Finding Your Voice on the Internet – changing the language, building community, and reducing diversity?
Keynote address at CLESOL Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand, September, 2004
Introduction | Language | Community | Diversity | Conclusion


But Stephen Downes, the Net’s most prolific commentator on issues to do with the Internet and education, sounds a note of caution, “there is a danger that there will, quite literally, be no escape, that a person's home, work and leisure life will all become aspects of this great, integrated endeavour.” We may all, say 10 -15 years from now, be Netizens. But as Netizens we can still work in the garden, play sport, go for walks on the beach, and meet friends for dinner. It may be though that you check the football score, work on your lesson plans for next week, read an email from your son, search for a reading for your next study assignment, and pay a few bills in the same one hour Net session. The Internet as a lifeskill.

I understand that some of you might just choose to leave the world of the Internet to others. It may well bring you a sense of relief. But you may also be passing up the opportunity to help your students take part in the revolution that is occurring.

One cannot control the evolution of language. I don’t mean to suggest that the more extreme examples shown earlier in this presentation will become the norm, but new technologies are affecting the language, and will continue to do so. Right or wrong, the Internet seems to be plugging a gap and providing a sense of community for those who don’t find it elsewhere, and sometimes it is doing this by just helping people make contact with others living in the next town.

There has never been a greater opportunity to hear the opinions of others across the planet, and have them hear yours. The Net has become the voice of the planet.

I would like to leave you with something that arrived in my email just two days ago – a plea to the webheads community for some advice from a woman in Asia that demonstrates far more eloquently than anything I can say about finding your voice online.

With me, everything seam upset. Sometimes I  have no time to think clearly. May be I am in a stress.I think all my troubles is Iam a woman and I live in (an Asian country). I have to work hard at myoffice to earn money. That is OK. I have to do house work. That is acceptable. But I don't know why I have to look after naughty son and clearning, washing, cooking  while my husband drinking With his friend. Do you think that is normal. After working, I have to take return my house work. Day after day, I have no time to watching TV, listsening, walking, ect. Sometimes I thing, If I live with my son without husband that is better. Do you agree? Now, I want to unmarry. But I don't know what will I be. Can you please advise me?

Introduction | Language | Community | Diversity | Conclusion

spoken archive of this address available for LearningTimes members HERE