resource for academic writing: The  Online Writing Lab provides guidance on various style formats for all students, outlining, and a special section for ESL Students.

The Voice of America Learning English website has current news in simplified English with accompanying audio of the story read at a slow pace. Users can read and listen to develop listening comprehension.