Need Help Getting Started?
- Transitioning to the New ePals Global Community®
- Overview of the ePals Global Community®
- Getting Started on the ePals Global Community®
- Connecting on the ePals Global Community®
- Collaborating on the ePals Global Community®
- Communicating on the ePals Global Community®
- Additional Questions?
Transitioning to the New ePals Global Community®
What happened to the old ePals Global Community®?
We have cleared out the Global Community to make room for new, enhanced features that take advantage of improved technology. These changes will improve your Teacher Connection Network and safe, secure collaborative Experiences in many different ways:
- connect with educators around the world to build your network
- know who’s active and who’s not, and
- message with other global educators
Will teachers and students still log in at the same URL?
Yes! You will still find us at www.epals.com. Your old username and login will work, as long as you have been active within the last two years. If you have not been active, simply sign up for a new account. Teachers will have access to our improved community first, and then students will be invited in after.
What is the ePals Classroom Exchange®?
The ePals Classroom Exchange® is synonymous with the Global Community as described above and available at www.epals.com, an online platform where teachers and students from around the world can connect, communicate, and collaborate.
What happened to my old email?
The Global Community no longer supports external emails between users. Instead, you have access to rich communication features in the Connections and Collaborations sections of the new Global Community platform. Please note that email messages that were sent via the old platform are no longer available for retrieval.
Will teachers and students have email accounts in the new ePals Global Community®?
You can use new messaging features to communicate with your connections, however, you no longer have an email address associated with your account. Please see the Communicating on the ePals Global Community® section of these FAQs to learn about these features.
Will my teacher profile transfer?
If you had a profile on the Global Community and you were an active participant within the last two years, your profile will transfer. To improve our ability to allow you to find and connect with other educators, you will be asked to update your profile and verify that we have your most current information. Any past connections with other teachers will also show up on your profile. New teachers will create a new profile in a simple, streamlined process making it easier to get started!
Will there still be projects?
Yes! In our new community, what we previously called projects are now called Experiences. You will find them in the Collaborate section of the ePals Global Community®.
Overview of the ePals Global Community®
How can the ePals Global Community® benefit my students?
You may wish to view our webinar, “Connecting Classrooms AroundThe World,” which provides a detailed overview of how to engage students with rich, cross-classroom collaborative experiences on the Global Community. To view this webinar, click here.
How can I learn about new features on the ePals Global Community®?
You may learn about new features as they are released by viewing our Release Notes.
Are any video tutorials available?
Video tutorials explaining how to use different areas of the Global Community (i.e. Adding Students, Moderating Student Comments, etc.) can be found here.
Getting Started on the ePals Global Community®
How do I sign in?
Teachers with existing accounts may sign into the Global Community using the LOG IN button in the upper right corner of the Global Community homepage.
Why can’t I log in?
If you are a teacher who has been an active user on the Global Community and you are having trouble logging in, please use the Forgot Username or Password feature to help retrieve or reset your credentials.
- Go to www.epals.com.
- Click on the LOG IN button in the upper right corner of the page.
- Click on the Forgot username or password? link in the Login window.
If you are a teacher who is new to our community, follow these instructions to sign up:
- Go to www.epals.com.
- Click on the SIGN UP button in the upper right corner of the page.
If you are a parent or student, use the email sign-up form on this page to be notified when we will be inviting parents and students to participate in the new ePals.
Why can’t I use my epals email to log in?
The old ePals email accounts were discontinued in July 2015. If you were a prior user, you will be able to use your old ePals username and password to log into the the new Global Community platform (ex: use “johndoe” instead of “email@example.com”).
How do I update my profile?
To update your profile, simply log into the Global Community and select the PROFILE menu item in the account area.
Why do I need a profile?
Only teachers with approved profiles will be included in the Connections search area. In order to be visible to other educators and to be available for connections, you must have a complete and approved profile containing your most recent information.
Connecting on the ePals Global Community®
How do I make connections on the ePals Global Community®?
How do I make connections on the ePals Global Community®?
Teachers will be able to search for learning partners based on country, age group, language, subject, keywords and more! Click on Connections in the black navigation bar. Once you find another teacher you want to connect with, click the blue connect button on their profile tile. Then, you can personalize and send a connection invite to them.
