One of the most useful features on your Internet browser may be the bookmark feature. This feature allows you to create a bookmark which points to a specific page on the web, so that returning to a useful or frequently accessed site is quick and easy. This feature has several different names, depending on the browser being used. In Netscape, this option is called bookmarks, in America Online, they are known as favorite places, in Mosaic they are hotlists and in Microsoft Internet Explorer, they are called favorites. For simplicity, this article will refer to this feature as bookmarks.
When users find a web site they might like to return to, they use the appropriate command to tag this site; it then becomes part of their bookmark list. This is particularly useful for dynamic sites with regularly changing information. For example, because of the regular updating made on the OLRC s OLRC site, many users find it helpful to bookmark
Bookmarks can be organized into categories and subcategories as well. This allows the user to keep categorized lists of their most often used or favorite sites which can be moved, renamed or deleted easily. To edit a bookmark file, click on the bookmark type option of your browser, and select the option for "organize" or "go to" bookmarks. Then use the appropriate commands to organize them.
(The specifics for using each different browser's bookmark option are too lengthy to address here. Please use your browser s HELP feature to learn about the features of your specific browser.)
Bookmarks can also provide a simple way for instructors to organize resources for students. Appropriate web sites for students can be grouped however needed. Resources could be grouped very generally by type, such as "Math" or "GED Preparation" or they could be grouped to fit in with other class activities. For instance, sites could be grouped for use with an appropriate session, by name or number, such as Session One, Session Two, etc. Then, a student would know by looking under "Session Two" bookmarks, for example, they would find resources supplementing information which was coveredin that session.
Knowing how to use bookmarks is not a necessity for web browsing; however, using them can make time spent on the web less frustrating and more productive.
Web Sites to Explore
Parents can get guidance at Family Information Center of the Clearinghouse on Reading, English & Communication which offers parents more than 24 free brochures which explore such questions as "How important is homework?" and "How can I improve my childs reading?"
Parents and Children Together Online is a wonderful web site filled with stories for children to share with their parents. It is divided by grades preK-3 and 4-6.
The Louvre takes you directly to the Louvre in Paris where you can view some of the treasures of the Louvre, learn about its history, or visit nearby Arc de Triomphe.
USA Today and TV Guide
Students may be familiar with USA Today or the TV Guide. Now, both of these have web sites which capture the changing news of the publications. Find out the latest news, weather, and sports each day by going to USA Tuday. The TV Guide site at not only provides information on TV listings, but contains many articles and interactive information. This site does require registration, but there is no cost to sign up.
Evaluating Information on the Web
Many teachers are concerned about evaluating the information found on the Web. The web site has some interesting ideas and tips on evaluation.
Classroom Connect is an organization that produces newsletters, books, videos, CD ROMs, seminars, and conferences for K-12 educators to make it easy to use the Internet in schools. There is a wealth of information on their web site which should also be useful to adult educators. Go and choose the option "G.R.A.D.E.S". You will find such categories as Art, Vo-Tech, Writing, Administration, History, Literature, and Science. For example, under Administration you will find copies of Acceptable Use Policies for Internet use in classrooms; under History you will find the Library of Congress's "American Memory Historical Collections"; and under Literature, you will find the Complete Works of Shakespeare.
Some websites that may be of interest to ESL educators:
Student Activities Based on Buying or Fixing Up a House
Do you have students who want to buy a house? Or others who want to fix up the place they are living in? "How Much Can You Afford?" contains a worksheet to help prospective home buyers decide what purchase price and loan amount they can afford. It could be the basis of a great math lesson on percents and fractions.(Thanks to the North Carolina Literacy Resource Center for these suggestions.)
Internet Lessons Being Tested
Susan Cowles, a Literacy Leader Fellow for 1996-97 for the National Institute for Literacy, has been developing Internet lessons for adult basic students in her home state of Oregon. She has shared some of the drafts of the lessons with the OLRC and would like to have some teachers use them and give her comments. If you have Internet access for any of your students and are interested in using these lesson plans, call Tim Ponder or Jean Stephens at the OLRC.
Ohio Technology Update
Today, technology progresses at a tremendous pace. As a user, it can be difficult not to feel left behind. However, in the last three years, the Ohio ABLE community has demonstrated that they will not be left behind and are in fact becoming leaders in integrating technology into the adult basic education field.
In Ohio, adult literacy programs have begun using the Internet as a source for information and mode of communication. The building of websites as well as E-mail and listserv mailing lists have made the Internet a part of many programs. As new machines are purchased, and CD-ROM technology becomes more widely available, new approaches to teaching have become possible. In recent months, teachers and students have begun using the Internet as a learning tool. New technology training, initiatives and requirements will only enhance this process in the coming months.
The Ohio Literacy Resource Center has made technology training a key focus. Offering a World Wide Web server, a variety of Internet listservs, training and support for technology users, and telephone support, the OLRC has tried to build the capacity of programs throughout the state to utilize current technology. With the addition of the Technical Assistance Training Network, additional training opportunities for programs and practitioners are available. In addition, the Ohio Department of Education has been extremely supportive and encouraging of technology.
Many in Ohio have been very quick to see the benefits technology can offer. Each of the ABLE Resource Centers began using the OLRC as a resource for technology information and training. Today, each of the Centers uses the OLRC in addition to providing a great deal of additional technology training through local resources. Starting several years ago with an introduction to basic Internet and gopher systems, the ABLE Resource Centers now offer training in most areas of computing including E-mail, the World Wide Web, Internet search and applications, Web page design, as well as Windows, Mac and productivity applications . The Centers also set aside times when interested persons can come to the center and not only look at, but receive one-on-one training with educational software, the Internet, and other computer application software.
The combination of the OLRC and the Regional ABLE Resource Centers with the support of ODE has created an exciting atmosphere in Ohio. Progress thus far and in the future seems to be focused in several key areas.
Equipment, while not always being the latest, is modern and capable of running new and innovative software. Programs with a lot of older equipment utilize available resources to maximize the impact of their technology. Purchasing decisions are made carefully and are well understood.
Online Access has become much more common. Many programs are now beginning to include it in their classroom plans. Communication and information dissemination is often done electronically and training for more sophisticated use is readily available.
Software includes operating systems (Windows 95, Mac OS) to productivity applications (Word, d-base, Lotus 123) to educationl software. Software is available to evaluate before purchasing through several ABLE resource centers helping programs to make a more informed decision. Many programs have found innovative ways to use a variety of old and new applications and educational titles.
Ohio has also emerged as a leader nationally. The OLRC is one of the NIFL LINCS system regional Hubs. Through this project, Ohio has been able to provide leadership and support to other states in the Midwest while raising its own level of expertise. The relationship has enabled the OLRC to build solid relationships with the Midwest SLRC s and benefit from their knowledge and resources.
With the solid foundation provided in the past, the ongoing training and support offered in the state and the increasing knowledge of the adult literacy community as a whole, the outlook for technology and adult literacy in Ohio is one of tremendous excitement and opportunity.