Heinle ELT and ePals Launch the First Virtual Community for Connecting Student English Language Learners Worldwide

Safe online workspace facilitates collaboration for students and instructors in a controlled environment

Heinle ELT, part of Cengage Learning and a leading provider of materials for English language teaching and learning worldwide, and ePals, Inc., provider of the largest social network optimized for K-12 learning, today announced a partnership to create the Heinle Community, a safe and secure virtual workspace designed for learners to practice English through collaboration on projects in an authentic learning environment.

Members of the Heinle Community can connect and practice English language skills with other students and instructors worldwide using the “Heinle Student Projects” section. Projects combine Heinle’s language learning content with other high-interest topics, and all projects can be incorporated into each classroom’s online workspace. The community’s unique “Connect” feature allows teachers to identify classrooms around the world to partner with on selected projects. Educators also can connect in the “Teachers’ Lounge” where they can exchange project ideas, share best practices and explore professional development opportunities.

“We are thrilled to begin this new venture, bringing together ePals’ experience in building project-based learning environments and Heinle’s expertise in English language teaching and learning, to support our customers with new and innovative learning solutions,” said Vincent Grosso, vice president of operations, Heinle ELT. “With more than one billion English language learners worldwide, the Heinle Community aims to provide valuable tools and resources that will help encourage the practical application of language skills.”

“We believe the next generation of language learning for all students, including English language learners, will be delivered online through the combination of high-quality digital content and safe, community-oriented technologies that create authentic learning,” said Laurence Roth, executive vice president of marketing and business development for ePals, Inc. “Hundreds of thousands of ePals Global Community classroom requests include inquiries to engage in language practice with other classrooms worldwide. We look forward to working with Heinle ELT to offer language instructors and students a vibrant community for learning, teaching and practicing English.”

Each project and classroom workspace provides members of the Heinle Community with a range of Web 2.0 tools for collaboration – including blogs, forums, media galleries and wikis – giving learners the opportunity to use English in a natural and authentic setting. Additional resources include detailed instructions, teacher tips, a unique project picture dictionary, question bank and access to the online Newbury Dictionary.

Within the Heinle Community, students are granted controlled, moderator-enabled access to their classroom workspace. To ensure student safety, the ePals platform on which the Heinle Community is based, is both TRUSTe verified and COPPA compliant, and utilizes the latest technologies to ensure learners’ safety, including inappropriate language filters, content moderation, controlled connections and role-based permissions.

A free 6-month membership for select customers, beginning on Jan. 15, 2010, will offer teachers and students full access to the Heinle Community. The commercial launch will be announced this summer as a subscription-based service. For more information, or to participate in the free trial membership, please visit http://heinle.epals.com.

About ePals, Inc.

ePals, Inc., offers students and educators around the world a safe environment for building and exchanging knowledge through protected connectivity tools, evidence-based curricula and authentic, collaborative learning experiences. The ePals Global Learning Community™ (www.epals.com) is the largest online community of K-12 learners, enabling more than half a million educators and millions of students across 200 countries and territories to safely connect, exchange ideas and work together. The global community and a host of partner products are built on the ePals Distributed Learning Platform™, an online collaborative environment optimized for the education market. The company’s mission is to support lifelong learning through collaborative experiences that empower and inspire. For more information, visit www.epals.com.

About Cengage Learning and Heinle ELT

Cengage Learning delivers highly customized learning solutions for colleges, universities, professors, students, libraries, government agencies, corporations, and professionals around the world. Heinle ELT, part of Cengage Learning, is a leading provider of materials for English language teaching and learning throughout the world. Heinle is committed to helping learners become more effective readers, writers and communicators, and to helping teachers become more effective in guiding learners to achieve their goals. For more information, visit or www.cengage.com.