Joining an On-line Discussion Group
Once you have begun using e-mail, you may want to read and respond to messages regularly posted by other people who share your interests. There are a large number of discussion groups, or list servers, on a variety of topics where you can participate in on-going conversations over e-mail. These discussion groups provide a forum for group conversations and can be helpful for finding and establishing ongoing relationships with people who have similar interests.
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
Discussion groups, also called discussion lists or e-mail lists, provide a forum for groups of people to communicate regularly without having to send e-mail to everyone individually. Discussion groups are setup to facilitate group communication by automatically forwarding every message posted to the list to everyone subscribed. Once you subscribe to a discussion list, you automatically receive any e-mail message sent to the list When you send a message to the list server, it is forwarded to everyone else on the list.
There are two types of on-line discussion lists:
To join a discussion list, you must "subscribe" to it, kind of like subscribing to a magazine or journal, only joining an on-line discussion list is "free." This adds your e-mail address to the list and ensures you will receive all the messages posted to that list. In the event you want to remove yourself from a discussion list, you must "unsubscribe" from the list. These functions are described in the activities below.
There are a large number of discussion groups that you can join, and keeping track of them can be a full-time job. If someone has told you about a specific discussion group and you want to subscribe to it, use one of the searchable databases of discussion groups (see Internet Resources). If you don't know which discussion groups you might want to join, use the list of available Internet discussion groups at the Websites below to find those of interest to you.
There are also resources available on the Internet for locating and joining discussion lists of interest to specific groups. In the area of education, there are several Websites that maintain lists of discussion groups for educators (see Internet Resources). Use these resources to find discussion groups you want to join.
Once you find discussion groups you want to participate in, you can join them by subscribing to them and receiving the messages posted to them. To join a discussion group, send an e-mail message to the list server asking to subscribe to the discussion group. Most times, you send a message with the subject "SUB discussion-list-name your-first-name your-second name" or something similar. Check the information on the discussion group to find out exactly how to subscribe.
I would like to join KidSphere. Please add my name to your list.
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