How do I re-connect with teachers I worked with in the past?
In addition to moving your profile, we also tried to preserve connections who you collaborated with in the past. Connections were created for any active teachers who were in your address book as well as teachers who participated in projects with you in the past. When you log into your account, you will see all of your prior connections on the My Connections tab.
If you do not see a specific teacher listed under My Connections, use the Connections feature to search for them and invite them to reconnect.
Collaborating on the ePals Global Community®
What types of Collaborations will be available?
The new Global Community will offer two basic types of collaborations:
- Pen Pal Exchanges
- an opportunity for students to communicate privately with students in one or more other classrooms
- Teacher moderation ensures a safe exchange
- Project Experiences
- online project spaces, where students and teachers in one or more classrooms can collaborate on projects using Discussion Boards and other messaging tools
- optional for teachers to moderate all messages among students
What is a Pen Pal Exchange?
A Pen Pal Exchange allows students in two or more classrooms to privately message each other through the My Messages tool. In this type of collaboration, there is no public space where messages appear to all student participants, as is the case in an Experience. Teachers can easily create two basic types of Pen Pal Exchanges:
- Class-to-Class: Allows your students to privately message any student in your partner class(es)
- Student-to-Student: Allows your students to message only their matched partner(s). Teachers use a matching tool to create one or more matches for each of their students.
In both types of Pen Pal Exchanges, students can privately message their own teacher.
How do I let others know I am interested in a Pen Pal Exchange?
To let other teachers know you are interested in a Pen Pal Exchange, take the following steps:
- From the homepage, click on “Begin Pen Pal Exchange”.
- Then, click on the “Show Me As Interested In Finding Pen Pals” button.
Alternatively, you may indicate you are interested in finding pen pals by going to your Profile page and editing it so that the box that reads “Show Me As Interested In Finding Pen Pals” is checked. You will be then asked to agree to our terms and conditions regarding Pen Pal Exchanges.
Once you have indicated interest, your profile will be listed in the Find Pen Pal Partners search results.
How do I initiate a Pen Pal Exchange with one or more other classes?
To initiate a Pen Pal Exchange with one or more other classes, you must first have indicated you are interested in finding pen pals. Once you have indicated your interest and are ready to find another classroom, take the following steps:
- Click on “Collaborations” at the top of the homepage
- Use the filters to search for classrooms that match your requirements
- After narrowing your search, click on the “Invite” button located on the profile tile of the user whose class you would like to include in a Pen Pal Exchange.
- After clicking on the “Invite” button, fill out the required fields – shown below with an asterisk “*” – and click “Send Invite”
Note: You will need to select whether you want to have a “Class-to-Class” or “Student-to-Student” Pen Pal Exchange under “Match Type” when on the Invite Teacher screen.
How do I add students to a Pen Pal Exchange?
When you first send an invitation, the status of the Exchange will be automatically set to “Pending.” After a user has accepted your invitation to participate in a Pen Pal Exchange, the status changes from “Pending” to “Active.” You can then add students by clicking on the “Manage Participants” button on the Pen Pal Exchange tile.
This will cause the “Add Participant” screen to pop-up. Click on the “Add Students” tab. On this tab, you may search for students who already have an account, or you may create a new account for them.
Note: Whether you have created a new account or wish to use a pre-existing account, you must click on the student’s tile and then click on the “Add Selected” button. This will move the student’s tile to the “My Students” area on the right side of the “Add Participant” screen.
Do I need to match students in a Class-to-Class Pen Pal Exchange?
No. When the host selects the “Class-to-Class” match type, the system automatically authorizes all students to communicate with all students in the other participating classrooms.
How do I match students in a Student-to-Student Pen Pal Exchange?
After the initiator and other participating teachers have added their students to the “My Students” area, the host can match students by clicking on the “Matching” tab of the “Add Participant” screen. Please note that only the initiator (i.e. host) of an experience can match students. There are two ways to match students: through auto-match or individually.
To auto-match students, follow these steps:
- From the My Collaborations page, click on “Manage Participants.”
- Click on the “Match” button, located directly below the “Match-Type” drop-down menu, as shown below:
To individually match students, follow the steps below:
- From the My Collaborations page, click on “Manage Participants.”
