• Using the Internet

    The Internet is a global network of billions of computers and other electronic devices. With the Internet it is possible to access almost all information available, communicate with everyone else in the world and much more. It can all be done on the home computer. A device must be connected to the Internet before it can be accessed. When planning to use the Internet in ECEC centres, it is usually necessary to purchase an Internet connection from an Internet service provider that is likely to be a telephone or a cable company. Other devices usually connect via Wi-Fi or mobile Internet connections.

    Most information on the Internet can be found on websites. Once connected to the Internet, a programme called web browser can be used to access websites (the most popular are Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Opera).

    A website is a collection of related text, images, and other resources. Websites can resemble other forms of media such as newspaper articles or television programmes or can be interactive in a way that is unique to computers. The purpose of a website can be almost anything: a news platform, an online library, an advertisement, a forum for exchanging images, or an educational site.

    Picture 23: web browser

    A web browser allows people to connect to and view websites. The web browser itself is not the Internet, but displays pages on the Internet. Each website has a unique address. By entering this address in the web browser, it is possible to connect to this website and the web browser will display it. Websites often have links to other websites, also called hyperlinks. These are often part of the text on the site. They are usually coloured blue, and sometimes they are underlined or bold. When clicking on the text, the browser loads another page. Web authors use hyperlinks to connect relevant pages. This network of links is one of the most unique features of the Internet and it is called The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as The Web. Each Web site has a unique address called Uniform Resource Locator (URL). The URL changes when clicking on a link and the browser loads a new page. Entering a URL in the browser's address bar makes the browser to load the page associated with that URL. It's like a street address telling the browser where to go on the Internet.

    If you are looking for certain information on the Internet, a search engine can help you. A search engine is a specialized website designed to help you find other websites. When you type keywords or a term in a search engine, you'll see a list of sites that are relevant to your keywords. The most popular search engine is Google, followed by Bing, Yahoo and Baidu. You can also use search engines to find numerous materials for your day-to-day work in the ECEC centre. Just try it out.

    One of the best features of the Internet is the ability to communicate almost instantly with anyone in the world. Email is one of the oldest and most universal ways to communicate and exchange information on the Internet, and billions of people use it. Social media allow people to connect in many ways and build communities online. There are many other things which can be done on the Internet. There are thousands of ways to be up to date or shop online. It is possible to pay bills, manage bank accounts, meet new people, watch TV or learn new skills.

    Almost everything can be learned or done online today.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. Can you explain to another person what the Internet is?

    2. Can you name some well-known web browsers?

    3. How can you access a website?

    4. What can you do on the Internet?