Friday, January 13, 2006

Chats, Messages and Forums

Welcome back to an icy Rome after the holidays. Let's start with a subject dear to some people: using computers as a communications tool. It could be said that communications form one of the prime functions of a networked computer.

Internet can provide you with fantastic opportunities to practise your English. Let's examine a few examples.

Right now I am chatting with five other people on Dave's ESL Café. See a previous posting about this. Dave's Café Chat is a friendly and safe chat environment, where people 'talk' simply and logically. Many of the chatters are teachers or students of English. You will nedd to register first. It's a simple process: invent a name for yourself, a password, and give them your e-mail address. You'll quickly receive an e-mail giving you further instructions.

Here's a recommendation from one of the chatters I am talking to right now:

"firstly you do not need Java enabled browsers, so everybody can come in and secondly it has people in it most of the time. Also you can't swear"

So come on, let's chat!

Now, about messages and groups. Last year at the British Council, we had a system called Global Village. This has now closed, but former Global Villages have migrated to a Yahoo Group called All English Students. You need to be a member of Yahoo to enter this group. Joining Yahoo costs nothing.

Some Villagers have formed an MSN group, 'Global Village Forever'. Again, you need to be a member of MSN to visit this group. You are already a member if you have a Hotmail account.

Both Groups allow you to exchange messages and take part in discussion forums, and even post pictures. You can also chat to people, especially if you have Yahoo or MSN instant messager.

All of the above are excellent for practising your English. This is essential if you want to make progress.

Enough for now! My time is definitely up.

Over to you to join Dave's Cafe Chat, join Yahoo or MSN, and tell us about your experiences in a comment!

Ciao4now,

Mike

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