- Select a student from the “Unmatched Students” area. This will bring up an “Edit Match” popup.
- Choose the student to match them to using the drop-down menu, and click “Match,” as shown below:
How do I manage participants and moderate messages in my Pen Pal Exchange?
On the My Collaborations page, you can manage participants and moderate messages in your Pen Pal Exchange. Below is an outline of what you can do with the Manage Participants and Moderate tools:
- Manage Participants: Add teachers and students, select match settings (Student-to-Student or Class-to-Class), and match students (only for Student-to-Student match type). Note: Only Exchange hosts can add teachers, select match settings, and match students.
- Moderate: Approve, edit, or reject outgoing or incoming messages. Note: To be able to moderate incoming messages, you must choose this setting on the “Edit Settings” screen.
How do I change notification and moderation settings or close a completed Pen Pal Exchange?
Additionally, on your My Collaborations page, you can edit the settings of your Exchange. Below is an outline of what you can do with the Edit Settings tool:
- Edit Settings: Select the desired External Moderation Notification and Moderation Preferences settings, or close the Exchange. NOTE: Only hosts may close the Exchange.
What are project Experiences?
Project Experiences are online spaces where students from two or more classrooms can collaborate using Discussion Boards and other messaging tools. The Global Community provides teachers access to a library of these Experiences, organized into 3 categories. Each of these Experiences are customizable. Choose from:
- Cultural Exchange
- Language Practice
- Subject-based Learning
Where can I obtain guidance on how to manage an Experience?
Detailed information on how to manage your Experiences is in the Global Community Management Guide, which you can download here. The guide includes detailed information on how to customize your Experience, invite participants (teachers and students), and moderate student collaboration.
Can I create my own Experience?
Teachers are now able to build new Experiences with our “Create an Experience” tool.
How do I let my connections know I am available/unavailable for an Experience?
On your profile page, use the checkbox to indicate your availability to participate in an Experience.
How do I begin an Experience with another classroom?
To begin collaborating with another classroom, you will need to invite one or more teacher(s) to participate in your Experience. At least one other teacher must accept the invitation in order for the Experience to begin.
How do I add students to an Experience?
Once your Experience begins, teachers can add students by clicking the + icon on the Participants tab.
Then follow the directions in the Add Participants tool. You can add students by searching for them.
Or, you can add a student by creating a new account.
Are Certificates of Participation available to teachers who complete an Experience?
Yes! They’re available by request. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I share an Experience template I created with the broader community?
We’re always looking for teachers willing to share their ePals Experiences with us. If you Created Your Own Experience template and would like the ePals Team to review it for possible inclusion in the Explore Experiences library, please contact us at email@example.com
Communicating on the ePals Global Community®
How do I communicate with teachers and students?
For teachers, there are two ways you will be able to communicate.
- My Messages: You can communicate with teachers (to whom you are connected) within the Messages feature.
- My Collaborations: You can communicate with other teachers (to whom you are connected) within any Experience.
How will students be able to communicate with each other and their teacher?
There are two basic ways students can communicate with one another:
- Pen Pal Exchanges: In a Pen Pal Exchange, students will be able to message each other privately using their My Messages tools.
- Experiences: Within Experiences (online projects), students will be able to message other students in a public discussion forum. Teachers will be able to moderate student messages before they are posted to the public discussion board. Students will also be able to message teachers privately within Experiences.
The chart below summarizes messaging features for teachers and students.
Can students have 1-on-1 exchanges on the new ePals Global Community®?
There are several options for one-on-one student messaging within the Collaborations section of the Global Community.
- Pen Pal Exchange: In a Pen Pal Exchange, teachers can authorize private messaging between specific students, or among all students participating in the Exchange. This authorization enables students to send messages directly to other students through the My Messages tool, shown below.
- Experience: In an Experience, however, students can communicate publicly through commenting and replying to posts within Discussion Boards. See the Global Community Management Guide, which you can download here. Alternatively, the image below shows how individual Discussion Boards may be set-up for student pairs to work in.
Coming Soon! Student Private Messaging in Experiences! Later in 2017, students will have the ability to privately message other students in the same Experience, which will be moderated based on teacher-selected settings. Check our Release Notes section to know when this feature is available.
Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.