Site URL: ePals.com
Content: ePals offers pairing services for schools from around the world that are eager to learn from one another. Classrooms can access over 200 countries via live video chat, creating a unique learning community where young people experience a little bit of life in a foreign country while forming dialogues and lasting friendships. ePals represents the world's largest network of K-12 classrooms, and best of all, it’s free.
Design: A variety of educational projects cover a wide range of grade levels and course curriculums. On ePals, educators and students can partake in workshops and other collaborative experiences with their global partners. While learning to navigate the site might take some time, the benefits are worth it. ePals also features resources aligned with Common Core State Standards, a major plus to many teachers making the transition.
Review: With partners such as Smithsonian and National Geographic backing its expansive collection of resources, ePals represents project-based learning at its best. Though the site will probably benefit foreign language teachers more than anyone, ePals is in no way limited to that subject area. All educators will find value in a worldwide connection to other classrooms, and the projects they start will be limited only by their own creativity.
Classroom matching—based on descriptions and learning goals—is a breeze. Teachers should be forewarned, however, that they will be initiating a relationship intended to last for at least a course section, if not longer.
ePals is also extremely safe. All student email can be moderated by educators, and everything on ePals is monitored. Despite the site’s global reach, teachers need not fear inappropriate content in their forums, blogs and media sections.
Bottom Line: This globe-spanning service is the perfect resource for any educator seeking to expand classroom horizons.