Idea for Secure Online Pen Pals for Children
ARE YOU INTERESTED?
Pen pal survey
Would you be interested in an
online safe/secure penpal
writing activity for your children
or your students?
I am thinking of setting up an online penpal system which would allow students of similar ages and interests to write to each other. I think this would be very beneficial and I think kids would love it. It would be motivating and helpful for writing.
Some important points about the system
The main goals of a penpal system would be:
FUN and MOTIVATING - with our current situation around the world, students are not in their usual school environments interacting with other children. And online penpal site would give a great opportunity for students to interact with each other around the world. They could even do this with other children they know - they could become penpals with:
friends - children they know
kids from anywhere in the world.
WRITING TRAINING - the system would collect data with all methods of writing, so students could write to each other with any one or more of the following methods of writing:
handwriting on a page, they take a picture of the page and then that page image is delivered to the other child / their penpal.
typing on a keyboard
voice recording - just talking. This will be for students who struggle the most with writing.
speech recognition or speech to text.
That means every child can be a penpal
no matter what their writing level.
DATA COLLECTION - teachers and parents can see information about the students writing speed, and they would also have the option of grading writing. This makes the whole exercise a more academic exercise although the child sees it as having fun and socializing through writing with friends or children around the world.
It would have all the necessary privacy and student safety features. Although there would be safety features, there would need to be some adult supervision. It would not need to be constant supervision, however, adults would need to check in periodically.
Only children of similar ages would be writing to each other. Children would have the option of picking other children with similar typing speeds so that they are more equally matched.
Children can connect with other children around the world, they would be able to select other children based on where they are in the world or things such as their interests. For instance, if there is a child in Europe who loves playing with Legos and riding their bike, maybe they'll find another child of similar age who lives in Australia, with similar interests?
In terms of writing activities with penpals, I would like to have options for open discussion so that students can write about anything they want, or otherwise some writing supports such as sentence or topic starters or suggestions. We could also include photos and images of various topics.
WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN THIS FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
If so, please let me know. I would also love to know your suggestions and what you would like to see in a site like this. Again I want to emphasize it will be strongly focused on child safety, and together with the built-in safety support and adult oversight, I think this can be an exceptionally motivating and beneficial activity. As with any software, there would be a paid and a free version. The free version would be fully functional and ad supported.
If you are interested please indicate your interest here on this post. If you have really specific suggestions please can you add them onto this google form. That way I can have all suggestions in one place and if there is enough interest I will work on getting this created.