Students excitedly went to their desks, put down their backpacks and picked up their iPad. They logged on, hoping to see three little words: You’ve Got Mail. The room suddenly fell silent and you could feel the students’ excitement as they opened message from some new special friends.
Third-graders at Dove Elementary are using the website, called E-pals, to communicate with students from Pamplona, Spain, and Reunion Island off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
“It’s cool to have an E-pal because you get to interact with people who have different cultures than us without having to go to their country,” third-grader Jessica Farbisz said.
The E-pals project serves two purposes: to develop e-mail friendships with students in Spain and to create presentations about the United States, Texas and the community to exchange with their E-pals.
“E-pals fits with every aspect of our curriculum,” said Kristi Wagner, a third-grade teacher at Dove. “They are writing, reading and thinking critically about their culture and the cultures of others around the world. The iPads and MacBooks have connected us to the world and are helping us to be global thinkers.”
E-pals also fits with several aspects of LEAD 2021, the district’s strategic plan. Not only are students incorporating technology into their learning, but they also are becoming global citizens through their online interactions.
“E-pals are super cool because you can email or video chat a person from the other side of the world,” third-grader Trinity Hernandez said. “It’s also cool because they may speak another language and you can get the experience of learning to speak another language.”
The communication with students around the world will continue, as third-graders at Dove continue to correspond with their E-pals throughout the rest of the school year.