The Keypal Experience - Was it Worth the Effort?

Evaluating the Process

The goal of this course is to help you develop an online experience for your students that goes a step beyond the typical keypal experience. When students find friends online and send e-mail messages back and forth the depth of the exchange may not go far. While some students may be able to grow academically and intellectually from a keypal exchange it often involves hard work on the part of cooperating teachers to help students take keypal exchanges to a higher level. The age of the students is a factor as well as their motivation to learn more about each other and their different countries, etc.

After doing a keypal exchange with your students and another class online think about these questions as you evaluate the keypal process:

  1. Were you able to find a partner class without too much difficulty?
  2. Did your partner teacher answer your e-mail as quickly as you hoped?
  3. Did your arrangement of keypal partners work out nicely so that everyone got e-mail?
  4. Did the students in the partner class reply to your students in a timely manner?
  5. Did the keypal messages improve in quality and substance over time?
  6. Did the students feel that they learned much from each other?
  7. When doing the joint project did each class share the responsibilities?

What Worked Best?

After completing a keypal exchange with your students and another class somewhere around the world consider the decisions you made the worked best for you. Share these thoughts with your online partner teacher and learn what their successes were. What worked best for him/her? How could you make these even better?

What Would You Change?

What parts of the keypal experience would you change or do differently? Talk to your online partner and make a list of things that each of you would do differently the next time around. What additional resources (human and material) would help your efforts next time. Is there any way that you can make this wish a reality? Are there any parents or community members who could assist you and the students either in the lab or with HTML expertise?

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Patti Weeg
April 17, 2004