What we did today, basically, was to send the students to explore Dave's ESL Cafe. Rather than set goals and objectives, what I did was more akin to semi-guided natural browsing.
First, I told them what the terms or key words would be to search for English-language learning materials on the WWW (e.g. EFL, ESL, etc.). I then gave them the URL for Dave's ESL Cafe. Some went there, while others searched. For the few who were overwhelmed with the choices available, I told them what each link lead to, and what they could expect to find. Some looked at idioms, others looked at the bulletin board, some contacted pen pals, and a couple did the on-line chat.
I started off by explaining why giving your credit card number through e-mail or most Internet sites was a bad idea. I then told them about "secure pages". The explanation was brief, and I stressed that they will learn more about it as we go through the lesson.
I first drew their attention to the broken key symbol in the lower left-hand corner of the Netscape browser. I asked them to remember it, because it meant that any information they type on a page with that symbol could be intercepted by someone else.
We then went to Amazon Books (www.amazon.com) so they could see what shopping would be like. They searched for a book or video they'd like, and we saw prices and compared them to prices here. (I reminded them, though, that the price did not include shipping.) We followed the process through "shopping cart" and "proceed to check-out". From there, they clicked the "secure page" link, and they could see that the key symbol had changed, and that there was a solid blue line across the top of the page. This, I said, was a secure page, and it was much safer to give personal information such as credit cards, etc., on a page like this one.
After that, we all bailed out of the page (sorry, Amazon!), and they were given a few links, such as The Gap (www.gap.com), Gap for Kids (www.kidsgap.com), JCrew (www.jcrew.com). They were encouraged to attempt to type in the name of their favorite brand into the browser window to see if it had its own site. Also, I told them to check out Shoparoo (www.shoparoo.com), a shopping search engine. Some students found good sites through search engines, too.
(The Gap sites do not have on-line shopping, but do feature interesting Shockwave
applications, such as tie matching for shirts that must have seemed quite exotic
(c) Bill Pellowe
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