e-Buddies in Action!
Each month, we are happy to take the time to highlight a school or agency that is involved in e-Buddies. Our hope is that this will be an opportunity to share some of the challenges and triumphs encountered through group participation in e-Buddies!
This month, we spoke with Mary Formeller from Damascus High School in Maryland.
How long has your group been involved in e-Buddies?
We have been involved for 5-6 years. We piloted the program when introduced in this area.
How many members are currently matched with e-Buddies?
What are some key challenges you have faced and overcome?
Obtaining email accounts that are reliable:
This year we used gaggle.net - it worked well - and the speaking feature was an excellent accommodation for students. It is free or you can get a subscription. The free version is full of pop-ups which are quite distracting. I am hoping to get a subscription next year; there are no pop-ups in that version.
Getting emails out 1x per week:
There are lots of interruptions with holidays, assemblies, fire drills, field trips, weather, special projects etc. We designated one day a week for e-Buddies communications. If that day was disrupted, we waited until the next week.
How do you make e-Buddies work with your group?
I use it as a project in my software applications class. I try really hard to have students write one time per week. Some students are able to write independently, however, many need a cloze type letter and fill in the blanks with their personal information. Next, they are able to type their letters independently. We hit on all kinds of teen topics; dances, music, jobs, siblings, vacations, movies, books etc.
What have your group members gained by participating in e-Buddies?
Students enjoy the communications - The program has helped strengthen writing skills, reading skills, communication skills, social skills, and technology related skills.
Do you work with a group of e-Buddies participants? We'd love to feature your group here! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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