Pen Pals Use New Technology - to Meet Face-to-Face

  • Pen Pals Use New Technology

    to Meet Face-to-Face

    Sunrise Drive Fourth-graders in Mrs. Sharon Donnelly’s class spent last year corresponding in a traditional fashion by writing letters to their Brentwood counterparts in Mrs. Lisa Eaton’s Fourth-grade. While the students in both school districts enjoyed the opportunity, it was a special treat for Mrs. Eaton, since her daughter Lindsay was a student in Mrs. Donnelly’s class.


    “We wrote letters all year,” the Sunrise students explained, “and got to be good friends with our pen pals.”  By late June, both sets of Fourth Graders wanted to meet their pen pals in person, but scheduling transportation became too problematic that late in the school year. Rather than disappoint the students, Brentwood teacher Mrs. Eaton suggested they explore the possibility of using skype, a computer program which allows users to make voice and video calls via the Internet.


    Calling upon Sunrise Drive’s technician Mr. John McGinness with the question, Mrs. Donnelly and her students were pleased to hear within the hour that Mr. McGinness had found a way to make it possible.


    “Two days later,” the students recounted, “Mr. John came to our classroom with a camera and set us all up. When we came back from Gym, our pen pals were in our classroom waiting for us! It was soooo much fun.”


     Each student was given two minutes to go face-to-face with their pen pals.  Prepared with questions in case they became shy, the students proved to be anything but timid about being before a camera and conversing with their pals. “Most of us did not get shy. In fact, some of the students were hand signaling and signing things to their pen pal in the background. It was fun to see the faces of the kids we wrote to all year. We had some technical difficulties, but all in all, it was very successful. It was a really exciting day in our classroom, and we will never forget it. We wrote one last letter and exchanged e-mail or home addresses, and we promised to keep writing over the summer. Thank you Sayville technology department for making this possible; we loved it!

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