Taken at the Royal Shakespeare Company
The right to use this photo falls under liberties specified by Creative Commons.
ePals is a global online learning community emphasizing positive relations between schools in over two hundred nations around the globe. Educators and parents will be pleased to hear that this community is highly safe; all e-mail, blog, and forum correspondence is strictly monitored and controlled. This environment is meant to foster authentic learning through the interaction with individuals of varying walks of life. Interactions in this environment will encourage students to understand concepts and relationships in real-world contexts.
Therefore, it is a natural consequence that ePals ties neatly into the ESL classroom. Cross-cultural collaborations promote learning about different cultures and ways of thinking. Students can discover the ins and outs of other cultures while articulating some of the characteristics of their own. ePals brings the benefits of pen pal correspondence and facilitates this process via the internet. Furthermore, ePals can be used to create class-to-class collaborations on a diverse range of projects. Imagine the possibilities that could manifest if we cooperated with another class halfway across the globe! This sets the stage for a valuable exchange of information and insights fostered by the interactions between two connected classrooms.
Additionally, ePals is beneficial due to its versatility. Students can use this service in elementary grades to practice literacy skills; students in any grade can use this resource to discuss—among other subjects—social studies, economics, history, English, and foreign language; individuals of any age can utilize this service to simply connect with another human being and to grow in this capacity. The direction of our society has shifted to accommodate the demands of a digital economy. It is only fitting that pen pal correspondence has caught up with every other area of human interaction. ePals facilitates this discourse and allows students to partake in a meaningful dialogue with others.
The ePals Science Center contains forums and blogs relating to global science and sustainability measures. In this center, students possess the opportunity to discuss current science issues that relate to their particular nation and discover how other nations are grappling with these issues. The center features an Invent It! contest wherein students design an invention aimed at conserving resources. Moreover, there are a variety of eco-friendly tips on this website that students can discuss. The ePals Science Center represents an exciting venture to connect science learning worldwide.
I might use this service to discuss concepts with students of other countries. For example, I might have students engage in a conversation with British students, to clarify British academic terminology. Or students can discuss any issues relating to the subject matter that may be pertinent in their home country. This can open a dialogue that communicates to students that these ideas have global repercussions, and that students from all over the world are learning about these things. For these reasons, the engagement in a rich, provocative environment such as ePals uniquely supplements the curriculum in any discipline.