Collaborative Tools

New Educational Network Aims To Connect ELL Students Worldwide

ELL materials provider Heinle ELT and social networking company ePals have announced a partnership to create Heinle Community, a new educational network that provides a virtual workspace for ELL students around the world to interact and collaborate.

Heinle Community will offer several opportunities for both students and instructors, as well as an entire ELL classes, to interact in order to collaborate on educational projects that will help to further their fluency, discuss topics for projects and explore other members' work, and just practice their English through online conversation. Educators will also have an opportunity to connect, via the "Teacher's Lounge," to discuss ELL instruction practices, and find other ELL classes around the world with whom to partner on projects.

A spokesperson for ePals noted that the company's Global Community Classroom has received many inquiries from educators about the prospect of their students engaging in language practice with other English language learners. Heinle Community, he said, will allow the full realization of "a vibrant community for learning, teaching and practicing English."

The Heinle Community will offer a full range of features for all members, those learning the language and those facilitating their learning, including:

  • Interactive workspaces for discussing, designing, and executing projects;
  • Controlled, moderator-enabled access to classroom workspace;
  • The COPPA-compliant ePals platform, with content filters and moderation, controlled connections, and role-based permissions;
  • A full range of Web 2.0 tools, including blogs, forums, media galleries, and wikis; and
  • Reference tools, including a unique "project picture" dictionary.

A free six-month trial membership will be available beginning Jan. 15, and the partners said they plan to announce the commercial launch of the fully functional Heinle Community as a subscription service in summer 2010. More information and free trial registration can be found here.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.