Email and Richard Scarry

My first memories of technology in an educational setting were in grade 3 or 4 when our class was corresponding with students from Australia.  We were given an introduction on this thing called email and we could write letters about life in Canada and would receive responses from our ‘Pen Pals’ on the other side of the globe.  In hindsight, I appreciate that my teacher would have explored email as a pedagogical tool to make the learning real when it would have been much easier to just have traditional English class.

Another highlight comes from the same class because once our weekly email was sent, we were allowed to explore Richard Scarry’s Busy Busy World.  It was a computer game and I don’t remember much other than if you clicked on something it would react and possibly a speech bubble would say something.  This was my only experience with Richard Scarry but now I often find I gravitate towards those stories in the library when helping my 4 year old pick out books.




  1. Interesting experience regarding the emails. You wonder whether the same kind of lesson (emailing strangers across the internet) would hold any water today. Could you imagine a lesson in which a grade 3 or 4 teacher would ask students to text (pretty much today’s equivalent of emailing for today’s youth) people from across the ocean? Some parents would freak out over the potential dangers of talking to strangers online if they heard about this activity being done in class today.

    One thing to pick out from this, is that teaching kids proper internet etiquette is a fairly recent requirement, and already it is growing out of date, as texting becomes the predominant form of communication. Can teachers ever keep up?

  2. I agree that email for this generation is becoming out-of-date, while some adults are still learning how it works! Texting, Whatsapp, etc. have even made voice telecommunications start to go obsolete. Students would rather type than speak, on the one hand avoiding possible interruption and on the other risking miscommunication with intonation cues.

    As per email correspondence with buddies overseas, it speaks to the value in relevance when interacting with the ‘real world’. That is, while we learn in classrooms situated in culture, we learn to experience the world as a larger place (of which travel is making all the more possible). I’m reflecting where I too can provide this ‘real world’ application to make assessment feel more genuine, beyond me as individual teacher.


  3. Pen pals and email — instant responses. When I was in elementary school, there was no email — we used paper and pen and we had to use cursive writing. Do they still teach cursive writing in school?


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