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Dave Sperling's Internet Activity Book

   by Dave Sperling

    Prentice Hall
    01 May, 1999


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The best Internet activity available for ESL/EFL students, October 30, 1999
"Dave Sperling's Internet Activity Workbook" is a valuable and welcomed resource for teachers and students alike.

Coordinated with the workbook is a companion web site that gives current links to web sites which help the student to complete the thirty theme-based activities. The workbook and its web site can be used as an Internet supplement to ESL texts and classes. The teacher would also be able to provide additional links on a class or personal home page. The workbook and web site also can be used by students to improve English language skills independently.

The workbook opens with a brief message to the teacher. Then, with a message to the students, Sperling introduces details of searching the web, sending and receiving e-mail, using 'smileys', following 'netiquette' and understanding other Internet issues. To familiarize the students with the methods, Unit 2 of the companion Web site is used to demonstrate how to use the program.

To use the program, the student goes to the main page of the web site, pulls down the scrolling menu, finds the desired unit and clicks the image that says "Begin". From there, the CGI script directs the student to a frameset with navigation buttons and a listing of the objectives of the unit. Clicking the link at the bottom of this page displays the page for the unit. This page displays the four links for the four activities of the unit.

Unit one is entitled First Meeting. In the first activity, the student is helped to locate a key pal (an Internet pen pal) to communicate with by e-mail. The workbook provides three questions for students to ask their key pals and a space for writing the answers. Activities two, three and four ask students to find information. Follow up activities in this unit require students to write five new vocabulary words as well as provide an opportunity to post thoughts on the bulletin board of the companion web site.

A Unit from the Book

Let's look at Unit 2 in the book. The theme is amusement parks.

Top of page: Famous quote by Walt Disney

Activity 1: Three questions are printed for students to ask their key pals. There is space to write two additional original questions and to record answers of the key pal. It is suggested that students share the responses from their key pals as part of a group discussion.

Activity 2: Students search for web sites of amusement parks located in their country, choose four and write the names of the sites, the URLs, features of the parks, good and bad points of the parks and finally to rate them. This is followed by a writing activity where students write a review for one of these web sites.

Activity 3: Students search the web to find the major attractions of Disneyland and to write information about them. An example is provided. This information provides the basis for the group discussion which follows.

Activity 4: Students search the web for information about amusement parks in various countries, writing name and address and some of the attractions of a park in four countries. Once again an example is given and a group discussion follows.

The Follow Up closes the lesson with a space to write five new words with definitions. On the web site there is a clickable link labeled "New Vocabulary" which sends the student to an on-line dictionary site to find definitions. The student is also asked to post his thoughts about amusement parks on the companion web site's bulletin board. The last thing on the page is a question, the answer to which gives the student a clue to solving the URL. By choosing this book, you should consider yourself an ESL/EFL Internet pioneer!

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