How I Use It
I have involved 12-16 year -old students into PenPalschools project. We have tried various topics such as Flags Of The World, World Explorer, Food, Fables and Fairytales and Fake news. I use this platform in the classroom to inrtoduce its opportunities to students to inspire them. We also choose the topics both in groups and individually.
Most of all students like videos and chatting, however they need encouragement to read an article and write their own. It s interesting, useful ans exciting to exhange traditions, values and to find coomon hobbies and diversity in communities. Students are happy to get points and to compete. What is more, they are excited to get certificates after completing the project, so I can say they become more better-organized. While covering the topic Fables and Fairytales I collaborated with my students' literature teacher so it was good facilitation and support.
Yes, some things did not work. First of all, some students didn't meet the deadlines or forgot to enter the platform and to do the tasks. On the other hand, schools in Ukraine do not have a reliable Internet excess or enough devices for all students to use ain the classroom.
I really like PenPalschools platform and I consider it to be a good modern digital tool that is easy to use both at school and at home and from any device. Both teachers and parents do appreciate that it is a safe Internet environment where young people can practice their digital skills, get some fun, chat with their peers from various countries. Another key point is that students can learn to gain knowledge on their own and share it with classmates or parents. In addition, students develop their critical thinking, learn to respect diversity and their own values and culture. They can use knowledge and skills in practice. What is more, it has the variety of topics creates more possibilities.