Hundreds of people headed in Montreal in late January for
a one of a kind conference on the importance of Canadian History.
The Past A Future" was hosted by the McGill
Institute for the Study of Canada, from January 29 - 31,
Beth Ryan is the coordinator of the SchoolNet News Network.
She was there to do a presentation on using media to learn about
history. Student reporters at the conference sat down with Beth
to discuss SNN.
SNN: How did SNN get started?
BR: In 1996, the people who run STEM~Net came up with
the idea of using the Internet as a way for students to share
ideas through on-line communications. They pitched the idea to
SchoolNet, a national organization, and the SchoolNet News Network
(SNN) was born. There is also a French version, called Rédaction
SNN: What does SNN do?
BR: We explain to students how media works, and how
students can use this media and get their stories out to a larger
audience. We promote writing and interviewing skills, and teach
how photography and video work. And then we show students how
to put that on the Internet. We publish in English every month
and in French every two months.
SNN: How long have you been with SNN?
BR: I have been with SNN since last May, almost a year.
I come from a background in journalism. I worked in newspapers
and with CBC radio for almost five years. I've written a lot
for magazines and newspapers.
SNN: Who visits your site?
BR: That's a good question. We target students from
kindergarten to grade twelve. The site publishes news stories
from young people, written by young people.
SNN: What kinds of things will you find on the website?
BR: A broad mix in every issue. It depends on what
students want to write about, what's currently happening in their
lives. Sometimes it's about the Prime Minister visiting a community,
sometimes about the Winter Games, or even about fashion in a
small town. It can be anything.
SNN: How often is the site updated?
BR: Every month in English, every two months in French.
But if we need to update it more often, like in the Winter Games
where stories are posted more often, we can. That's the benefit
of the Internet. We can put reports on as they happen.
SNN: How can your site help students to learn about
BR: One section that we have looks at history as the
current events of the past. What happens today is history tomorrow.
We have a lot of activities and exercises that help with this.
For instance, we encourage students to go out with video cameras
and re-enact interviews of historical events such as the aftermath
of the sinking of the Titanic.
The great thing about the Internet is that it makes a country
like Canada very small, so we can all share our stories.
out an excerpt of the
interview with Beth Ryan
Faizaan Lalani and Chelsea Bryant are students at the Roots
& Wings Montessori School, Surrey, British Columbia. Emma
Hann attends McDonald Drive Junior High School in St. John's,
Newfoundland and Vonya Hanson goes to school in Brandon, Manitoba.