Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

Communication is basically the act of creating and conveying ideas from a sender to the receiver. Communication can be conducted vocally (using voice), in written form, visually (using smoke signals, charts, graphs, logos, maps, or colors such as the traffic lights) or non-verbally (using body language, gestures, and the tone and pitch of voice). In practice, however, communication is often conducted through a combination of these.

Because communication is a daily activity, this skill is often taken for granted and seen as something ordinary so that its development receives less attention. However, the history of human civilization shows that the ability to communicate effectively and as intended is probably the most important of all life skills. A brilliant idea is useless unless it can be clearly and accurately communicated to others. Idea refinement or knowledge development cannot also be realized if one cannot understand the information and ideas communicated to him. Therefore, to succeed in every aspect of life, one needs the ability to communicate effectively.

To adapt to life changes humans keep on developing their communication system. As a consequence, the goals, techniques, and tools of communication keep on changing over time. In ancient times, drum or smoke signals were used to communicate with others in a distance. Today, people used a telephone to do it.

Communication in the 21st Century has also been very different from communication in the 20th Century. The definition stating that communication is the act of creating and conveying ideas from a sender to the receiver using oral and written language, symbols, arts, and nonverbal language might be proper to describe communication in the 20th Century. Due to the increasing use of communication and information technology (ICT), such as multimedia, teleconferencing, and the internet, communication in the 21st Century has become more complex. Partnership for 21st Century Learning (2011) emphasizes that communication competence in the 21st Century involves oral, written, interpersonal, and digital communication to interpret information, including knowledge, values, attitudes, and various goals (inform, instruct, motivate and influence) in various forms, contexts, and environments (including multi-lingual and multicultural environments) using a variety of media and technology.

The major consequence of communication system development for today’s’ people is that to strive in the 21st Century, besides the ability to communicate conventionally (oral and written), one must also master ICT-based communication skills. This implies that every student today should optimize the opportunities of using ICT in learning and in daily activities to enhance his or her ICT-based communication skills. Some activities a student can do to achieve this objective are (1) reading hypertexts related to their school’s subjects and analyze them to enrich vocabulary, practice reading comprehension, enlarge knowledge, etc.; (2) watching videos to improve pronunciation, speaking skills, and cross-cultural understanding; (3) actively engaged in online learning and participate in the online discussion forum; (4) using social media to exchange ideas; (5) reading articles relevant to their school subjects and giving feedback in each article’s comment section; and (6) creating a blog to share ideas and develop networking.

What do you think about this article? Do you agree with the activities recommended to enhance students’ ICT-based communication skills? Do you have other activities to suggest? Please write in the reply section below.       


  1. Thanks for posting this article. It reminds me that communication should not be taken for granted. It’s imperative for us to develop it.


    1. That’s true, Riris.
      As the article describes, students have a big opportunity to develop their communication skills through using ICT in learning and in daily activities. Every student should not waste it.


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