Off to a Good Start

To Keypal or Not to Keypal?

"You've got mail!" Students love to hear that sound and see those words. Receiving mail from a friend online makes the day brighter for almost anyone but especially for students who might not have much success in the class and perhaps not many close friends. Friends online give students an audience and a purpose for writing. Students who do not care about their poor spelling or their errors in grammar will often surprise you. They are more careful when sending messages to their keypals.

On the other hand, disappointment is hard to bear while waiting what seems like an eternity for mail from a keypal. "No one ever writes back to me." These are the words no one wants to hear a student say in frustration.

If you are planning to introduce your students to a meaningful and rewarding keypal experience, be aware that it will require time and effort for you and for them. The benefits are exciting and well worth all the effort.

During any keypal experience that is worth your time be sure to:

  1. Know your students
  2. Know your curriculum learner outcomes
  3. Know that your keypal partner teacher will be dedicated and faithful to the exchange
  4. Know your basic Internet skills
  5. Know your time limitations
...and have fun!

All About Keypal Exchanges

Teachers have been using keypals exchanges with their students for many years. My own students began in 1991 using the Internet to meet friends from all over the world. Our story can be found on my website. The history of our modest lab and how we started with very basic technology is also on the web for you to see.

Below are articles with helpful information:

  1. You've Got Mail! Ten nifty ways your teachers can use e-mail to extend kids' learning
  2. E-Mail Keypals for Fluency
  3. School Calendars Around the World
  4. Learning From International Keypals
  5. Finding International Keypals
  6. Getting started on the Internet: The Key to Keypal Success!

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Patti Weeg
April 20, 2004