Featured Grantee: 21st century pen pals build language skills, make new friends

Jennifer Nelson was the first to admit that her fourth-grade Spanish curriculum at Valley View Elementary in Ashwaubenon, WI, “was kind of dull.” She knew her students needed more practice to become comfortable speaking and writing in Spanish.

That’s why she decided to set up online resources about Ecuador for her students to explore and use in their own multimedia projects and tapped a site called KidBlog to allow her students to blog back and forth with their peers at an Ecuadorian school.

Nelson even set up live Skype video sessions between the two schools. The video session even attracted the attention of the local media.

How else did her students benefit?

  • Gained global awareness through real-time contact with peers in a foreign country
  • Increased motivation to learn a foreign language
  • Improved confidence in speaking a foreign language through use of technology 

Read the full story to learn more about how the NEA Foundation grant helped fund this project.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below: would you start a project like this at your school? How are you increasing your students’ global competency skills?


Lisa Mims
February 22, 2014 @ 9:00 PM
As a matter of fact, I do! We are pen pals with a school in Spain. However, instead of connecting with Kidblog, (which I also use in my class), we have connected via Edmodo! The kids "talk" to each other, share videos and projects! So far, our students have met each other via Skype. We will set up another "meeting" before school ends. A wonderful way to create global learners!:)
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