If you do not have access to newsgroups, go back to Objective #2 and pick your next activity. You will not be able to continue with this Usenet exercise. Perhaps your FL methods instructor will allow you to do something else in lieu of the Usenet activity--like providing brownies for the class discussion about using newsgroups and Usenet!
If you do have Usenet access, good for you! Please continue with the activity.
The next step is to get a newsreader. If you are using Netscape, you can use its built-in newsreader. It operates using pull-down menus, and a typical screen looks like this:
Some newsreaders exist as freeware. One such application is Free Agent, a newsreaders for Windows and the pc platform. Please note that this is just one of the possibilities for newsreaders. You can find more by doing an Internet search on AltaVista, for example, using the keyword "newsreader."
The screen you get when using Free Agent looks like this:
Once again, operation is facilitated by the use of pull-down menus, illustrated below.
You can download Free Agent
If you are operating under the Mac platform, try one of the following newsreaders, both of which are freeware:
NewsWatcher (This is a public site with a top capacity of 20 at any one time, so if it is busy, either try again later or use the next site below.)
If you have trouble connecting to these sites, you can always perform a Web search for the name of the newsreader you're looking for and find another download site.
(could be anything)
|news|| News--Usenet News
The Usenet system itself
(music, sports, games)
discussions of society)
|talk||Talk (mostly debate)|
Categories are divided in newsgroup names by dots, UNIX-style. The newsgroup for discussing the cultural aspects of Latin American countries, for example, is called soc.culture.latin-america.
In reality, many more categories exist. A more
comprehensive listing of hierarchies can be found here.
If you follow the links indicated, you will end up with a listing of k12.lang
newsgroups that exist and are targeted specifically towards the support
of K-12 foreign language instruction as well as newsgroups on cultures
of many foreign countries. Descriptive information on these groups is also
available. You can then use your newly acquired newsgroup reader to search
for the groups that sound interesting to you.
Find a newsgroup for language and one for culture and "hang out" on these newsgroups for a week. After a few days, you venture a posting, either in the target language if appropriate or dealing with a particular cultural topic or question. Print out the responses to your query and take them to your methods class for discussion.
Before jumping right in, it would
be wise to read a little more
about newsgroups in general and Usenet. A definite netiquette exists in
these groups, and you would not want to offend anyone or upset their applecart.