Latin America Online: Internet Resources and Web-Based Lessons. (Advancing Technology)

Article excerpt

The Internet offers a vast repository of resources for teaching about many topics. Unfortunately, teachers must often engage in a great deal of searching to locate quality online materials. A first step for making use of Internet resources is to identify "web portals," or sites that provide extensive directories and links to additional sites on a specific topic. One might think of a web portal as being similar to a phone book for the Internet.

There are at least four excellent web portals that provide guidance for exploring Latin America online. These resources may serve as a starting point for teachers seeking to expand their knowledge of Latin America or for teachers looking for supplemental instructional materials. Because these portals provide access to countless online resources, I will not repeat the extensive list of sites here. Rather, I encourage teachers and students to make use of one of the portals I have described below when beginning a search for information on Latin America.

Gateways to Internet Resources for Latin America

Latin American Network Information Center lanic.utexas.edu

The Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC) is a comprehensive, searchable directory of Internet resources on Latin America. LANIC's goal is to facilitate research and academic endeavors, as well as to provide "an important gateway to Latin America for primary and secondary school teachers and students, private and public sector professionals, and just about anyone looking for information about this important region." The site, affiliated with the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, has been in operation since 1994 and currently provides users with links to more than twelve thousand sites. The directory is organized into the following divisions: Countries, Economy, Education, Government, Humanities, Internet & Computing, Libraries & Reference, Media & Communication, Recreation, Regional Resources, Science, Social Sciences, Society & Culture, and Sustainable Development.

La Guia: Internet Resources for Latin America lib.nmsu.edu/subject/bord/laguia

This portal, compiled by Molly Molloy of New Mexico State University, includes helpful annotations to the links listed, as well as guidance for conducting more specific searches using online catalogs, such as Signpost and the Librarians Index to the Internet. In addition to providing links to other web directories, La Guia offers access to a wide variety of databases, such as the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI), which contains the contents of more than four hundred periodicals from and about Latin America spanning the past thirty years, and the Library of Congress Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS), a comprehensive bibliography selected and annotated by Latin America scholars. Additionally, La Guia links users to the websites of nineteen organizations that provide information from and about Latin American countries, or issues relating to Latin America. One distinguishing feature of La Guia is the inclusion of links to current events resources and online news directories.

Zona Latina www.zonalatina.com

This commercial portal focuses on media and marketing in Latin America. Teachers will find links to more than eight hundred newspapers, 1250 magazines, eight hundred radio stations, and seven hundred television stations. Additionally, the site provides links to information on Latin American countries, music, and children's resources, as well as a Latin American photo gallery and book reviews. One portion of the site is devoted exclusively to Internet resources. This section links users to numerous news sources and recent online articles on communications and technology in Latin America.

Resources for Teaching about the Americas (RETANET) www.ladb.unm.edu/retanet

The Latin America Data Base (LADB), affiliated with the University of New Mexico, contains a section devoted to resources for teaching about the Americas (RETANET). …