It is amazing the things that can happen when people get connected online. John Warnken (italki profile, facebook profile) was teaching US senior citizens in Arkansas how to use the internet, when he found italki. He found that connecting people through italki and Skype was a popular activity for the seniors he was working with. However, one person John met on italki was Endang Palupi, a school teacher from Pekalongan, Indonesia. She asked John if he would be interested in volunteering to teach some basic English to high school students.
John began teaching classes through Skype, and since then, John has become a celebrity in Pekalongan. He’s been featured in the local newspaper, and he’s been introduced to the mayor of Pekalongan. He even gave a graduation address (through Skype) to the high school.
John had a chance to be on a Central Java radio station, and he invited me to join him on the show. During the show, the mayor phoned in, as well as the local school superintendent. A number of students also went to the studio to talk on the air with John.
Unfortunately, at the moment when I was supposed to introduce myself, and talk about how the internet could be used to help people learn languages — I ran into some technical difficulties with Skype. The irony was not lost on me.
You can listen this segment of the radio interview here:
(I believe I said a number of things, but…)
Nevertheless, it was inspiring to hear how much this town appreciated John’s help in teaching English through Skype. John also let me know that the station has been receiving hundreds of texts and phone calls since the radio show aired. The station may make a talk with John a weekly program.
If you know of other stories about how you have used italki to help people (or have been helped), please let us know at feedback at italki dot com. If you’re interested in helping John with teaching English classes through Skype in other countries, you can contact him through italki (John Warnken) or post on his group discussion. We’re excited to see how projects like this develop.
Kevin and the italki team