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ePals

By Charles G. Doe - Posted Sep 1, 2015
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Company:  ePals, 13265-A Dulles Technology Drive, Herndon, VA 20171; 703-885-3400; website: epals.com/

Price:  Costs vary depending on product. ePals itself is free. Magazines are available on a subscription basis for 3–6-year-olds through high school in both digital and print copies. Cricket, the 3–6 edition, for example, is $33.95 per year for print, $17.99 per year for the digital edition, and $51.90 for both bundled together.

Audience:  ePals has products for preschool through high school students and their teachers, school administrators, and parents.

Format:  ePals is a web-based service utilizing email and some social media including teacher, parent and student forums. Print copies of some magazine subscriptions are available as well as digital versions.

System Requirements:  ePals can be used with any computer with an internet connection. As with many products, this works best with newer computers on faster internet connections.

Description:  ePals Global Classroom, ePals Clubhouse, and ePals SchoolMail365 and the ePals Global Community facilitate learner connections around the world with safe and secure educational communities. These provide excellent digital content and foster collaboration between classrooms. Digital content aides self-study, and work can be shared between classes.

 

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:4 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:  A-


Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: : Setting up ePals for use is a matter of having computers with an internet connection and signing up students, teachers, and administrators for desired services. Some of the projects involve connecting with other classrooms for digital collaboration, etc. Installation: A

Content/Features:  In addition to stories, games and digital media and such old favorite publications as Cricket, Cobblestone, and others, ePals has three products of special interest: ePals Global Classroom,ePals Clubhouse, and ePalsSchoolMail365.These outstanding global outreach tools are excellent for developing classrooms with worldwide scope.

The ePals a global community offers students the chance to connect with other students in a vast number of countries around the world, although by far the most users are in the U.S. It even has a language translation feature to facilitate the process. ePals uses a free, extremely useful student email with complete teacher moderation available.

ToolsforSchool.com is a part of the site, allowing participating teachers to access classroom-tested curriculum and lesson plans created by educators and publishers from around the world. This includes lessons, interactives, printables, and more.

Students can access Focus Areas that include Biodiversity, Black History, Election/Inauguration, Geography Central, and Human Rights. Users can also click on the Projects link to find several ready-to-use projects (Habitats, Maps, Natural Disasters, Water, and others) or design their own.

An example of one such project was done with ePals classroom matching a high school class studying Chinese connected with a class studying English in China.

ePals can be used for learning at home as well. Parents can get children’s stories, poems, games, and other digital media created by award-winning authors and illustrators. Much of it is available for Android, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, and more. All activities and resources are safe and protected, including easy email monitoring. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use:  ePals is well-designed and effective but works best with students and, especially, teachers who are comfortable technology users. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support:  The Help Centre has a FAQ section and a number of printable materials to facilitate use. Helpful videos are available as well, or users can contact the site administrators for additional 
support. Product Support Rating: A-

Recommendation:  Children can gain remarkable insights by connecting with classrooms a long way away. ePals is an excellent tool for making these 
connections and for tapping into the world. I recommend it for all age levels. Highly Recommended

Reviewer: Charles Doe is a 39-year teacher including 10 as an elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools, 
Hastings, Mich. For the last 15 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools. His email is charliegd@sbcglobal.net.


 
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