Welcome to PenPal Schools!
A little about ourselves
PenPal Schools connects over 100,000 students in 170 countries to learn together. PenPals ages 8 and up collaborate through high-quality online courses to learn about cultures and global challenges while practicing language and technology skills. Weekly lessons can be completed at any time from any device to easily fit into busy class schedules. Preview one of our courses.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much does PenPal Schools cost?
PenPal Schools is available to teachers for $10 per month. Each educator who purchases PenPal Schools will automatically sponsor a class that cannot pay. If you or your school cannot pay for PenPal Schools, simply select the free option and your class will be sponsored! School and district licenses are also available. Please see our Pricing page for more information.
2. How old are PenPals?
PenPal Schools connects people of all ages to learn - including adults! We provide courses of many difficulty levels, so you can preview them to pick the level that’s best for you or your students. While anyone of any age can join PenPal Schools, we only connect students with PenPals of the same age (+/- two years).
3. How does matching work?
PenPal Schools connects each student with a group of 3-4 PenPals for a 6-week exchange. Teachers do not need to do PenPal matching, we take care of that for you!
We connect students based on age, gender, engagement, and the course selected by their teacher/facilitator. The course selection helps determine where your students' PenPals will be from. For example, a few courses (like American Perspectives) connect students within the same country but most of the time PenPals from different countries will be connected.
4. How long does it take to get connected with PenPals?
PenPals are connected by the Monday you select your course to begin! Make sure your students complete their profiles well before the course start date. That way we’ll be able to connect your students with the best PenPals possible!
5. What should I do if my students join late or do not have a PenPal after our Match Date?
Please ensure students are signed up and complete their profiles by your class Match Date. If students join or complete their profiles after the Match Date please allow 48 hours for those students to receive PenPals. If students do not receive PenPals after 48 hours please contact our team at email@example.com so that we may connect them with PenPals.
6. Can I request a specific PenPals to be connected with?
As of now we cannot accept requests. In the future teachers will be able to request that their students be connected with PenPals from a specific country or region.
7. How do courses work?
Once a teacher signs up (click here for help getting started) and students are connected with PenPals the course begins. When the course begins:
8. How are students kept safe? As a teacher, will I be able to monitor my students’ exchanges?
Students are not required to provide personal information such as last names, addresses, emails, or phone numbers. PenPal Schools verifies the identity of all teachers to ensure that students are connected with real students of their same age. Teachers/education facilitators invite students directly and can review everything written by their students and their PenPals. Because we take the safety of our students very seriously, our support team is always available to help resolve any safety issues. Please see our Student Safety Protocol guide for more.
9. What technology/internet access is required?
Students can participate using any device with internet access. Students need internet access at least once per week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Lessons can be completed at any time during the week - lessons are asynchronous and text-based to accommodate low-speed and unstable connections.
10. When can I start my PenPal exchange?
You can start your PenPal exchange immediately upon signing up, or you can specify a future start date.
11. How can I change the start date for my course?
Teachers can now change course start dates via the Teacher Dashboard. To change the course start date log into your account and double click the "Match Date" to select another start date. For questions or assistance please email firstname.lastname@example.org
12. Is my username the same as my email address?
No, username and email address are not interchangeable! Please make sure to remember your username.
13. Where can I find resources to help me get started?
The PenPal Schools blog is a great place to find high quality resources for educators and students. Check out our Get Started guides for both teachers and students in the Official Teacher Resource Kit. Or learn about how classrooms around the world are using PenPal Schools from our Teacher Ambassadors and PenPal Profiles.
14. What should I do if my student forgets his/her username and password?
If a student forgets his or her password, educators can change a student’s password right from the teacher dashboard. If a teacher or an individual user entered and e-mail address when creating their account, he or she can request a new password from our log-in screen. If a student forgets his/her username, please contact our support team.
15. What if my student is connected with a PenPal who does not write back?
We connect students in PenPal groups to provide the most engaging experience possible, including the frequency of PenPal exchanges. If one PenPal in a group does not write back your student can still have a great exchange with his/her other PenPals! In the rare event your students PenPal group is unresponsive you may contact our Support Team and we will connect your student with a new group.
16. Why is my student connected with a classmate?
Because our population of PenPals changes every week we can not always guarantee that each student will be connected with his or her own PenPal. If we are unable to find an individual PenPal connection, we will group classmates so that they may share a PenPal and begin the course.
17. What should I do if a school break falls during our PenPal Schools course?
If students will be on a break during their PenPal exchange we suggest they let their PenPals know. Students can then make up the lesson when they return from break or skip ahead and complete the lesson before going on break.
Do you have more questions? Send us an e-mail at email@example.com