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This paper explores the potential of telecommunications in education. It is proposed that classrooms begin telecomputing by communicating with "electronic pen pals," where students write for a distant audience and learn about different cultures through interaction on the computer. The following three sequential stages of the process are outlined: (1) getting acquainted with pen pals; (2) acting as resources for each other and discussion of common issues; and (3) collaborating on a project. The section on collaboration discusses electronic writing projects, electronic databases, and electronic debates. The use of telecommunications in the development of reading, writing, and collaborative research and problem-solving skills is examined. A telecommunications project that involved children writing for a real audience, conducted in a Withrow Elementary School (Stillwater, Minnesota) sixth grade class, is outlined. Benefits identified from involvement in telecommunications projects are development of literacy skills, personal and interpersonal skills, and development of global awareness. (MAS)

Descriptors: Childrens Writing, Collaborative Writing, Computer Mediated Communication, Computer Uses in Education, Electronic Mail, Elementary Education, Global Education, Group Activities, Problem Solving, Reading Skills, Telecommunications, Writing Workshops

Autor: Hunter, Barbara; Bagley, Carole A.


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