Reaching Out to the World

I had two experiences with Skype this week that reinforced in my mind just how powerful the connective tools of Web 2.0 really are. It’s not a new revelation, yet both were so interesting and both, as it turns out, used Skype as the connector tool.

First, I spent the weekend with some good friends of mine from the college days. We have known each other for more than 20 years now (wow) and although we are scattered geographically, we still find room in our calendar to come together once a year at one of our homes (wives and children often scatter). Two of our friends are in the military and it is sometimes the case that one of them is overseas. Three years ago, one of my buddies was stationed in the Middle East as a patrol guard, searching beneath vehicles for bombs. This year, my other friend who flies helicopters is on a year-long tour just outside of Baghdad. So, obviously, he could not attend the weekend here. So, what did we do? We skyped him and had a long conversation using webcams and laptops and wireless connections to see how he is doing over there (so far, so good). The ability to talk to a friend in Iraq during the war …. that is pretty amazing.

Then, last night, I Skyped my way into a graduate level education class at Columbia University, where the future teachers had been using our book — Teaching the New Writing — as a class text, generated questions for myself and another editor (Charlie Moran) using Web 2.0 tools, and then peppered us with outstanding questions about writing, technology and more for about an hour. Just think how cool that is: to be able to converse with and ask questions of the writers and editors of a text that you are using in the college classroom. It was a great conversation for both us — the producers of the content — and them — the readers of the content — and it really shows how technology is changing the relationship of how we interact with text, don’t you think?

Peace (in the world),
Kevin

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  1. Yes, and many children’s authors are using skype to do school author visits! Many tight school budgets don’t allow schools to fly in authors but they can still pay a stipend for a skype visit.

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