A year ago, The TES launched its first online edition, putting the newspaper on to the global newsstand of the Internet. At that time, setting up a newspaper online still had a pioneering feel. But in the 12 months since, more and more papers have taken to the uncharted waters of the new medium, to the extent that now it would seem more odd for a national newspaper not to have a Web site than to have one.
Back in the dim and distant days of January 1997, the first surprise that followed the launch of The TES Internet service was the realisation that all those cliches about a global village were beginning to be coming true. Registrations to use the site arrived from all five continents, from countries as diverse as China and Peru, South Africa and Nepal.
It's easy to become complacent about the geography-bending properties of the Internet, but in the teachers' online discussion area, The TES Staffroom, there are questions being raised and answers going back and forth from countries all around the world.
Sitting in The TES office, overlooking a gridlocked dual carriageway on a rainy winter's afternoon, it's still cheering to see e-mails arriving from schools in faraway places such as Ecuador and Thailand, swapping messages via the Staffroom. A year ago, the Staffroom did not exist; now it's a place where people communicate.
Since we launched, more than 45,000 individuals and institutions have registered to use the online edition of The TES. This figure is still rising, as more and more schools connect to the Internet.
The start of the national grid for learning this year will see an even faster rate of Internet connections, broadening the base of users for online services for education. From being available to a relatively limited audience, the Internet is moving towards the mainstream. And as it does so, there will be new expectations and new developments in a medium that, we shouldn't forget, is still in its infancy.
As The TES Internet service enters its second year, there'll be plenty of new lessons to be learned.
The TES will be providing news reports from BETT '98 on its Internet site at https:www.tes.co.uk