ePals, Inc. and National Geographic Ventures (NGV) has announced a strategic partnership that will enhance the ePals site with National Geographic content to create unique learning experiences for classrooms, students and families around the globe. With a focus on building 21st-century skills — global awareness, critical thinking and project-based collaboration — the partnership is intended to benefit and strongly appeal to the rapidly growing ePals’ Global Community™, which reaches more than 13 million students and teachers in 200 countries and territories.
As part of the wide-ranging agreement, National Geographic has made a strategic investment in ePals. A representative of NGV and ePals will join the boards of the other, and the organizations have entered into a multiyear alliance and content agreement. Designed to revolutionize the way the Internet is used to foster safe and effective multicultural learning exchanges across media platforms, the first focus is to thread high-quality digital content from nationalgeographic.com throughout ePals.com to create unique learning experiences.
Initial topic areas of focus for the new alliance include maps and geography, habitats, global warming, natural disasters, people and culture, great leaders, water and weather. In each area, classrooms and teachers will be able to choose among projects that emphasize collaboration, 21st-century skill building and the use of school-safe communication tools to seamlessly work with learners around the world or down the block. Users will be encouraged to get into the act by building and sharing their own projects for use broadly within the community. In addition, ePals will enable users in teacher and student forums, blogs and other community areas to “Explore More,” delivering quality information in highly contextual ways, propelling learning forward.
“This is an extremely well-timed opportunity for National Geographic to play an active role in ePals’ Global Learning Community and to deliver our content to participating students and teachers around the world,” said Edward Prince, EVP, National Geographic Global Media, and COO, National Geographic Ventures. “ePals is leading the digital transformation of the education landscape into a more dynamic, cross-cultural, collaborative experience. ePals not only presents a rich learning opportunity for teachers and their students, but also offers a powerful platform for content providers to deliver their resources in a meaningful way.”
“The missions of our two organizations are well aligned,” said Miles Gilburne, Co-Chair of ePals. “National Geographic’s mission is to inspire people to care about our planet and to encourage geography education; ePals’ mission is to stimulate lifelong learning and foster global awareness in a safe and secure online environment. We at ePals are very fortunate to be working closely with National Geographic as it continues to create innovative and appealing uses for its content online.”
“National Geographic’s historic and unwavering emphasis on encouraging global learning and raising cultural awareness through its unique content makes it a perfect partner for ePals,” said Ed Fish, President and CEO of ePals. “Working together, we’ll be better able to help classrooms, teachers, students, families and entire communities use the Internet to make meaningful, collaborative connections across cultures and continents. We know from experience that these connections motivate students and teachers and help build 21st-century skills.”
The partnership with National Geographic is part of ePals’ ongoing commitment to create lifelong learning through collaborative experiences that empower and inspire. Last September, ePals made its award-winning connectivity tools and curricula available at no cost to educators and school systems. This shift from sub scri ption to free access rapidly expanded the ePals global community. It now includes more than 350,000 registered teachers and classrooms in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. More than 2000 classrooms are added to the ePals social learning network each month.
Additionally, ePals announced a partnership today with Intel that will make ePals connectivity tools and curricula the first educational application on Intel’s classmate PC, the affordable laptop computer for students in emerging markets. This partnership will extend access to the ePals community to millions of additional students around the globe.