by: Idwar Ruslan

Tuesday, November 9, 2010, I got an e-mail invitation to participate in a roundtable chatting with the theme “Situational Awareness (SA)”. The sender elaborated a little bit about the theme with a short abstract.

I was really curious what the chatting would be like; how it was operated and conducted, whether it worked out well or not. My curiosity on all this mechanism was much higher than  on  the theme of the web chat itself. Before participating, I just tried to figure out the setting and layout of the monitor screen in front of me; was it going to be very complicated? How will the moderator lead the chat and discussion with  participants from different parts of the world?

Five minutes before it started, I opened the respective website, filled out two boxes and entered as a guest. I was suggested to open another website because the operation was moved to Hong Kong. After I opened the new website, I saw the statements: “the connection in Hong Kong is good, it is good in Bangkok?” I typed something “Is it better in Jakarta now?”  Woow, Damon Anderson (the host), which  I didn’t expect, welcomed me and played around a little bit by calling me “id war rusian?”

03:00 PM, the discussion started. Damon changed the layout of the screen. Now, he put the abstract on the left and  participants’ ideas on the bottom right of the screen and other participants can write questions or comments.

It was a free discussion. Participants could write questions, comments, argumentations, elaborations, responses, etc. and had to scroll up when there are no more space to write. I just gave a short comment based on my experience teaching students. The students didn’t feel that they learned something if the teacher didn’t point out clearly the “plus one” (language points which were being taught, which they have not acquired according to Krashen’s language acquisition theory). I said, it could be something related to culture. A participant from China absolutely agreed to that statement.

At the end, I had one thing in mind: “What a small world!”