This semester students in my two Globalization classes have been reading six different works of Global Fiction. In an attempt to allow students to connect across classes, work independently, and balance several projects at once, I made a Google site where each student has a page. Students complete work related to Global Fiction on their own pages and contribute posts to Google Groups embedded on separate pages for each of the books.
This structure facilitated reflective writing, some powerful artwork, and many interesting online discussions.
Last week I scheduled an in-person book group where students sat down together to discuss their reading. The content and the products were very similar to what we have been doing for weeks yet the dynamics of live, face-to-face discussion was a new, welcome infusion of energy and meaning for all of us.
It is important to take advantage of technology. It is also important to remember, and be reminded, that there is no substitute for the power of human interaction, live discussion, and meaningful connection.