Welcome to Straight Talk About School
Review by L.D. Steele.
"No-nonsence, real-life advice from real people about how you can succeed."Funded by the GTE Foundation and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the "Straight Talk" web site is a continuation and expansion of a project started in 1993, the "Straight Talk About School" kit or STAS kit (cost $50). The purpose of the web site (and kit) is to help students get answers to their problems about life, school work and family. The site doesn't guarantee answers, but rather tries to help the students find the answers themselves. Each month, Straight Talk updates their site with a new "issue". The focus of April is in setting goals, or "Don't Dream It ... Do It!". In the upcoming months they will focus on job skills (May), gender issues (June), physical fitness (July), and time/stress management (August). The special features in April include personality and goal tests, speaking with and reading about "experts", talking about goals and reading other people's comments, and even a couple of computer programs to help students get organized. The "experts" and tests are accessible from the main page. The "Connections" subpage provides specifically chosen links to areas such as careers, college, financial aid and personal growth. There is also a "Talk" subpage set up like a guestbook with new topics each week, and a new contest every month - April's an internet scavenger hunt.
I found one of the more useful applications of the site in the "Experts" section. After reading a brief biography of an "expert," you can read through questions and responses that other people have asked the "expert." You can then ask a question of the "expert." The turnaround for responses varies depending on the "expert". Students can get advice and learn about other people's experiences in a very safe and non-threatening environment. There is no time limit beyond the end of the month, so students don't need to rush.The "Connections" links are deliberately kept to a small number in each section, and offer a good selection in each subject area. "Keeping Your Balance" ranged from amusing (The Shakespearean Insulter), to important with articles on how text anxiety can make people sick and the importance of sleep. Some of the other links in the "Financial Aid" and "College" areas were US heavy, but also offer items of interest to non-US citizens. The graphics are colourful, and despite being fairly numerous throughout the site, did not slow download. Navigation throughout the site is aided by links on the left side of the page and at the bottom. The site has been optimized for Netscape Navigator 3.0 or Microsoft Explorer. I visited the site with both Netscape 2.0 and 3.0. Using Netscape 3.0 offered slightly faster download times, slightly smaller graphics and a larger font for the text. Curious, I then viewed the site with LYNX (a text-based browser), and found it completely workable with text alternates in place of some of the graphics.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - APRIL 25, 1997.
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