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You are in: Front Page > Teaching English > Knowledge on the Net
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Knowledge on the Net

A six part radio series from the BBC World Service

Computers have been used for language learning and teaching for many years. The development of the internet and the World Wide Web in the the early 1990's has added another dimension to this resource. The web is interactive, it can be used for communication as well as information.

Knowledge on the Net looks at various aspects of the Internet and how it can be exploited by teachers as a resource for themselves and their classroom teaching.

Programme 1 - Introduction
Programme one gives a brief history of the Internet and then establishes reasons why it is a useful tool for teachers.

Listen to programme 1 >>

Programme 2 - Searching
There are billions of pages of content on the net and that number is growing all the time. Whatever you are looking for is probably out there, but how can you find it amongst the millions of hits a search engine might give you? Listen to tips on more effective searching in programme 2.

Listen to programme 2 >>

Programme 3 - Validating sites. Discussion groups and message boards
Assessing whether you can trust the information on websites can be difficult as there are so many and it's not always easy to see if they come from a reliable source. In this programme we hear some tips on how you can check a language website for authenticity.

The programme also looks at discussion groups and message boards and how they can be used by teachers to inform their teaching and as source of lesson ideas and activities.

Useful BBC links
BBC English message board
Message board with topics for learners and teachers.

BBC English discussion group
An email discussion group with 2,500 members in 85 countries. The group discusses topics such as lifestyles and the news as well as learning and teaching English. You need to subscribe to become a member.

More links
See the biography of David Eastment, below, for details of the discussion groups he mentions in the programme.

Listen to programme 3 >>

Programme 4 - Using the internet in class
In this programme senior teacher Rosie Gerard Wright discusses what's involved in the planning and implementation of an internet lesson. We also drop in on one of her classes to see how it works in practice.

Listen to programme 4 >>

Programme 5 - Using the internet in class 2
Some more practical classroom activities employing the internet and information on using IRC - (Internet Relay Chat) with students.

Listen to programme 5 >>

Programme 6 - Problems and solutions. Top tips
A look at some of the problems of using the internet for teaching and ways of dealing with them. Plus, a round up of the top tips for teaching with the net.

Listen to programme 6 >>

The series was produced with the help and contributions from the following experts and specialists.

Hamish Norbrook

Hamish Norbrook
Hamish (born London, educated Nigeria and Aberdeen) taught English in Africa, geography in Scotland and French in London before joining the BBC. He has worked in radio, television and publications.

He launched the first World Service English learning website in 1996, and started the bbc-elt discussion group in 1997.

Hamish enjoys singing and he frequently performs in musicals on stage although his colleagues at work have so far failed to accept his offer to serenade them around the office!

BBC Learning English

David Eastment David Eastment
David Eastment is a freelance teacher-trainer and writer specializing in the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to language education.

His publications include The Internet: a Resource Book for Teachers (with Scott Windeatt and David Hardisty, OUP) and The Internet and ELT (British Council/ Summertown). He was editor of IATEFL Issues, the journal of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, from 1994 to 2000.

He worked for twelve years at the Bell Language Schools, Cambridge, before going freelance in 1994. He has also taught in Italy, Portugal and Japan. In addition, he has given lectures and workshops in many countries.

Discussion groups:

tesl-l -
an international discussion group for teachers of English to speakers of other languages.

neteach-l -
an international discussion group for teachers of English focussing on the use of technology in the classroom

Dave Sperling

Dave Sperling
Dave Sperling is the creator of the well-known ESL/EFL website, Dave's ESL Cafe. Dave has his MA in Applied Linguistics, and has taught extensively in the USA, Japan, and Thailand.

He is the author of The Internet Guide for English Language Teachers, Dave Sperling's Internet Guide, and Dave Sperling's Internet Activity Workbook.

Dave lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and two children.

Craig Landy

Craig Landy
Craig is the founder and director of, an industry watch group focusing on Internet search technology and methodology.

His organisation is currently developing tools for improving web-based academic search as well as researching scalable methods for assessing the credibility of information on the Internet

Craig launched his first Internet venture in 1996, as he was eager to be a part of the emerging ‘global connectivity’, while setting out to avoid the traditional 9 to 5 lifestyle at all costs. He has happily been working “Internet hours” ever since.

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