TelegraphAs ICT and media tools have become more and more integrated into our lives, certain limitations have become extremely apparent. This is especially true in terms of the ability of ICT tools to facilitate communication between individuals and groups. To give but one example, consider the tendency for email to accelerate our pace of work, which can in turn lead it to become an overpowering menace. One result of this process has been the development of a raft of new tools, all of which aim to overcome the failings of more conventional tools. As a result we are now in possession of literally hundreds of communication tools, each of which has its own peculiarities. Whilst users can sometimes see that these tools fit into broader categories (such as social networking), often they lack the language and depth of knowledge to really determine the properties that will make a tool fit for a given task.

Having spent a number of years thinking about such systems, their strengths and limitations, I have decided to try and codify this into a chart, with the hope that it might add clarity to a confusing topic. The result, shown below, is by no means exhaustive, nor is it definitive or final: rather, it is a starting point around which teachers, students and parents can start to think and talk about this issue. Although some of the language might be technical, hopefully it is relatively accessible to all (to help in this, the column headers at the top of the page can be clicked on for more information. You may access and comment on the full version of the chart, or use the embed below (it is a little small):

Credits: telegraph thumbnail image by Struthious Bandersnatch on Wikipedia, under the public domain.