PenPals in a Digital Age

PenPals in a Digital Age

Globalization has arrived. Are schools prepared for it? How can Technology help? 

Joe Troyen is the Founder of PenPal Schools, an organization that connects over 300,000 students from 150 countries to learn together through collaborative online projects. “Teachers used to be interested in connecting globally to bring more global awareness into their classroom, but now teachers are more excited about connecting globally to collaborate, create, and deepen the learning experience for students,” says Troyen. The learning supported by the PenPal platform goes beyond communication skills such as reading and writing to digital citizenship and social and emotional skills. Troyen says that teachers now see the value of global connections for subjects such as science and math. 

To date, PenPal Schools has connected 326,000 students from over 8,000 schools in 150 different countries. A big challenge for the initiative was school administrator buy-in. “When principals just hear the name and don’t take a closer look, they may not think it’s worth the class time. That’s why we’ve really made learning the focus of everything and aligned all content to academic standards,” explains Troyen.

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Joe Troyen is the Founder and CEO of PenPal Schools. PenPal schools was created in 2011 and allows students from over 150 countries to learn together online. The organization has been recognized by President Obama as one of the world’s leading social organizations. 

CMRubinWorld’s award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by most nations. The series has become a highly visible platform for global discourse on 21st century learning, offering a diverse range of innovative ideas which are presented by the series founder, C. M. Rubin, together with the world’s leading thinkers. 

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