07 September 2010


I skyped for the first time on Saturday. I was in my cousin's dorm room and her family called her through her computer. I was so excited to see her sister's new hairstyle and talk to her. . . in real time! Needless to say, I came home and downloaded skype right away. So far, I've skyped my cousin no less than three times (and she lives all of a 5 minute walk from my apartment).Skype is free between users to any nation in the world. It also has a chat function (just like facebook and gmail chat, which I also use) that came in quite handy this evening. I had a rather long chat conversation with Norbu Jinpa, the admin of the TCV facebook group. I've put the entire text of our conversation since I think it is valuable for cross-cultural communication analysis as well as highly relevant to my research.

[9/6/2010 11:24:50 PM] Kristen Nicole: Norbu, what do you think about technology in the classroom?

Norbu: hi

Kristen Nicole: Hi!
Kristen Nicole: :)

Norbu: wats that tech in class

Kristen Nicole: like . . . facebook. What if students used facebook as part of their homework
Kristen Nicole: what do you think of that?

Norbu: nope thats not good for our kids
Norbu: depends on the situation...like in developing counties...
Norbu: u know...tech like computers n internet are not easy as you people in west
Norbu: so the Q of using facebook for home work doesn't arise here

Kristen Nicole: hmmm
Kristen Nicole: what about that facebook group that you post on all the time? There's over 1000 members.
Kristen Nicole: never mind

Norbu: ya that's coz we want to spread the info and share info

Kristen Nicole: what do you think is possible, then, for students in India?

Norbu: on general or specific ground
Norbu: nope
Norbu: most of them are TCV Alumnus
Norbu: we want to connect them with their roots or TCV

Kristen Nicole: I see. So, students themselves have very little exposure to technology at school?

Norbu: students have the exposure to tech...like facebook or hi 5 or else...they do internet..hafve the access
Norbu: but thats limited...
Norbu: so also the internet facility...
Norbu: only during the computer period during school hours and 1 or 2 hours after school before their dinner...and during that leisure time...some got different works,,,interest and so not much computers for all to do that...
Norbu: on vacations...there is time for those interested to do so...that's it...

Kristen Nicole: okay.
Kristen Nicole: I guess that what I am really curious about what you think of all this
Kristen Nicole: What do you think technology in the classroom can do for education?

Norbu: the idea is good but i'd say its not so friendly for those in developing countiries like us
Norbu: of with the changing time...n tech of courtse...it should do well if its used...n its proved that it did lot of good thigns
Norbu: like powerpoint OHPs to Power poin presentations to Projectors now...
Norbu: we use these but only occassionally

Kristen Nicole: Norbu, you have skype, yes? You and I are chatting on skype right now even though we're thousands of miles apart and it's ridiculously late where I'm sitting. And don't you work for the TCV schools? So, do you think that your access to technology (meaning communication with a random college student like me) affects the students at all?
Kristen Nicole: What's more, skype is completely free! As long as we both have internet connections, we can chat as long as we want to.
Kristen Nicole: Sorry if I'm rambling. I guess I am just unsure what to do with my research now. I am getting the feeling that technology isn't a big presence in the lives of your students
Kristen Nicole: And rightly so

Norbu: well i am confused of what you say...i mean write...
Norbu: wat you mean...wat you want to say...its ok you are student n you may be wanting to do some research...i got it....but i didn't get you...
Norbu: can you be more specific

Kristen Nicole: well, I'm a student. I've been planning a big research project for India next summer. I've wanted to research technology in the classroom for the Tibetans, and perhaps explore ways that classroom technology can make education better

Norbu: ok

Kristen Nicole: So, I thought that technology was already present in students' lives

Norbu: thats good

Kristen Nicole: but now you're telling me how much it's not
Kristen Nicole: and it's worrying me because I feel like I don't know what to research now

Norbu: so wat i told is fact....widely...its that...students are aware of things...tech very much...they know how to use mobile phones, digital cameras, mobile carmeras, video tech, internet tech, computer games, etc
Norbu: but it depends on the availabiltiy of resources...
Norbu: we do have E-Granery faciltiy in tcv schools...
Norbu: Internet of course...

Kristen Nicole: Yes, Phuntsok told me about that

Norbu: same way u can ask phuntsok as well
Norbu: am not pessimist...i just told u wats fact
Norbu: u know phuntsok thats good

Kristen Nicole: Oh! I don't think you're a pessimist!
Kristen Nicole: I was simply ignorant before
Kristen Nicole: I didn't know what I thought I knew

Norbu: but if you do..want u can still pursue in this research with watever is available or used within tcv schools or Tibetan schools and students in india
Norbu: u can enquire more from other sources of info...may be am wrong...in certain ways

Kristen Nicole: I trust your judgment. You know much better than I do

Norbu: u would get more info and more clear of things...
Norbu: nope trust is not the thing,,,,if you are going to do agood research you ahve to work hard to come to conclusion...becoz of diverse options and itys outcomes....varied
Norbu: looking for all possibilities
Norbu: opening allyour eyes n ears...
Norbu: try to gain maximum info...knowledge of things that u are into
Norbu: only then u get a better view of things...

Kristen Nicole: Norbu, you're right
Kristen Nicole: That's the point of the research anyway
Kristen Nicole: Thank you so much. You've really helped me just now

Norbu: ok u are welcome...always
Norbu: anyways wat u studying...
Norbu: n where

Kristen Nicole: I'm at BYU. I'm studying English teaching
Kristen Nicole: I've thought a lot about teaching English in a foreign country
Kristen Nicole: I really believe that technology can improve education

Norbu: of course it'll do
Norbu: i believe in it too

Kristen Nicole: so, why do we believe in it so much?

Norbu: but let me tell u one more thing...you have to be so sure of wat kinda tech...too its has to be specific...
Norbu: tech can be anything...

Kristen Nicole: You're right
Kristen Nicole: again :)

Norbu: simple tech which can be locally available

Kristen Nicole: like what?

[12:08:56 AM] Kristen Nicole: Norbu, thanks again. You've been so helpful. It's really late here, so I must go now. I look forward to talking to you again, though, when I have a chance!

I told you it was long! :) In addition, I believe our discussion was directly relevant to Education 2.0--new media, especially internet, in the classroom.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for offering your perspective on Skype. This a tool I recently learned to use myself and have been able to use, significantly to enrich my personal life as well! I love how this ties into our class topic of social networking, as I expounded in my blog.