Pikifriends. Sounds snobby. This innovative educational networking service can actually be seen as an extension of the classroom. Monitored by teachers, students communicate with each other by asking questions, sending notes, or posting a blog. Pikifriends attracts students because it is not strictly school, as it should not be, because it occurs outside the classroom. Students can commiserate over homework with each other!
Pikifriends is a safe and interactive environment for secondary students around the globe. To join the community, Pikifriends verifies both teachers and students as a safety precaution, and is constantly monitored. Founded by an American teacher in Tokyo, Jeff Dionne, it was initially set up to benefit ESL (English Second Language) students, but has evolved into a positive social environment for all students who share similar educational goals.
Pikifriends adds a new dimension to the classroom. Students gain a hands on experience interacting with different cultures, which is a great benefit to social studies and history courses, and helps students maintain an enthusiastic approach to their studies in general.
Medieval World History teacher, Catherine Cabiness, has chosen Pikifriends as a valuable tool to integrate technology into the curriculum. She feels Pikifriends allows her to interact with each student in a different way, not possible in a regular classroom setting, or within a limited time period. Catherine believes her students will continue with Pikifriends long after they leave her class.
There is no denying Pikifriends is a great innovation with lots of potential, but will it last? Jeff Dionne is confident it will. Will children be spending even more time on the computer? Will they be excused for it because it is educational?