Answer:-Citizens who have a desire to practise and improve spoken and written English. Several nights ago, I got a request on skype to accept a contact from John Warnken. His accompanying note said that he wanted to discuss teaching English in Indonesia. I am always careful about adding contacts but felt this sounded okay. Last night, he made contact with me on skype and told me his amazing story of how he had taught English to many, many Chinese and other cultures and countries by using skype – initiatlly using chat and then when confidence increased by using audio and the spoken word. He was teaching70-90 year olds how to use skype, when a request came up on skype to add a Chinese citizen as a contact. He agreed, turned on the video camera and the ‘magic’ began. The elderly citizens witnessed first hand the power of skype and continued on with other connections to Chinese, helping them improve their English.
He then joined italki where he met an Indonesian teacher of English. She has her own laptop unusual in rural Indonesia) One day whilst Endangie was in the classroom, John was on skype. She turned on her web camera allowing John to talk to the students who went wild with excitement. Not only could they speak English with an American but they could see him. This led John to being part of a radio show in the village (200,000 residents) where the mayor and the superintendent phoned in to the radio station to thank him for what he was doing. Soon people were sending sms and ringing in to talk to him on the radio. (skype was used for the linkup)
He then linked me with the Indonesian teacher on skype that same night and we had a three way conversation. My accent presented problems but we still conversed. Tonight Endang chatted to me using text and then asked if I would like to talk to her and her friend. He was a student from India. So the three of us started talking to each other. They were confident and asked many questions, so eager to learn about each other and improve their English. Soon another request came form another university student. He was from Ukraine. I learnt so much in that short time about the other countries, their ambitions and their burning desire to connect and communicate.
- first hand experience of the power of the internet for instant networking and connections
- experiencing first hand the sheer desire and tenacity of other cultures wishing to learn English and being able to work how, using their technological skills
- Learning that one of the participants could speak 4 languages and wanted to learn more, using this technique and that they had many e-colleagues in many, many countries
- learning first hand about life in their countries
- myAustralian accent is rather ‘foreign’ to them and took some adjusting
- keeping time limits to the online, realtime connections
- keeping the reigns on this potential ‘viral’ connections which could ‘snowball’ beyond what I can cope with. I thought I was talking to and Indonesian teacher and within 15 minutes was talking to two other global citizens all eager to connect and stay connected.
- use the functions of skype to indicate ‘do not disturb’, ‘ away’ etc or being blunt and honest and saying when I am too busy to talk. Chat, maybe but not talk