20 November, 2010

e-teaching, e-learning, e-cultures through ePals!

I have just discovered ePals, and I must admit this seems like a fantastic tool for students to engage in multicultural activities.  Since I am in the English as a second language field I feel that many of these tools can be accessed through the proper use of my classroom. 

For the mainstream classroom, especially where students may not be able to interact with diverse populations I think this would be a phenominal tool! Students are able to interact frequently through the internet if desired or via postal mail if preferred.  The goal is for educators to provide meaningful opportunities for their students to engage in cultural discussions and realize that culture surrounds us always. 

With English Language Learners I feel that these tasks may prove to be slightly out of the range of the beginners, the intermediate level students would do much better.  This is a wonderful way for students to be able to express their experiences, holidays, beliefs, cultures and so much more.  I have discovered that there is a significant population of Hispanic students in my area which were born in the United States  yet they do not speak English at all.  I am sympathetic toward this group of students; it appears as though they feel that they are abandoning who they are if they learn English.  This tool would be a great way to validate their cultures, experiences, etc. and still encourage English use. 

Educators from all over the world have posted their desires, their class sizes, languages and experiences they may or may not have with ePals.  A world map is shown on the website that can be clicked upon; participants from all over the world are already establishing their accounts and are eager for people to participate with them.  What I have observed is that there literally are educators and students from MOST of the world's countries who want to e-learn about other cultures, communities, holidays, weather, natural disasters, how culture influences who people are etc.  The options for this ePals tool could be limitless; all we have to do is sign up and use our creativity to make learning meaningful for our students.  This is one great way!

1 comment:

  1. You are definitely thinking creatively.

    Dr. Burgos