The story of the Internet started in the 1950s with the development of electronic computers. The first message was sent over the internet from computer science Professor Leonard Kleinrock’s laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the second network node at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).
Vast researches and inventions made today’s most sophisticated internet platform that we are using. Within a fraction of a second, we can inter-act with anyone present in any part of the world. This opens the door for high-end communication and education.
Prior to the Internet age, students wrote with pen and paper, send it by post, waited for weeks to hear back from their friends around the world; Students have been connecting with pen pals to learn about other countries and cultures; many have even traveled to meet in person after decades of correspondence; Students fully depend on hard copies of the book and their school teachers; unlike today. Today’s extreme architecture of Internet not only overcomes the communication issue but also opens the tremendous opportunity of learning for the students.
Online Learning Opportunities
One might think that fast and easy communication through the Internet would have made pen pal exchanges even more popular — but in fact, the opposite has happened. Online communication through letters, have fallen out of fashion across the United States. Why? Teachers now face intense pressure to use every minute of classroom time to prepare students for standardized tests that have implications for their school’s reputation and funding. This heightened focus on testing leaves little time for activities such as pen pal exchanges that don’t focus on the skills that will be tested at the end of the year.
This decreased the popularity of pen pals couldn’t come at a worse time. Due to the rapidly expanding network of cultural and economic ties between nations, students are graduating into an increasingly international workplace. Whether students pursue careers in technology, manufacturing, professional services or almost any other industry, they will be working side-by-side and online with colleagues from China, India, Mexico and dozens of other countries. In an age when employers are increasingly setting their sights overseas, we can’t afford for our schools to shut themselves off from the world for the sake of better scores on a test.
Obstacles in Language Learning
While students in other countries may not suffer from the same focus on standardized testing, they face another challenge that is even more urgent: learning English. For students around the world, the ability to understand, write and speak English can often mean the difference between a life of poverty and an opportunity to build a career. More than 80 percent of the information stored electronically around the world is in English. Schools, governments, businesses and nonprofits have invested heavily in English instruction, but despite these efforts many schools are still challenged to find qualified teachers. Even in wealthier schools, many students struggle to learn English without every-one having the opportunity to interact with a native English speaker.
Real Life Awareness and Consideration
There must be literacy and cultural awareness within the learning youth of all around the world. Students further aware of the issues like, environmental sustainability, gender equality, human rights and other subjects in addition to world religions, international trade and politics, literature, cooking, athletics and many other subjects. Voluntarily teachers are also needed for schools and adult learners to avoid the barrier for the poor who can’t pay, so that everyone should get educated. All learners require a common online platform that connects them, to learn together, which helps to build the foundation for a more peaceful and collaborative planet, regardless of their age or topic of conversation.
About Joe Troyen
Joe Troyen has founded of PenPal Schools, an organization that connects over 100,000 students from more than 170 countries to learn together. PenPal provides a common online platform for all learners from all around the world for overall improvement in all fields. Before starting PenPal Schools Joe worked for 5 years designing software for Education and other industries, taught English in Spain, and researched the effectiveness of after-school programs in the Bronx. He holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Pomona College and is passionate about connecting learners and expanding educational opportunities around the world.
Pen pals may have gone out of style for a few years, but that’s quickly changing thanks to rapidly expanding access to the internet throughout the developing world and the universal desire to connect, learn, and share the experience.