Video Pen Pals
Inspiring global citizenship in K-12 students
through immersive video conversations
What is Video Pen Pals all about?
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We partner you with a classroom that is similar in focus and grade level. In some cases, we partner schools for multiple-year relationships.
We provide online tools to help you communicate and create videos to share with your classroom partners. All of our tools are easy to use!
Students develop critical thinking, presentation and collaboration skills while confronting unique perspectives in dialogue with their partners.
We partner with schools all over the US and India,
with more new countries paticipating in 2016
...more coming soon!
Our web platform lets you chat, collaborate, and
share videos at your own convenience
Write to your partner
Post student questions
Contact our support team
Pen Pal Videos
Record and edit easily
Upload videos securely
Watch with subtitles
Planning and Review
Plan with a shared calendar
Get custom topic suggestions
Check progress or get feedback
Classrooms choose from our Topic Tracks to guide their discussions
Students share details and ask questions about each other’s lives, examining similarities and differences between their cultures.
For younger students, our topic guides cover clasroom routines, cultural holidays, urban landscapes, and student interests.
Older students will compare cultural opinions on equality, religion, human rights, etc.
Students engage with complex global issues and learn to recognize and understand their peers’ perspectives.
Younger students will tackle topics like thankfulness, sharing, peace, and conflict both inside and outside the classroom.
Older students will compare perspectives on climate change, terrorism, democracy, and more.
Through consecutive videos, you and your partner class will delve deeply into a particular issue and work on coming up with a solution.
Younger students might compare number systems or develop recycling and composting systems for their schools.
Older students might develop policies to tackle air pollution or examine urban planning in their communities.
Let us know which program you’re interested in.
We’ll get back to you right away!
Partnered with US or India
Built around your needs
A global school partnership based on your requests
Connection to an existing sister school or school network
Custom hardware to connect with classrooms lacking infrastructure
Custom curriculum support to match your specific goals
Frequently asked questions
Is this program a good fit for my classroom?
Would your students enjoy exposure to their peers around the world? Do you believe your students could benefit from learning about other cultures or global issues? Would you like a program that develops presentation skills and critical thinking? Are you looking for something fun? If any of these apply, our Partnership program could be a great addition to your classroom.
Is this program a good fit for my school?
Does your school put special emphasis on teaching global education? Do students have opportunities to engage with the rest of the world in their homeroom or specialized classes? Is your school looking to expand its global sister school network? If any of these apply, our Custom or Partnership program could be great additions to your school.
How much does the program cost?
We do not have a fixed price for our program. Our costs depend on the duration of program, the number of classrooms, and the specifics of your relationship. Get in touch with us and we’ll help determine the program costs for you.
How can I learn more about enrollment?
Our team is happy to conduct an individual phone call (or in-person visit) with anyone interested in our program. Send us a message to get in touch.
What are the start and end dates of the program?
Our 2016-17 Partnership program begins in September and runs through April. Classrooms can enroll in the program for one or two years.
Trials or custom programs can begin at any point of the year, including over the summer. The length of a trial or custom program is determined based on your unique needs.
How much time does the program take?
Using our video editing and sharing tools, most teachers spend a total of 30 minutes planning and recording a video or watching and discussing a response. We’ve developed a framework for a weekly exchange of videos, but the number of videos you send is ultimately up to you. Whether you choose to record 2 videos or 4 videos a month, our team is here to make it a quick and easy process. Teachers may spend an additional 10 minutes each week sending messages to their partner and our team members.
Is this program aligned to my curriculum?
In the beginning of the program, you and your partner teacher will agree on a particular Topic Track that is aligned to your goals for the program. For example, you may wish to focus on global problem solving instead of cultural sharing. Each Track we provide contains an outline of topics and prompts to guide you throughout the conversation. Your class can also come up with your own prompts through the year to personalize the conversation further.
Is this program similar to Skype in the classroom?
Video Pen Pals is not a program based on real-time video exchanges (Skype or Google Hangouts). Instead, we use asynchronous videos to create a learning experience that goes beyond what a classroom Skype session can provide. We want students to work together to plan their videos, record their experiences outside the classroom, and ultimately discuss and analyze what they’ve learned together. As an added bonus, there is no need to worry about poor internet connections or navigating time zone differences.
Are India and US the only countries I can partner with?
Next year, our primary partnerships are with schools and NGOs in India and the US. We are working to scale Video Pen Pals to other countries and have already piloted it in Canada and South Korea. If you have a particular connection in mind, please contact us about developing a custom program.
Do I need to be good with technology to participate?
LumenEd has developed a web and mobile application to make the program simple and intuitive. The web app provides useful tools like messaging, a calendar and a video timeline and our app makes creating videos easy for anyone. Teachers don’t need to know how to use iMovie or other video editing tools to participate.
What technology do I need to participate?
We require teachers have access to a smartphone or tablet to record videos, and projector or screen to watch videos. Teachers are also required to have internet to access videos, messages and other tools from our Web App.