Heinle ELT, part of Cengage Learning and a provider of materials for English language teaching and learning, and ePals, Inc., provider of a social network optimized for K-12 learning, have announced a partnership to create the Heinle Community, a safe and secure virtual workspace designed for learners to practice English through collaboration on projects in an authentic learning environment.
Members of the Heinle Community can connect and practice English language skills with other students and instructors worldwide using the "Heinle Student Projects" section. Projects combine Heinle's language learning content with other high-interest topics, and all projects can be incorporated into each classroom's online workspace. The community's "Connect" feature allows teachers to identify classrooms around the world to partner with on selected projects. Educators also can connect in the "Teachers' Lounge" where they can exchange project ideas, share best practices and explore professional development opportunities.
Each project and classroom workspace provides members of the Heinle Community with a range of Web 2.0 tools for collaboration - including blogs, forums, media galleries, and wikis - giving learners the opportunity to use English in a natural and authentic setting. Additional resources include detailed instructions, teacher tips, a unique project picture dictionary, question bank, and access to the online Newbury Dictionary.
Within the Heinle Community, students are granted controlled, moderator-enabled access to their classroom workspace. To ensure student safety, the ePals platform on which the Heinle Community is based, is both TRUSTe verified and COPPA compliant, and utilizes the latest technologies to ensure learners' safety, including inappropriate language filters, content moderation, controlled connections, and role-based permissions.
A free 6-month membership for select customers, beginning on Jan. 15, 2010, will offer teachers and students full access to the Heinle Community. The commercial launch will be announced this summer as a subscription-based service. For more information, or to participate in the free trial membership, please visit https://heinle.epals.com/.
Source: ePals, Inc., www.epals.com/; Cengage Learning, www.cengage.com/