Autonomous Technology-Assisted Language Learning/Packages/ePals eTandem

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ePals eTandem Overview[edit]

ePals enables teachers, leaders of language groups, or even parents to find a group of native speakers of their target language (the language they are learning) for interaction. This package explains the steps of finding, creating, and running a successful language exchange through ePals, primarily as a foreign language instructor.

Muti-Language Classroom Connection 
Giving students the opportunity to have authentic conversations with native speakers of the language they are learning improves motivation, understanding, and practice. Imagine the rebellious student that does not care about his/her grade suddenly asking the teacher how to say certain phrases because he/she wants to communicate with a new-found friend in another country? Languages were created for interaction and expression between human beings, and giving students the opportunity to use the new language with real people lets them experience an actual purpose to their learning. Otherwise, the target language may just feel like a useless list of vocabulary words that they never envision themselves needing or even using.
What is ePals? 
ePals provides free forum and filtered e-mail services to help instructors connect with other classrooms and securely monitor communication between students. Anyone can create a profile detailing the age group, size, and type of language exchange desired. Forums are then used as post-it boards to aid the search for a match. One a match is found, the leader of a group can create "monitored e-mail accounts" for his/her students or members. Different filtering levels allow the leader have control from message by message approval to completely free-flowing exchanges. A built in translator including seven different languages is provided as well.

Theory[edit]

(under construction)

Finding a Partner in ePals[edit]

Before Getting Started - Precautions & Legal Issues[edit]

Although this section may sound intimidating, it is merely a reminder to approach virtual connections such as ePals with the proper level of caution. The internet provides access to endless resources and means of communication, both positive and negative. As a leader of the language exchange, one must lookout for the safety of her/himself and the participants he/she is responsible for.

  • Precautions
    • No background check done on any members of the site
    • No guarantee that other users are teachers, instructors, or even students
    • User profiles are viewable by any other member
      • Sensitive or personal information should not be included
      • Use ePal's internal e-mail system for all communication and contact until other user's identity is verified
      • Use your school's fax and telephone numbers for "real-world" contact with other teachers and instructors
  • Legal Issues
    • Administration and parents should be fully aware of plan
    • Parent permission slips may be necessary
    • Formal agreement with partnered teacher also recommended