Network Nuggets: Internet Tools, Hints, and Announcements
This page contains information on Internet Tools, Hints, and Announcement resources located on the Internet. Our purpose in providing you with information on these resources is simply to draw them to your attention. We are NOT guaranteeing that these particular resources will be valuable and without frustrations.
If you didn't find what you were looking for on this page, the complete archives of Network Nugget links are keyword searchable .
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In the IT classroom (at any grade level), students are taught to "guard your email password -- reveal it to nobody." Do you have a vivid object lesson to drive that important concept home? Here is one that exposes a student's vulnerability to email abuse without actually causing harm. .
Mailstart is a free email retrieval/forwarding service, supported by advertising. It runs in your browser and needs no email client software -- just your email address and password. Its purpose is to let you get to your email account from any browser, anywhere in the world. (Normally, commercial sites like Mailstart don't become Nuggets, but in this case I am making an exception.).
Have a student enter his or her email address and password on your computer, using Mailstart. If your class is watching the projected screen image, they will shortly see the student's in-basket -- on your computer! Tell the class that, if you knew your student's email password, you could gain access by yourself, and read all your student's email using Mailstart from your own home. You could send emails too, and neither your student nor the recipients would know who really sent them -- the messages would appear as signed by your student -- Mailstart leaves no clue as to where the message really originated.
Presto -- a lesson in e-mail password security!
advertising-supported, and suitable for K-12 teachers and
their students who use e-mail.
It is located at: http://www.mailstart.com/
How can teachers help students acquire information problem-solving skills so that they can deal with the complex and large amounts of data on the Internet? Michael Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz advocate that a "Big Six Skills" approach be used to give students the necessary information literacy skills. These six skills are: task definition, information seeking strategies, location and access, use of information, synthesis, and evaluation.
The web site provides resoures for teachers interested in learning more about and applying this approach. The OVERVIEW and USING THE BIG6 sections describe the six skills and how they can be implemented in any learning environment which requires information to solve a problem. There's also a GAME designed for grade 5/6 students in which they learn to apply the skills.
The official web site for the Big6
contains some overview information as well as commercial
products. However, it's worth visiting for the "Big6
in Action" section. Here you'll find a collection of
a dozen lesson plans as well as sample curricula using
the skills (including one from Anne Symons of SD#59 Peace
River South in BC!). Here's a direct link to that part
The Big6.com web site:
Finally, here are three links to other sites that contain information/instructional resources on the Big6
Teaching Information Literacy: The
Big Six Skills Approach to Information Problem Solving:
The Big6 - Dig It!
Do you want to teach your students all about the web design in a fun and yet educational way? Well here it is! This site contains the following 4 sections: Lessons (everything you need to know about building web pages); Projects (try some on-line practice); Playground (non educational sites that demonstrate various features of web design); and Tools (help for writing code, creating pictures). There is also a Planning Guide for parents and/or teachers that talks about Internet Safety, How to use Webmoneky with Kids, Source Code, ISP's and Advice from a Teacher.
This site would be excellent to use with students (even as a Professional Development Day activity for teachers) to teach the concept of web design in an enjoyable format. There is a fair bit of text, so the grade level choice should be monitored. Unfortunately there is an advertising banner at the top of the pages, so be warned. This is a site that I want to to explore on my own!!
"Web Monkey" is hosted by Wired Digital Inc. and is suitable for students in grades 4-12.
Here's a set of lesson plans for intermediate/middle school teachers who are looking for ideas for introducing telecomputing skills to their students. The number of days needed for the lessons vary, but most are only one or two days in length. Student handouts, where necessary, are included in the plans.
These lessons can be integrated within Language Arts, Social Studies, Information Skills, or Computer Skills units. While some lessons have a North Carolina focus (e.g., e-mailing to local schools), if a lesson isn't immediately useful, the ideas within the lesson plan certainly would be.
The Computer Skills Lesson Plans site is hosted by North Carolina Education and is suitable for students in grades 4-6.
What does the phrase "My plump starfish quickly lowered Lincoln's tie" have to do with web searching? Well this phrase is used to develop good search techniques for your students. The following topics are described: include and exclude, wildcard, quotes, lower case, links, and title.
It is suggested that the teacher print off this main page, and then have their students go into the various search engines and record their results on the paper. Another idea would be for your students to develop their own forms using a multipurpose program, and then record their search results.
Seven Steps Toward Better Searching is hosted by WebQuest and is suitable for students in grades 2-7.
