In little more than a decade the Web has grown in scope and complexity to become a remarkable resource for students and teachers. A wealth of information is readily available, from weather and baseball statistics, to full text of books, journals, and research materials online. The increased capabilities of computers, and more importantly, the increased bandwidth that allows high speed transfer of digital data, have made it possible to present information and resources in a rich variety of formats. Online video and audio let teachers view model classroom lessons. Students studying a language can listen to native speakers. Multimedia applications allow students to manipulate geometric solids or explore interactive weather maps.
Search engines help users find the information and tools they seek quickly, based on the terms a user specifies for the search. This gives a student a great deal of autonomy and choice, and also requires that he or she know how to define the search, and to sort the information found by the engine. Equally important, students using Web resources will need to learn strategies for evaluating the validity of what they find on a site - to act as intelligent consumers of information.
Using the Web as an effective resource with students can be challenging without efficient strategies. Below are suggestions for effective use of Web resources.
November Learning provides an online resource that helps you teach your students how to establish the validity of information on the Web. http://novemberlearning.com/Default.aspx?tabid=160
Finding Information on the Internet is an online tutorial from the University of California, Berkeley Library. It includes recommended search engines for different purposes. http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/FindInfo.html
The SouthEast Initiatives Regional Technology in Education Consortium offers Internet Search Tools Quick Reference Guide for students and teachers. http://www.itrc.ucf.edu/conferences/pres/srchtool.html
The Internet Archive allows teachers and students to analyze how a Web site has changed over time. http://www.archive.org
This site allows you to identify the owner of most Web sites, which may be an important tool for discovering who or what is behind the information. http://www.whois.net