Hello! We recently have been published in Busan Beat. Musa, our business developer, wrote a lovely article that I am sharing with our blog readers. Enjoy!
BUSAN BEAT AUTUMN 2017 BFIC“Storypal.”
International pen pal exchange projects are popular among language educators
because of their practicality in making language learning alive. Every day, on
various online teacher community boards, English teachers around the
world update messages looking for pen pal partners. The teachers seek
to provide opportunities to students to practice languages outside of the
classroom and to gain more cultural exposure.
However, the traditional pen pal projects demand a lot of time from teachers
as they need to find partners, arrange student communication methods and
logistics. In 2011, it was no exception for Heehwa who later co-founded, “Storypal.” She was interested in connecting Korean elementary students with their peers in Kenya. Through an online introduction to an after-school mentor in Nairobi, she got a chance to implement the exchange project between 2012 and 2013. Although she was able to find a partner, in many aspects Heehwa encountered the difficulties that are common in traditional pen pal projects.
From this experience, Heehwa wondered if there could be a sustainable support
the mechanism for teachers to facilitate international exchange projects in
classroom settings. The idea further developed in 2015 when she met Sumbal,
a Pakistani American who at the time was teaching at an elementary school in Korea.
Together, they started reviewing concepts and requirements of pen pal projects and interviewed Korean teachers who had previous pen pal experiences. Through these discussions, Sumbal and Heehwa decided to build an online platform specifically designed for like-minded teachers to address the challenges faced by traditional pen pal
projects. The two co-founded Storypal Inc. in 2015.
With the vision of providing an easy, safe and fun platform for educators
and learners to collaborate globally, the site officially opened in March 2017.
Having the head office in Busan and a research project in San Francisco, the site
currently supports early users, many of whom are from these two cities.
Storypal contributes to Busan’s vision of being a city thriving with talent, technology and culture by not only connecting teachers and students to international communities, but also improving their cross-cultural communication skills. All teachers can join for free. New members in Busan and San Francisco can request the Storypal team to visit their schools for orientation and boarding on Storypal.
More information can be found at http://www.storypal.co.