FORWARD

Making the Internet Easy to Use as an Instructional Tool

Editor’s note: There will never be a better time to grow with the Internet. This manual is designed to minimize your growing pains. We examine what the Internet is, how you can connect to it, and how you can use it. Also, we describe the different ways you can communicate on the Internet, identify sites where you can access information, and explain how search tools make your search for information simple. You will also find sample lessons that: provide specific goals and objectives; identify required instructional materials and resources; and offer activities that demonstrate how the Internet assists in meeting these goals.

The Internet is an important instructional tool, providing tremendous opportunities for adult educators and adult learners to communicate in ways never before possible and access information never before available. Yet, while today’s children are being raised in an “on-line” culture, most adults do not know how to use the Internet. Many of us lack a clear understanding of such common terms as information highway, World Wide Web, and e-mail.

There are compelling reasons to resist embracing the Internet as an instructional tool for adult education. It requires costly computers, technological expertise, and considerable detective skills to find the needle in this haystack of information. Fortunately, these pressing issues are rapidly being addressed, because the Internet is here to stay.

The Explosive Growth of the Internet

We have entered the information age, a period that will take us far into the next century. Indeed, futurists indicate our emergence in the age of information is as significant as the advance of civilization from nomadic to agrarian to industrial societies.

Information is knowledge. But information is also very big business and the Internet is the most powerful driver for growth in information sharing. In fact, Internet-related start-up companies are stunning the financial world by going public and achieving multi-billion dollar market valuations overnight – the largest in history.

The Internet is rapidly becoming integral to virtually every industry. To prepare adults for today’s competitive workplace, educators need to teach them how to use it. The Internet can open doors to countless opportunities, both professionally and personally, bringing the world to our fingertips.


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