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February 8, 2014

ePals – Connecting with Other Cultures

by Randy Ziegenfuss

penpalsThis post was written Carolyn O’Steen, a 7th grade student in Mrs. Beth Prokesch’s English/Language Arts Class.

Having an epal and using the ePals program in my Language Arts class has opened me up to new experiences. By having an epal, I get a new perspective when it comes to school. For example, I realize that I am very lucky to have my MacBook, because the kids in France don’t have laptops. I also learn neat things about the kids in France. For instance, I learned that my class’ epals have two weeks off for every major holiday, but they have to complete a project every time they’re off.

One thing that my class’ epals did was send my class a Smilebox. I think that the Smilebox they sent us was a great use of technology. Also, the Smilebox helped us put faces to names and it was a creative way of doing just that. Since our epals sent us a Smilebox, we learned how to create our own presentation on Smilebox using the program.  As a result, we got to help our epals put our names to our faces. Making our Smilebox was also a really fun way to introduce ourselves to our epals.

One thing that I have enjoyed the most so far was receiving a letter from my epal. When my epal sent a holiday letter to me through snail mail, it was really cool to see his handwriting and to observe how different it was from my own handwriting and vocabulary. Getting the letter from my epal was worth the wait, but I would rather receive a letter using technology. There are many benefits to using technology or a penpal kind of situation to make learning more fun. One of the benefits is that there are programs like ePals available. Another benefit is that letters go through much faster than they would by the postal system. To sum up my thoughts, I think having an epal is an awesome use of technology in my Language Arts class this year and has been very educational.

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