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 From Now On
The Educational Technology Journal

Vol 9|No 7|March|2000


Table of Contents from
How Teachers Learn Technology Best



Books offer structures like the Table of Contents above or an index to point readers to the desired information without enduring endless searching, wandering or browsing. While electronic sources might also offer such structures, many Web sites fail to provide a clear path to information.

For example, one of the best information collections on the Internet - the U.S. Census (at - suffers from a somewhat confusing home page. There is such abundance, it is difficult to present a simple menu of options and choices.

By turning to a book limited to a particular subject, we have already chosen to focus our inquiry. In addition, we are counting on the author to focus for us even further. Books (in contrast to huge archives like the Census) allow us to "chunk" the material into easily managed collections that can be arranged to facilitate searching and selective reading.

A well organized book provides plenty of cues to speed the reader to just the right paragraphs and passages. No need to start at the beginning and read to the end.

A good index tells the reader what page offers certain information.

While Web pages might do the same thing, they would require a great deal of scrolling.

Electronic sources, in contrast, often rely upon word searching, which offers a mix of advantages and disadvantages.

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