Want to have your students utalize their online time more productively? Do you also want your students to use the Internet for productive research? Try an Internet Scavenger Hunt!! This site contains background information on what a scavenger hunt is, why you would use on with your students, examples of actual school hunts you can use to start with, how to create your own scavenger hunt, and a completed astronaut scavenger hunt.
The Scavenger Hunt web site is hosted by Spartanburg District 3 Schools and is suitable for students in grades 3-12.
Do you need some different ideas for teaching Marketing in Business Education class? This site has 100's of leasson ideas, with sections on products, promotion and personal selling, consumer behavior, international, distribution, marketing planning and strategy, marketing research, cases and projects, as well as teaching tips. Some of the novel ideas explored in this site are the "Banana Problem", "Welcome to Wholesale Jeopardy", and the "Internet Marketing Tool in the Classroom".
Great Ideas for Teaching Marketing is hosted by South Western College and is suitable for Business Education students in grades 11-12.
With tutorials, reviews, articles, a glossary and more, the "Search Engine Watch" website is a great place to learn the basics of Internet searching or to find out what's new in the complex world of search engines and directories.
If you're developing your own web pages, you'll want to pay special attention to the section of the above site called "Webmaster's Guide to the Search Engines". There's information here that will help you build a web page that won't be missed by the major search engines.
Finally, for a search engine with a Canadian focus try "Canada.com". It finds sites from any location on the web with the added feature of a flag to identify those Canadian sites that are of special interest to those of us live here: http://www.canada.com/
October 1, 1998 will be a "Grey Day" on the web. On that day many of the websites you visit will have no graphics, music, colour, or other special effects. The intention of this 24-hour event is to remind us all of the importance of the work involved in web design; work that is all too often plagiarized.
As we all know, plagiarism is a concept that many students seem to misunderstand. Computers make it easy to copy pictures and text from websites and paste them directly into essays and reports. Why this is wrong (and illegal) and how to reference information sources in the correct manner are topics that most students need to explore.
Grey Day has its own website (above), with lots of copyright information as well, including a discussion of fair use, the myths of copyright and other relevant topics.
The Mining Co. has also created links to several important online resources related to the issues underlying "Grey Day". There are links to definitions of plagiarism, examples of correct citations and much more. This is a great place for students to begin a school year where Internet resources will be a source of material for their essays and projects.
Above is a set of locations you can look to for definitions and acronyms useful to educational users of technology.
The 'WhatIs' homepage gives definitions and examples (e.g. an animated gif appears when you look up that term). This site also provides links to other sites that might offer courses in or additional information about the term you're searching for.
The TechWeb Encyclopedia claims to have 11,000 definitions, and includes a list of new terms.
The Community Learning Network (CLN) has a new theme page (above) dealing with issues that range from computer piracy and hacking to surveillance, human rights, and the social responsibility associated with computer technology. You'll find links to sites that are appropriate for both students and teachers.
Note that the teacher resources include information that's useful for primary teachers well as those who teach the higher grades.
Anyone who uses the Internet with children should be interested in the "Web of Deception" site that has been created by the Center for Media Education. This site outlines a study that investigated the invasion of children's privacy through solicitation of personal information and tracking of online computer use. It also looks at the exploitation of young computer users through deceptive forms of advertising.
The Web of Deception:
Robert Parks, as part of the ARTFL project out of Chicago, has created the Wordsmyth English Dictionary-Thesaurus, which is a fascinating tool. It goes far beyond the abstract dictionary definitions of most similar resources, and can connect you to related concepts in a way that really taps into the power of hypertext.
You can search for exact matches, for words that contain a selected character string or for approximate word matches at three levels of precision. The results might amaze you.
Billed as "the ONLY Integrated English Dictionary and Thesaurus in electronic form", this site is in the process of expanding its ideas and is a definite winner for students from upper elementary throught to advanced studies.
Don't forget to check out the 'Idea of the Week', Word of the Day ' and 'Participatory Projects' links.
http://edtech.sandi.net/rubric/ Assessing Student-created Web Pages
The Internet is a publishing and communications environment that can be an ideal place for students to share their work. The above link is a valuable tool to help assess and provide meaningful critiques of the pages that students create.
Building web pages can involve HTML coding, but you might also choose to try one of the many web editors which allow you to build web pages in an environment that is very similar to word processing.
