I was surprised to see that there are so many interesting projects available on ePals, especially for those kids who are in their primary or high school. The Junior Folklorist Challenge, a project in which students can join to display the culture in their community. Participants can choose any form of displaying the traditions they know. This is a super significant way to protect the traditional culture. More importantly, it provides a stage for students to share their videos online. I am also glad to see that there are a lot of Chinese students participating in these activities and they are connected with the world through the four-week folklorist process. Another project in2books, which matches the students with adult eMentors, is also an interesting project in US. Students read books and share ideas about important issues with eMentors via online letters. This project combines adult mentors, motivating curriculum and technology to help students develop reading, writing and communication skills. This reminds me of the interesting notion by John Seely Brown in Siemens’s article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, “the internet leverages the small efforts of many with the large efforts of few,” which gives an example of elementary school students do better in a mentor program than they do their own parents or teachers.
However, these online resources are not only beneficial for students. Teachers can have multimedia resources and get inspired from these activities to improve their classroom teaching. According to NYLearns standard, these activities meet the standard-ESL2 language for literary response and expression, and standard- ESL4 language for social interaction. In my future class, I would use the feature of connecting the students with the outside world, inspired by the site ePals. My class would be interesting and relaxing. Textbook and teacher are not the only resources for them to learn. I will encourage my students to go outside of the class to learn. Online resources provide such a good opportunity, which can be one of my objectives in the future.