- How much does PenPal Schools cost?
- How old are PenPals?
- How does matching work?
- How long does it take to get matched with a PenPal?
- Can I request a specific match?
- How do courses work?
- How are students kept safe? As a teacher, will I be able to monitor my students’ exchanges?
- What technology/internet access is required?
- When can I start my PenPal exchange?
- How can I change the start date for my course?
- Is my username the same as my email address?
- Where can I find resources to help me get started?
- What should I do if my student forgets his/her password?
- What if my student is matched with a PenPal who does not write back?
- Why is my student matched with a classmate?
- Why does my student have more than one PenPal?
1. How much does PenPal Schools cost?
PenPal Schools is available for $10 per month or $25 for one 6-week course. 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!
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 match students with PenPals of the same age (+/- three years).
3. How does matching work?
PenPal Schools matches each student with their own PenPal. Teachers do not need to do PenPal matching, we take care of that for you!
We match students based on age, gender, location, 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
4. How long does it take to get matched with a PenPal?
PenPals are matched 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 match your students with the best PenPals possible!
5. Can I request a specific match?
Unfortunately (for now) we do not accept matching requests. In the future people will be able to choose their PenPal’s country, and teachers will be able to match their class with a partner class so that all of their students have PenPals from the same place.
6. How do courses work?
Once a teacher signs up (click here for help getting started) and students are matched with PenPals the course begins. When the course begins:
- Students must log in to www.penpalschools.com each week during the six week course.
- Once logged in, students must complete the weekly lesson. Weekly lessons consist of watching a video, reading a text and answering a discussion question. Lessons should take about forty-five minutes to complete and can be divded over multiple days.
- Student answers are sent to their PenPals via our online PenPal messenger located right next to each week's lesson.
- PenPals then respond with their own ideas and perspectives.
7. 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 matched 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. How can I change the start date for my course?
At this time we must do this manually. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your start date changed.
11. Is my username the same as my email address?
No, username and password are not interchangable! Please make sure to remember your username.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. What if my student is matched with a PenPal who does not write back?
If a student’s PenPal does not respond over the course of seven days, reach out to us by e-mailing email@example.com and we'll gladly find your student a new PenPal.
15. Why is my student matched with a classmate?
Because our population of PenPals changes every week we can not always guarantee that each student will be matched with his or her own PenPal. If we are unable to find an individual PenPal match, we will group classmates so that they may share a PenPal and begin the course.
16. Why does my student have more than one PenPal?
If we are unable to find an individual PenPal match, we will group classmates so that they may share a PenPal and begin the course.
Do you have more questions? Please leave a comment below!