Letters to Parents and Students
These sample letters are the from the
iEARN team to the students and parents of the student participating
in Learning Circles. If you are participating in Learning Circles with
some other group, it is easy to modify these letters to suit your needs.
There are three similar letters, in this file:
- Letter to the Parents or Guardians
- Letter to Secondary Students
- Letter to Elementary Students
Letter to the Parents or Guardians of Students
Dear Parent or Guardian,
Your child's teacher has joined with other information-age
pioneers on the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN)
to explore new ways to challenge your child's thinking. Your child will
have the unique opportunity to work with teachers and students in distant
locations by using your school's computers as communication tools. The
technical process is simple. Your child will be sending messages over
the Internet, a service that is used throughout the world. But what is
unique about this program is the educational design. Your teacher is working
with a team of educators in Learning Circles to provide your child an
exciting educational opportunity that will help prepare them for the 21st
How does it work? The iEARN Network links your child's
class into a "Learning Circle" with 6-8 distant classrooms. Your child
will be involved in writing for a distant audience of peers and developing
a project from beginning to end. Your child's work may be shared with
students and teachers in distant locations. It may also be selected for
publication in the Learning Circle publication which will be created by
all of the classes working together. One of the teachers, Jean Terry from
the Netherlands, had this to say about the learning experience of her
"I have never, in over twenty years of teaching, seen
kids work so hard on a writing assignment. They wrote, rewrote, proofread,
rewrote, revised and rewrote! With no complaints. I'm sure that it was
the idea of their work being shared with other kids in other schools that
made the difference."
Participation in Learning Circles can help children develop
valuable skills. They learn about themselves and their community by being
placed in a position to share this information with students in other
locations. Students often take this responsibility seriously and will
benefit from your interest and help. They will also learn from the information
sent by students in geographic and culturally diverse locations. Please
encourage them to share what they learn with you.
Your child will be working cooperatively as a member of
a team with group responsibilities. This will help them understand the
importance of planning schedules and deadlines. They will be exploring
a new technology that is shrinking the world. Just as telephones, television
and airplanes have changed the world you work in from that of your parents,
computers, videodiscs and telecommunications will change theirs. The technology
will continue to evolve bringing people closer together, but the skills
they learn working in Learning Circles will give them the working skills
they will need to use the new technology.
If you have any questions concerning their Learning Circle
participation, we encourage you to contact your child's teacher or ask
Letter for Secondary Students
Welcome to Learning Circles on iEARN!
We have developed a new learning tool to help you prepare
for the future. In the age of communication and cooperation, you are likely
to find yourself working closely with people who are located throughout
the world. On the iEARN Network, you will experience this type of interaction
by working closely with a team of students who live and learn in very
different environments. We want to welcome you to this new experience,
tell you a little bit about it, and explain why we believe you will enjoy
On the iEARN Network your class will be linked by computer
telecommunications with six to eight classes in different cities, states
and, possibly, countries. You will be able to communicate quickly and
easily with these other classes. You will be using a freeway of computer
and phone connections that make it possible for the words you type on
your computer to end up on the screens of computers in these distant places.
This new form of telecommunications is sometimes called "telecomputing."
We are calling the group of classes with which you will be telecomputing
your "Learning Circle."
You and your class will be asked to share knowledge about
yourselves, your school and your community as you get to know your Learning
Circle friends. At first, students in the Learning Circle will not know
what you look like or where you live. They may not know what your school
is like or what you like to do. They will depend on your descriptions
and your writing to get to know you.
Each class in the Learning Circle will have the chance to
sponsor, or design, a project. You will be working with your classmates
and teacher to sponsor a Learning Circle project. You will be able to
request the help of students in other places for your project. The students
in other classrooms will also depend on you to help them with their Learning
Circle projects. They may be asking you to describe local events, interview
people in your community, locate information or carry out a simple experiment.
They will look to you as information providers. Your class will be the
experts on your area. The work that is done on Learning Circle projects
will make up your Circle publication.
We hope you will be excited to learn with students in distant
locations. The students in other places will be eager to receive a "hello"
message from your class. Soon you will be busy on a Classroom Survey to
introduce yourselves. It may seem strange at first, but you'll be amazed
at how easy it is to meet and work with people through the iEARN Network.
Most students enjoy the excitement of meeting new people
their own age in distant places and in learning with them in an electronic
classroom environment. We hope your experiences in a Learning Circle will
help prepare you for the information age.
Have a great session,
The iEARN Team
Letter for Younger Students:
Welcome to the iEARN Network!
We have created a new way for you to learn. We are going
to help you work with students in different schools in other cities, states
and countries. You will be able to communicate with these students, but
not by talking on a telephone. You will be able to write messages on a
computer and then the computer, using a special computer phone called
a modem, will send your messages to students in other classrooms.
You will be working with a team of classes called a "Learning
Circle." At first, the students in the Learning Circle will not know what
you look like or where you live. They may not know what your school is
like or what you like to do. They will depend on your descriptions and
your writing to learn more about you. You will be sharing information
about yourselves, your school and your community as you get to know the
other students in your Learning Circle.
Your class will be designing one Learning Circle project.
Students in other classrooms will also be designing projects. You will
work together as a team on all the projects. You may be asked to share
your ideas, locate information, complete a survey, interview someone,
do an experiment, or express your feelings. You and the students in these
other classrooms in your Learning Circle will put your work together in
a Learning Circle booklet to share with others.
The students in other places will be eager to receive a
"hello" message from your class. Soon you will be busy on a Classroom
Survey. It may seem strange at first, but you'll be amazed at how easy
it is to make new friends on the iEARN Network.
We hope you will enjoy the excitement of meeting new people
in distant places and in learning with them in your electronic classroom.
Have a great session,
The iEARN Team
to GETTING READY