Technology and social media may be routinely blamed to have drastically reduced human–to–human contact and for alienating the human race, but a unique video chat project appears to have eliminated all of the shortfalls of digital interaction, allowing retired Americans to act as teachers for Brazilians.
Brazilian students who have wanted to improve their spoken English have participated in a language project enabling them to video chat with Americans. But what makes this project special is the fact that all the American citizens are currently retired and live in retirement communities.
These senior citizens have participated in a novel cross-border education project titled ‘Speaking Exchange,’ wherein these two communities have come together on a unifying platform that has benefits for all the parties involved. Conceptualized by Brazilian language company CNA, Speaking Exchange connects the two communities through a free video chat program.
The process has been exceptionally simplified thanks to internet and video chat tools. Any Brazilian student who wishes to work on his English-speaking skills can log into the app and select any elderly person who is free and available. The conversation begins via any internet enabled device and, thanks to video chat, the sessions are easier to grasp.
Retirement communities are able to register elderly participants who’d like to be part of the scheme, and schedule a day and time for the conversations to begin. The project is currently in trial mode, but CNA hopes to roll it out across more educational institutes and retirement communities worldwide, reports The Telegraph.
Interestingly, the platform isn’t strictly an education program, but rather one used to enhance the learning process, wherein the initial conversation is guided through a suggestion of topics before the pairs are allowed to chat freely. The final conversation is uploaded via private link to the company’s YouTube channel for teacher assessment, reports Business Insider.
Who else would be the most ideal demographic to teach spoken American English other than senior citizens? The elderly haven’t allowed their language to be spoiled or degraded by today’s tools of modern technology and still make correct use of all the aspects of the English language. Moreover, this project offers them a chance to interact with the youth and positively engage their free time.
Technology might have deepened the rift between people and reduced physical interaction, but that is because it hasn’t been optimally used. Projects like Speaking Exchange have proven that given the right intention, the internet can become a powerful tool to dissipate knowledge, enhance interaction and offer newer avenues to gain financial independence.
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