Technology First of all you need of course, a computer and internet access in order to write, read, receive and send e-mails. Students can send and receive messages in two different ways: -
Entirely independently by using their own e-mail address, and copying the message (cc) to their teacher (co-ordinator). o By sending a copy of the message to the teacher, he or she can supervise the student’s work. This is probably best suited for older students or students following education at a higher level. Sending and receiving e-mail via a teacher (co-ordinator). o This can be convenient for schools that have limited internet access. In addition to this, the teacher can monitor the student’s work as to content, spelling errors and linguistic usage. Evidently, this is very important to avoid miscommunication. This latter method is probably best suited for younger students and/or lower or intermediate level students.
Tip! Every student would be advised to make a file on his/her computer, naming it ‘e-mail project’ or ‘Go Round’. This folder should also contain subfolders such as; inbox, outbox, images and other heading. This way students can save all their work in a structured manner, without loss of documents.
Matching In order to make sure that the project can progress without complications, planning is of great importance. Before starting off the e-mail project it is essential that the two coordinators list the following details: - Dates for sending and receiving letters taking into consideration school holidays. You’ll find that one theme for every three to four weeks is generally achievable. - The age of the students. - The academic level of the students. - Matching students in respect to age and academic level. Making the right match is very important. - Study materials. Work with the same material. - E-mail addresses. Exchange addresses. - An emergency plan in case a student drops out. - Rules of conduct in writing letters. Tip! In order to keep the project going it is important that the co-ordinators see to it that students keep in touch.
Basic Rules Before starting the e-mail project with your students you should, of course, discuss the basic rules with them. The rules will help them reach a pleasant, motivating, efficient, inter-cultural dialogue. Especially in written online communications it is important to respect these basic rules, because there is no room to compensate for a lack of clarity in writing through either signing or speech. To make such online inter-cultural communications successful it is best that both countries work in the same manner. Rules -
of conduct: Golden rule: ALWAYS ANSWER! Always be polite. In order to avoid misunderstandings, use simple language. Take into account that jokes might not have the same effect as in your own country. - Do not give unnecessary personal information. Also be cautious not to do so in any online communications outside this e-mail project. - If someone behaves in an improper manner, contact your teacher (co-ordinator).
Rules for writing letters: - Use a letter size of 11 or 12 as this is easiest to read. - Depending on your academic level, write the letter in Word and make it no longer than one full page. - Always start your letter with a salutation and finish it with a greeting such as: “Kind regard”. - Always answer a question, show interest. - Don’t use too many CAPITALS in your letter. The reader may interpret them as screaming, which can be regarded as very rude. - You can use emoticons to underline what you are saying, but don’t overdoit, because they can make the information unclear. - Make an extra check of grammar and spelling, especially if you are not writing in your own language.
Procedures Keep in mind that each e-mail project has a basic cycle of activities. This cycle takes careful planning in order to allow it to run smoothly. Step 1: Local activities Introduce the theme of the (next) message. You and your students should then discuss the theme and decide what actions are necessary to write the letter, supported by the appropriate material. Step 2: Writing the letter Your students should first write a draft by computer. You should then correct these according to the criteria previously agreed with your partner school. Step 3: E-mail E-mail the letters that your pupils have written. Step 4: Confirmation Await a confirmation from your partner school that the messages were received.
Step 5: Remote Activities The partner school will follow the same steps as sketched out above, and prepare their own letters. In addition they can respond to the letters that were sent to them. Step 6: E-mail The letters of the partner school are received by you. Step 7: Confirmation Send an email that you received the messages from your partner school in good order. Step 8: Reading The mail that has been received from the students of the partner school is read by your pupils. Step 9: Local activities A new theme is introduced, replies to previous messages are written, personal news is added. The cycle starts again......
Evaluation In order to keep your students enthusiastic it is advisable to make an evaluation at the end of each cycle. -
How have your students developed on both an academic and social level? What can be improved? How is the contact between teacher and student? Do your students have remarks and suggestions?