I researched both Epals and the Center for Interactive Learning and Cooperation (CILC). I felt that both of these websites were good tools to use in a classroom
I feel that penpals have made their ways out of the typical classroom now-a-days and epals is an easy and quick way to bring that back. With epals the message is sent and received instantly within the same state, another state, or another country. There is no worry of lost mail and responses not being received for weeks. I love that having epals gives students a purpose for writing and encourages them to learn more about what other students are like their same age, living in a different place at the same time. Although it is difficult to facilitate, I wish there were some way a person could confirm they they actually were a teacher in order to make sure you really are connecting with another group of students. I think Epals could easily lend itself to video conferencing with other classrooms from around the world, perhaps even to practice a language students are learning.
On the other hand I wasn't as excited about CILC. Although I think it could be a fantastic place for educators to come together to work together on a professional level or to collaborate between their classes, I didn't feel as though this would be as useful for me personally. As usual I felt like the connection with other educators for ideas and tips is always beneficial, but I felt like it was more like "help wanted ads" on-line for specific forms and aspects of collaboration. If I had my own classroom I'm sure I would enjoy this website more because I might actually be able to participate in something like this with my class or use it as a form of extra credit during writing assignments. As a Science teacher I didn't feel like I would be able to currently use their services.
8 years ago