Move over, Superman

Article excerpt

Faster than the postal service, more powerful than a ringing telephone, able to leap whole continents in a single bound--electronic communication is here. One form is the Internet, a collection of computer networks that literally spans the globe.

The Internet began in 1969 with a single network--ARPANET--developed by the U.S. Department of Defense. By 1990, ARPANET had been replaced by the new National Science Foundation Network, which now operates as a high-speed backbone for the Internet.

What began as one network grew to 5,739 advertised networks by July 1992. One year later, there were 13,293 advertised networks in roughly 60 countries. The current growth rate of the Internet is exponential.

Among Internet's many uses are:

COMMUNICATION: announcements, upcoming meetings, programs and conferences; legislative hotline; articles, journals and books; collaborative projects and distribution of worldwide surveys and survey data.

RESOURCE ACQUISITION: access to library catalogs, resources, multimedia dictionaries, encyclopedias, databases (such as ERIC) and online experts.

DISCUSSION: between children, students, teachers, faculty and other professionals with similar interests.

COURSE WORK: online courses and programs.

The Internet has many potential uses in home economics education. In secondary and postsecondary settings, students can communicate with other students or mentors. Teachers can communicate with other teachers about curriculum ideas, software evaluation and classroom aids. Both students and teachers can retrieve information and use critical-thinking skills to develop classroom exchange projects. They can expand their knowledge of other cultures, share work and ideas with parents and administrators, contact researchers about recent results, locate funding sources and communicate with each other outside of class hours.

In organizations, listserves can be established for officers, interest groups, special committees or entire organization memberships. Special announcements can be disbursed immediately. News of legislative action can reach members quickly.

In business, the latest trends reach employees rapidly. Multimedia presentations can travel anywhere instantaneously. Listserves provide a means of discussion between colleagues.

In extension agencies, communication between consumers, agents, specialists and government employees is much more efficient. …