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Email: A Tool for International Communication (Part 1)

Think about these questions before you start listening and find the answers in the recording:
  1. What are the three benefits of using email as mentioned in this recording?
  2. How do online keypal projects differ from traditional pen friend programs?

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Sending and reading email has quickly become one of the most common daily activities around the world, either for business or pleasure. Now, more and more teachers and students are using this form of communication to improve their language skills, particularly English.

Several reasons why email has become a great tool is that it is fast, convenient, and affordable. One particular activity that takes advantage of these points is a keypal exchange. In the past, teachers often organized pen friends project where their students would exchange letters with another group of students in another country. However, the turn-around time for sending and receiving traditional letters (and then follow-up replies) can take up to month for the whole process, and by that time, students might lose interest in the project or the class might end before a series of meaningful exchanges can take place. Furthermore, student have to pay international postage to send the letters, something the students might be unwilling to do.

With email, however, messages can be sent at a click of a button at school, home, or an Internet cafe, and if you are using a free email account, the cost is free (not taking into account any Internet Service Provider fees you have to pay). Instead of waiting days or weeks for a response, students can receive a reply within days, hours, or even minutes.

Email has a lot to offer for language learners and teachers in the classroom.


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