I was talking to one of our Indonesian teachers, and he asked about the possibility of connecting his class to one in Indonesia. At a recent SLAV PD, Camilla Elliott suggested ePals. It’s a secure place for teachers to connect their students to classrooms around the world, taking advantage of a cultural exchange far beyond the limits of the textbook. You can connect with classrooms either through the forum on the project index page or the search box on ePals’ home page. Through ‘classroom match’ I typed in ‘Indonesia’ and the age range of the students. There were many results such as this one:
I’m an English teacher at one of the middle school in Padang West Sumatra Indonesia. Our first language is Indonesia and Minangkabau but we learn English as our foreign language. My students are very interested in English and want to…
ePals is supported by project ideas and forums, eg. The way we are:
What makes me who I am? In this project, students will engage in a collaborative learning experience. Through email exchanges, students learn about the daily lives, cultures, climates and geography of children who live in other regions of the world.
The project structure includes essential questions, objectives and culminating activity. The 4-part project elements include pre-activity prior knowledge and context-building questions, an exchange of 4 emails with ePals, a presentation of information about ePals’ countries, and a reflection/assessment activity. Each of these steps is well supported for teachers with detailed suggestions, estimated time taken and links to resources. In the culminating activity, students create digital presentations about themselves and their ePals which reflect their newly found cultural knowledge.
There’s a project index
including topics such as The way we were; global warming; habitats; maps; natural disasters; water. Links to information are supported by National Geographic. The home page also includes featured teacher, video and forum, and top 10 ePals activities. There’s a running list of new classrooms that have joined, showing their flag for easy identification.
It’s a great way to use blogging for authentic communication and global connection, be involved in collaborative projects, use technology and build literacies. And it’s safe and protected by blocking spam, pornography and offensive language, and managed by teachers and administrators.