I can really see the benefits to using ePals, a site that promotes world-wide connections and communication between students. What I found most useful was the ease in which to connect with other classrooms - you just click the continent/country where you would like to find a classroom and there are numerous postings from teachers who want to collaborate. I have wanted to get my students involved in a penpal/Epal relationship with another school, but haven't because I didn't know how to find a classroom or how to get started. In the postings it even says the age of the students involved and how many there are so you are sure to find a good match for your own classroom.
I also liked some of the ready-made projects offered by the site, especially "The Way We Are". The essential questions that the projects aims to answer include - how are we different from our ePal, how does the natural environment affect my ePal's life, and what effect does my ePal's culture have on his or her way of life. This goes hand in hand with my current classroom themes and is something I would like to use with my high school Spanish classes. The site promotes this specific project for elementary or middle school level, however I would like to modify the worksheets so that they are in Spanish and I would choose to collaborate with Spanish speaking students. Therefore this project would be at a level where my students could communicate with Spanish speakers using the target language. Additionally, learning about the culture and environment directly from a primary source would be exciting and motivating for students.
Check out the Epals website for great ideas on global communication!
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