Now known as "key pals
," millions of English-language learners connect with peers via e-mail as a way to practice reading and writing in English.
One example would be combining pen pals, an old technique, with the Internet to create electronic pen pals called "key pals
." There are currently only a few key-pal Web sites available, such as Teaching.com (online at www.teaching.com) and Kids' Space Connection (online at www.ksconnection.org), but I was interested in doing a project in the Imperial Valley to link my university students with children in local classrooms.
Their key pals
in Russia haven't communicated with them in days.
The students of John Thurlow and Lin Kondrick provided the Chemistry that ultimately made a bi-coastal E-mail relationship take fire, but the spark came by way of the Road Runner Key Pals
project, co-sponsored by Time Warner Cable.
For example, fourth graders log onto America Online to conduct research and communicate with "key pals
." All students in grades 3-5 spend approximately three hours a week doing computer-assisted instruction.