BEST Bloggers invade forum

The BEST Citizenship Forum, which is a popular part of the citizenship class, has officially entered the "blogosphere" and has been invaded by "bloggers." Taken from the term, "Web log," this new paradigm has empowered the students, who were once happy-go-lucky surfers on the information superhighway, to become critical thinkers (bloggers) with opinions on everything and represent every point of view.

At the BEST Citizenship Forum, students enter their contributions and, in turn, receive interesting articles from all over the world. They love to go there and read what others have to say and look forward to seeing new information. Following the tradition of the Internet, students use pseudonyms; it's fun and it gives them freedom to express honest opinions.

The forum makes the process more efficient, because each individual can contribute to the group simultaneously and all members can view comments of others at their leisure.

The students enjoy being a part of the Blogosphere. Not only can the whole world read their input but students can add to the concepts put forward by others. The written ideas, analysis, opinion and comments become a part of the community.

Often, the Citizenship class uses its new computer projector to view the students' comments posted on the Forum. If there are errors, they are noted and the poster must fix the mistakes. The teachers are seeing real improvements in the quality of students' writing and more confidence in their writing ability.

We decided to try using a forum on the Internet to teach current events, analysis and the ability to communicate well in writing. One of BEST's instructional assistants, Don Winters, played a major role in making this possible. He acquired the software at no cost, installed it, created our custom set up and showed us how to use it.

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