Find an international penpal

Building empathy for others, especially those in a different culture, can be a great way to increase kindness and understanding.

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One aspect of digital citizenship is empathy. When one has empathy for others, one is more likely to be tolerant, understanding, and kind. Therefore, building empathy for others, especially those in a different culture and location, can be a great way to increase a sense of global citizenship.

In the past, it's been cumbersome to find students in other cultures and locations. Fortunately, with today's technology, we can. One such service is PenPal Schools. This service provides a safe online environment for students and classrooms to connect with each other. All messages can be monitored by teachers.

They even offer a PBL curriculum that is aligned to Common Core, TEKS, and IB. On their site is a list of projects that can be filtered by project length, time commitment, student age, and subject. Projects include learning about other cultures, multiplication & division, meteorology, cartography, robotics, and geography.

This service does come with a price tag, however. They try to help you with grant opportunities in case their price is prohibitive for you.

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

To watch a video of how this service works: For a list of projects: To review their safety protocols:


Join the conversation:

Photo of Paul Kim

Hi Mike,

First of all, thanks for participating in this collaboration between the Teachers Guild and ISTE. We really appreciate your contributions!

We’re in the last week of the build phase of the challenge on digital citizenship so it’s time to fine tune your idea before final voting begins next week.

Here are some things to consider as you continue to build on your idea:
- is your idea clear and will it inspire action from other teachers?
- would it be easy for a teacher to incorporate your idea about digital citizenship in their classroom?
- does your idea include some component of research and are there shareable resources?
- is your idea student-centered and does it promote agency?


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