I got an email about new free tools from ePals, including a blog and email for students. Just wondering if anyone has used these resources, including setting up ePals? If so, what did you think about them?
I know about a lot of free blog sites, but how about other email for students? We are currently using Gaggle.

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I'm surprised epals email for kids is free. I thought when I looked a month or so ago there was a per kiddo charge. I would think you could find someone here at Classroom 2.0 who would would share penpal kids with you. I also wonder, with the numbers of ESL kids and kids from other countries in our schools could something be set up with them and through people they might know who live in their home countries. Just a thought.
I've used think.com for student email (K-6) for about five years--it fills the bill for security, as a matter of fact it's too closed for my taste but the kids love it and love the rinky dink web space that goes a long with it. Good Luck in your future projects.
We set up an account for the school with google (that's http://partnerpage.google.com) and it gives us, among other things, the option to set up an email box for each student or teacher for free. The main advantages are that this is a web based email you can read anywhere, but you can also set up a pop access so it will work with your outlook or other email programs.
Of course the other advantages are included in the page you get. Ours is start.hillels.info (using the school's domain) and each user gets to personalize it to his or her needs and wants.
I've worked with ePals twice: first when I brought them in as the student-safe email service povider for Scholastic.com, then again several years later for service offered by Cablevision. Having vetted their technology and worked with the founders, I can vouch they've got a reliable product and a commitment to providing a safe email, blogging and collaborative environment. One post here made reference to the closed nature of the ePals platform but actually that's the whole point, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to keep out those with unsavory motives. You could say that ePals offers social media tools with training wheels but they serve a purpose. I'm sure glad I had out-riggers when I was learning to ride a bike back in the day, and when I didn't need 'em anymore off they came. Same deal with ePals.
I said think.com is too closed for my liking. I've never used epals. N.
Ooops. My bad.
I actually looked at epals as a think.com alternative but there was a fee for student email when I looked, another poster said it was now free. N
Since their recent merger with In2Books the original ePals email service is free as a loss leader. Not sure about their blogging or global community products. Suggest you visit www.epals.com for the latest.
Interesting about ePals, it's now free because it's been reimagined as an engine for social good. This NYT article explains the purpose and the business model that allows free service to education. I liked Richard's post about training wheels... that's what I'm looking for. Investigating ePals now...
Richard, thanks for sharing your personal insight!

ePals has the worlds's largest and fastest growing social network for education.... PLUS it provides access to online communication tools (SchoolMail and SchoolBlog). There are no pop ads in student email! AND yes, it's now all free! ePals has partnered with a variety of other educational companies, including National Geographic. It's also the global community on the Intel Classmate PC. As a result, they are now able to offer their safe and protected tools to educators and students for free.

Here's a training and resource blog to help you get started! http://sites.epals.com/ePalsTraining/
The down side of epals is that only one teacher can monitor a student. Works great in elementary school, but challenging in a high school or middle school where more than one teacher wants to utilize it at the same time. You could have one teacher monitor the entire school, but that gets kind if hectic and teachers can't take advantage of the class emailing tool.

I haven't really played with the collaborative side of it too much, but it appears to be worth while.
I just started using epals but am surprised that there can only be one monitor---did you ask them about it?



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