Collaboration is one of the many skills that our students need to practice so that they can be successful in life. To make collaboration even more powerful, teachers can add in the skill of working with people who might be different from us — collaborating with a group or class from far away. Up until now, that has required some heavy work on the teacher’s part in researching a possible partner classroom and then the logistics of creating and scheduling that connection.
Enter Empatico. Developed by The KIND Foundation (a philanthropic entity started by KIND Snacks), Empatico helps students discover what life is like for their peers around the globe by seamlessly matching classrooms through an easy-to-use platform. Its activities promote greater understanding of similarities and differences and help students build character skills like curiosity and kindness.
Empatico combines live video technology, seamless connections (meaning they automatically match teachers and provide tools for easy scheduling), and high-quality activities that are research-based and designed specifically for 8-10 year olds – all in one place. Teachers will save time as they no longer have to toggle between applications to connect with other interested teachers, schedule a connection, and find the right activities. Best of all, Empatico is (and always will be) completely free to use.
How Empatico Works
To get started, teachers can sign up on Empatico. You’ll need an Internet connection and a computer with a camera. Matches happen automatically between classrooms that are at least 100 miles apart. They are based on the availability and activity preferences that teachers share when they sign up. You can watch a 90-second video about the process here.
Currently, the tool offers four activities on topics of universal interest to students: play, weather, geography, and students’ contributions to their communities. Over the coming months, Empatico will collect feedback on the user experience, content, and features to continually improve the tool and will then release more content and features.
I’ve used a lot of collaborative tools in my educational lifetime. But none has been as easy to manage as Empatico. I strongly encourage you to register today and get your students collaborating with new friends from around the world!
As of February 23, 2018, Empatico has now rolled out resources for students ages 7-11, expanding their capabilities. They currently have more than 500 classrooms signed up from more than 40 countries and 47 states in the US!