Chatting it up Online
By Pamela Livingston
This article explains a new program geared towards students at the authors of the books they are reading. This new system gives students access to the authors directly. This system is similar to the Instant Messenger that the current high school students use to chat with their friends online. In the past, students that wanted to contact the author of a book they had just finished would have to email the intended author and wait for that author to find the time to get through all of the emails and reply. Sometimes this would take months. By using the chatting system, the authors and students will meet on the site at a designated time and the students have direct access to the author. They can ask questions about the book, as why the author wrote the story, the author's motivations, etc.. Once the chat is complete, the students and teachers have access to the transcript of the conversation. This is a helpful tool to be used later in the classroom to analyze texts.
Q1: I wounder how this would work in a high school setting. Would it be plausable?
A1: I think it would be plausible if more authors were to participate. There are many authors that I would like to talk with to ask what particular aspects of their stories meant from books like Catcher in the Rye and Canterbury Tales. There are many questions I would ask. I think that we should find a way to make this available to high school students, they would benefit greatly to a system like this.
Q2: How can we make this system more efficient?
A1: First, the participants need to be vigilant at checking email and waiting for a notification of a chat request. The teachers would email the authors with a chat request using the chat website or system itself so the notification would be very visible. Then the authors and teachers would work out a time so the students can ask questions. The system should duplicate the technology used by American Online Instant Messenger and this system would work. As long as the students were prepared for the chat and had questions ready, this chat system would be extremely efficient.