I recently had the pleasure of meeting George DeBakey from ePals, the “internet based classroom tool of the future.” ePals was founded on the idea of modernizing the traditional conception of a “pen pal” (something I did as a student back in the last millennium thanks to my teacher’s subscription to a magazine from Scholastic).
Today’s teachers can connect directly to classrooms all over the world. The ePals site offers search tools for teachers by subject, grade (K-12), language, and location. With a standard internet connection and a web cam, teachers are able to use Skype to make video calls that allow the children to see and talk to students in a classroom on the other side of the planet. Imagine teaching a class on ancient China and getting e-mails from students in Xian, a city over 3,000 years old and home of the famed Terra Cotta Warriors.
Yes, the world is becoming a much smaller place!