La Juventud Opina presents topics that young people find relevant to their lives such as Human Rights,Education, Health,HIV AIDS and the Environment, Bullying among others. This site, created in 1995 by UNICEF and available in English, French and Spanish, encourages dialogue on a wide range of issues affecting young people throughout the world.
Type of Material:
Collection. News from the perspective of youth.
Students can browse the home page for articles that interest them and/or teachers can direct students to a particular article related to what is being studied in class. The tags feature is a useful tool for sorting information. After reading them, students can comment on the articles, "like" them on Facebook and/or share them as a link on Twitter.
On the "Conecta" page, students may also participate in debates on issues ranging from natural disaster preparation to the influence of texting on grammar. "Conecta" also includes step-by-step instructions for students and teachers on how to identify and raise awareness of an issues in their local community.
Registered users may also create their own articles for submission to the site.
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
This site can be used to enhance reading, writing, listening and speaking skills as well as cultural knowledge, especially geography and history. In addition to Communication and Cultures, it easily lends itself to the integration of all 5 C's. It creates communities beyond the classroom, invites connections to a number of different subjects, and, with the availability to access the site in two other languages, allows students to make comparisons between Spanish and English or French.Reading and writing ability in Spanish at the intermediate level is useful.
Target Student Population:
Students who identify as "youth," particularly those in secondary and post-secondary institutions. Spanish language learners and students planning to visit Spanish-speaking countries will find this perspective useful.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The articles are not adapted for language learners, so students must possess and intermediate or advanced level of proficiency to access the materials in the target language. Beginners can read and learn about issues affecting Spanish-speaking countries in English (or French).
The seven main themes of the site - Human Rights, Education, Health, HIV and AIDS, the Environment, Poverty and Hunger, and Violence, War and Conflicts - comprise the key issues facing young people today throughout the world. Tweets and Facebook updates included in the right-hand margin of the site provide up-to-the-minute news of interest to the site's users.
Students who use social media like Twitter and Vine will be interested in the approach of this engaging web project.
It may be helpful to add "Technology" to the main themes as many of the posts explore texting, social media and other tech-related topics. These add levity when compared to other posts about war, disease, climate change and other maladies.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The topics are timely and interesting to young people who are concerned about the future of the environment. The material is motivating to students of Spanish who are interested in using their language skills for social engagement and volunteer activities. Topics from the Environment to LGBT concerns will give students the opportunity and the voice to increase their vocabulary, cultural awareness and language proficiency.
Whether they access the information on the site for comprehensible input or contribute to the material by creating articles, weighing in on a debate or conducting a study of a local issue, most students will be able to find an issue about which they feel passionate.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
With its sleek design, effective placement of Facebook and Twitter updates as well as its use of icons to identify which of the seven main themes are explored in each post, the site is attractive and invites exploration. It is well organized and provides clear instructions about beginning a local project or participating in the contests or internship opportunities.The technology is perfect for getting students together cross continent for good causes.
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