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An E-mentoring offer could match children owning OLPCs with adults in developed countries. The contact could have the primary purpose to increase awareness for each other and to stimulate intercultural competence while also training the language skills of pupils. With occasional emails the expenditure of time could be very limited for the participants and wouldn't have to impact on the ability to participate in local mentoring programs; quite to the contrary one could prefer adults with experience in any other kind of mentoring program so as to avoid qualification measures.
According to MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership 44 million adults in the USA are willing to serve as mentors.
E-mentoring could also be a valuable addition to the curriculum for high school courses in pedagogics.
The assignment of mentor and protégé could be made randomly. Protégés could be allowed to opt-out before receiving any email but probably shouldn't receive more choices, which could otherwise raise expectations and consequently lead to disappointment. Mentors could be allowed to select by languages spoken (obviously), country, gender, school type and age group of the protégé. Mentors should probably be advised that additional benefits, if any, should best be given to a school partnership and not to individual protégés.
High school courses could sign up as groups and request certain features for a group of assignments, e.g. scattering through the maximum number of countries and regions. This would also allow to register an interested school and a responsible teacher for a group of assignments in a database.
The OLPC could offer a registration process (similar to that of MacOS X, which can allocate an email address for you) to allow pupils to sign up for E-mentoring and to register their machines.
Promoting teacher education
To facilitate teacher education in least developed countries one could invite qualified teachers from least developed countries to participate in an E-mentoring scheme for pupils in developed countries. Teachers could receive an additional small salary for E-mentoring, which should be easily raised by groups of parents or parents' societies. The teenagers can learn about a remote country and the perspective of an adult in that country (intercultural competence) and the mentors can learn from parent education/mentoring courses of the E-mentoring program. The teachers could have to follow an E-mentoring guide, which could include Wikipedia E-mentoring. E-mentoring could also provide an additional motivation for teachers in developing countries to improve their foreign language skills.
- eTandem - In eTandem, you work together with a language learning partner from another country - by telephone, e-mail or other media. From your partner, you learn his or her language while he or she learns your native language.