After establishing an account on ePals, we can start a new project or join a project. Since students from different parts of the world can be connected, they can interpret an issue through multiple angles. It can give each individual participant a wider perspective and an open mind through intercultural dialogue, making it possible for them to have friends all over the world, through which their cross-cultural communication skills can be improved to a large extent. I find the cultural center fascinating, where we can find a wide range of cultural projects. For example, we can let students to create a cultural profile or make make a video of their daily lunch routine. Moreover, I think it would be beneficial for students to get a sense of accountability as global citizens, if we could put the Global Citizens unit into our teaching practice, where students can know more about the outside world by exploring the facts about certain counties or global issues. For instance, we can let students to do this Global Community Country Investigation, in which students can have a closer look at the social, cultural, political, economic and physical aspects of their chosen countries.
We can use ePals in EFL classrooms at different grade levels. For example, if we teach American holidays to a group of middle school students in China, we can initiate a project with students from America (Jennifer Nypert's students for example), who have been brought up in the target culture. We can assign our students a task and let them to conduct a questionnaire or interview with the cultural partners and make a summary about the American traditions in terms of holidays according to the response from the partners. Plus, we can let the students from both classrooms to make a compare and contrast between two cultures together and present and publish their works via other social media, like Prezi or class Voice Thread.
If we teach English speakers Chinese in an American high school, we can use ePals to build connections with a group of students in China (Peter Scott's class for example). We can design a series of cultural activities together. For example, we can let our students to do an examination of the Education systems in both countries. In this study, they need to do a research first to have certain background knowledge on the schooling system in the target culture. Then, they need to make a survey or conduct an interview with their partners to get a closer image of the given topic according to their partners' response. After they analyze the data they collected, they will be required to write a report and make a presentation on Prezi/ googledocs and share the link on class blogs. Hence, by completing this project, our students can not only get more authentic input from the interlocutors but also get more opportunities to use the target language, thus enabling them to improve their proficiency and communicative skills as a whole. Through interaction, students from both classrooms can learn new cultural knowledge from their partners.