I never really accepted the theory of six degrees of separation (especially after the comedy “Yolki”), until I came across some research by Ross Dawson, a best-selling author who is “globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, and strategy advisor.” (http://myventurepad.com/rossdawson/84616/our-shrinking-degrees-separation-heading-down-6-3).
He explored the well-known phrase “six degrees of separation” that suggests that we are connected to every person on the planet by no more than six steps. This research has profoundly affected me. I started to observe the world and to notice that this “small world” is shrinking rapidly—yes, we truly “live embedded in an intensely connected world.” Ross Dawson’s research shows that “we are moving closer to four degrees of separation from anyone in the world” and the major player in this process is social networking. We have accumulated “a plethora of channels to communicate with people,” we even make “friends” with people we never met and our diversity of connections depends only on our interests. I am happy that I have many friends through Facebook and I love to look through my friends' posts in the evening....but the time I need for this has increased dramatically from 10 minutes to an hour and a half within the past two months. The research of 2011 states that "an average American spends 8 hours a month on Facebook." (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/13-ways-to-spend-less-time-online-and-reclaim-your-real-life/#axzz2TL0FGALm).
I, for one, am amazed at treasure trove of valuable information shared on the Facebook pages of English as a Foreign Language Associations, and I am starting to wonder if this will make our Umbrella Newsletter obsolete. Please let me know your thoughts: is the Umbrella Newsletter still a valuable resource for you, or do you feel that you have enough information readily available that it no longer is of great interest? While I wait for your responses, I would like to share some "gems" I found on a variety of Facebook pages to attempt to bring you into three degrees of separation with others in your professional sphere.
I. THE XIXth NATE CONFERENCE “CROSSING INTO NEW FRONTIERS – FACING NEW CHALLENGES” will be held in Surgut on May 15-19, 2013 (www. surgu.ru). You have always wanted to participate in a NATE conference, but many reasons prevented you from going. Not this time!
See the announcement:
ANNOUNCING NATE 2013 - the online version - with a daily contest for prizes!
NATE 2013 will be held in Surgut, May 15-19, but you don't have to attend to benefit!
Throughout the conference, members of ELT Russia Ning will be able to read session highlights, view interviews with speakers, and share the experience through photos.
Members will also have a chance to win terrific prizes, including books from Cambridge University Press and Pearson Education plus Memberships to TESOL International.
To learn more about the online coverage and the contest, visit NATE 2013 in Surgut!
NATE 2013 - the online version - with daily contests for prizes - begins May 16!
You can begin your virtual visit to Surgut by viewing this video!
To preview the program, learn about the speakers and presenters, and prepare for the contest, just go to the NATE 2013 in Surgut Group
Visit ELT Russia at: http://elt-russia.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network. If you are not part of elt-russia.ning.com, please get registered first.
II. All-Russia Lesson Plan Contest. Teaching Tolerance
Within the framework of the project “Fostering Tolerance and Cultural Awareness Through English Language Teaching (ELT)” that was launched at Umbrella 2012 Gathering, two EFL Teachers ‘Associations in Russia - “ELTA-URALS” from Yekaterinburg and “TUELTA” from Tula- have announced an all-Russia competition. You will find details at their FB pages https://www.facebook.com/groups/470849459625232/permalink/540999879276856/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/134100333405696/?ref=ts&fref=ts.
If you are interested in participating in this project, please write to the project representative Anastasiya Khodakova at email@example.com
III. FB pages
Even if your EFL Teachers’ association doesn’t have a FB page so far, you are welcome to join your sister association FB pages. Among the most active are MELTA, SPELTA, FEELTA, ELTA-URALS, TUELTA, ATES. Kudos to all of them!
IV. American English has now a FB page http://www.facebook.com/AmericanEnglishatState