I just picked this paragraph up from one of my student’s blogs:
“…We became friends and hung out on a site I introduced her to: Weeworld. We talked a lot on there, then she gave me her MSN (Windows Live Messenger). We somehow became the best of friends, two very different yet very similar girls. She is the reason that I first came to love learning about her country. She is starting to teach me Arabic… But I’ve only managed to learn a simple greeting: Hala – Hello…”
This is pretty casual. Two girls playing Wii and chatting. But one of them is in a small community in northern Canada and the other is in Kuwait. The girl from my end is from a quite strict Christian family and (I presume) the girl from Kuwait is Muslim.
These are the connections of our time. This is how they are made. They don’t have to be academic, or formal, or structured by an intervening adult. They are global, informal and made by anyone.
The rest of the blog post goes on to be an examination of Kuwait including some multimedia elements and is fully tagged and categorised. The post is the basic quality of anything I would have have expected as an introductory research assignment on a country. Only of course, even better since this girl did this all out of her own interest and choosing.
I’ve noticed a pattern lately of more students making international connections with others through MMOG ‘s or using their Wii or Playstations. A move to easier, more informal connections? I’m not sure at this point, but it is something to keep an eye on as it develops.