9.436 e-mail pen pals?

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Sun, 7 Jan 1996 17:38:31 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 436.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)

[1] From: James O'Donnell <jod@ccat.sas.upenn.edu> (39)
Subject: e-mail student pen pals

The following message came over the transom from a correspondent in
Spain. I'm sure *someone* must be doing this already, but I would also
think that something relatively easy to set up could be very amusing and
profitable -- pen pals without having to wait a week for the letter to
arrive. Any pointers on contacts for this colleague? Any volunteers to
set up pen-networks?

Jim O'Donnell
Classics, U. of Penn


Dear Jim,

Thanks for your answer to my request of help. I am a teacher at
the a government-run language institute in Pamplona (Spain). We have all
kinds of students: university students, highschool students, many people
employed in import export business, people who study the language for
travelling, unemployed people, etc... Their ages range from 16-17 to 35
although the majority are in their 20s

The school teaches English, French, German, Italian and Basque
(the local language). Internet is still not a very popular thing in Spain
but I realize the potential of this tool for creating real comunication in
classes. In fact one of the problems we have when we have to teach writing
skills is that we do not have a real addressee. This makes all the work at
class some kind of fake simulation where we concentrate more on the
grammatical corretness than on the communicative success or failure of
what we write. . A group of teachers in the school are planning to use the
net in order to connect our students both to native speakers and to people
who use English, or French as a second language. We think that this could
help us in two ways:

- having real adressees
- having different people to write to, according to the interests of
each student (as the students are so varied some will be interested in
writing about teenagers problems in San Francisco while the
house-wife/husband could be interested in exchanging recipes)

At the moment the school is not connected to internet (I am
writing from my personal address) but it will connect in September. Do you
think we could do this with only one address? We also find it difficult to
find schools of our type in the rest of Europe. I wish you could help us
with ideas, contacts and experience on how to make use of internet on a
low budget (unfortunately I think this is going to be our case!)

Thanks in advance for your help