Is there educational merit in having your students send e-Cards to each other? Yes! For both skill building purposes and for engaging digital savvy young people, e-Cards can be used in an educational setting with a variety of benefits.
Meaningful language arts activity
Inspire creative writing by assigning an e-Card activity. Students can browse through an electronic card site for suitable suggestions. Alternatively, teachers can assign a specific topic, such as a celebration, an ‘end of project’ congratulations, or encouragement notes. Require students to write a brief but expressive and original personal message with the card.
Advocate for a cause
There are e-Card sites hosted by organizations that support important issues. For example, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund both have web pages that allow students to send free cards. By choosing a card and adding a personal message, students express their support of environmental issues. Integrate this activity with a unit of study about conservation and stewardship to help students promote awareness.
Learn letter writing skills
Instead of a traditional letter writing activity, use digital cards to teach the lost yet valuable art of writing friendly letters. E-Cards have many conventions of basic letters: salutation and closing, address, date (some sites let the user set a future date for sending), letter body with the personal message, and preview feature for editing.
Suitable for primary students
Young children who have limited reading, writing, and keyboarding skills can use e-Cards with their appealing graphic displays and simple text. They can easily choose a card, write a brief message, and send it.
Creates a team environment
Sending and receiving cards supports a feeling of mutual support and kindness. As students write e-Cards to each other, they build a common mood of thoughtfulness, concern, and empathy.
Extends home-school connection
Students can send cards home to their parents, promoting communication about their classroom activities, demonstrating their technology skills, and cultivating a strong connection between home and school.
E-Cards can be sent for an infinite number of occasions: recognize school or class accomplishments, observe important events, and celebrate individual dates such as birthdays or graduations.
No trees are harmed in sending e-Cards! The ecofriendly aspect of digital greetings and letters supports environmental school goals.
Teach manners and courtesy
Young people should be aware of the formal language conventions of letter writing. Often online social interaction involves a much more informal use of spelling, grammar, and word choice. Sending e-Cards with a personal message is an opportunity to teach netiquette and mastery of conventional language skills.
The appeal of online social communication for young people is certain. We can tap into this attraction using e-Cards and, at the same time, build essential and valuable curriculum and life skills.
In my next post, I’ll list some great sites with free e-Cards that are suitable for classroom use. Then I’ll list some tips for both students and teachers when searching for, sending, and receiving e-Cards.