Here are some sites that can help students learn the skills required to create web pages:
A Beginner's Guide to HTML: http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/General/Internet/WWW/HTMLPrimerAll.html
Web Authoring Tools Page: http://www.workspace-resources.com/wrauth1.htm
Find the Right Tool (HTML editors for serious users): http://www.cnet.com/Content/Builder/Authoring/Htmleditors/
Glossary of Internet terms: http://www.delphi.com/navnet/faq/glossary.html
For examples of some real web-based assignments
completed by students at the Northern Island Distance
Education School (NIDES) check out the following URL:
Northern Island Distance Education School student pages: http://www.nides.island.net/StudentWebPages/ST_WEBPG.htm
Want to find out more about effective searching of the Internet? Then take a visit to a website with an unforgettable name: "The Spider's Apprentice." Gaining a basic understanding of how web sites are catalogued is really quite crucial to being able to retrieve the ones that are useful to you. The 'spider' is a concept that might just clarify the process for you, and this particular site is designed to explain that concept to beginning and advanced Internet users.
The spider described doesn't have eight legs, but it has a way of getting to a lot of places on the web. It brings information back from the far corners to allow your search engine to do it's job (gathering the right 'hits' for you!) The above Spider's Apprentice link might provide what you need to formulate search strategies that work.
Find out when and how to search by single or combined keywords, and when it's better to try complete phrases. Learn how subject directories differs from search engines, and why you might want to select one or the other.
Also, don't forget that the Community Learning Network (CLN) has put together a collection of information for the educational use of the Internet. Search engines are just one of the many topics you'll find at /internet.html
If you create web pages, you probably know that they don't always turn out exactly as you had hoped. Nobody's perfect -- but there are some tools that can help.
WebLint checks the actual code of your web pages. This tool can pinpoint those duplicate elements in your HTML that should appear only once, find things that won't work in all browsers, identify plain old bad structure and even note some of the stylistic problems that may have slipped into your design.
WebSter is a tool for checking the spelling of HTML documents, something that's difficult to do with an ordinary spell-checker since the URLs will be considered as errors by many of the standard word processing tools.
One of the first places I have always looked to find educationally useful sites on the internet is Gleason Sackman's "Net Happenings" pages. Updated daily, this is a fabulous source of web links. There's a new address for this service, now that it has become part of the Internet Scout project.
The above URL leads you to a page where you can select from daily "Net Happenings" articles or view the archives (which are also keyword searchable). You can also access the other Scout resources, such as the 'Scout Toolkit' (for links to meta-sites and internet-related reference materials of all types), the 'K.I.D.S. Report' (Kids Identifying and Discovering Sites), etc.
There's also an option to subscribe to Net Happenings, and receive all the articles via email, but the volume is fairly high, so you might prefer to bookmark the above page and keep up with what's happening on the net by visiting the new articles that appear each day.
As the school year begins, you may find yourself wanting to learn more about the technical side of the internet.
CLN has created two collections of links to guidebooks and other resources to help you "get up to speed" or "keep up to date". There are plenty of topics to choose from, ranging from 'Beginner's Email' to 'High Bandwidth'.
For those of you who might be considering the idea of creating your own presence on the web, the "Creating Web Pages (advanced and beginner level), collections, available via the above links or directly at:
have some excellent information for both teachers and students who want to put up their own pages. Copyright and design issues, as well as tutorials and reference materials are all provided.
On my recent travels to teacher Pro-D conferences, I met many people who want to improve the results they get when they search the web. CLN has a new FAQ page on searching, with basic information about how search engines work, strategies for effective searching and links to a variety of guides.
Note that the vast majority of search engines have a "help" or "tips" section. A quick visit might save you a lot of frustration.
For "Basic Internet", "How to Connect", and tips on browsers (including Netscape and Lynx), software, and more, as well as a range of strategies for web searching and thoughts about the evaluation of the information you find, try Laura Cohen's "Internet Help" page hosted by the University of Albany. This site clearly represents a very thorough approach. It's current and I have been assured that it is updated regularly. Laura Cohen (Webmaster/Network Services Librarian) obviously puts a great deal of effort into keeping up with the pace of the internet; no easy task! She is to be applauded for her work.
Debbie Abilock's web site can help you find and use the right search engine for the task at hand. The page offers descriptions of the strengths of the various internet search engines along with direct links, by category. It's an excellent resource for those times when you don't know where to start.
Do you want to find a site that is evaluated, for kids only, or with a focus on math or science? Do you want to find a site from a particular geographic region, with pictures or sounds, or are you looking for an easy way to find proper names or common keywords? Do you want to search using natural language or do you want to browse or use encylopedia-type resources? Debbie's page has links for all the above situations, and more!
The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory has created a "Library in the Sky" with resources for teachers, students parents, librarians, and the community. Thousands of web resources can be browsed in a variety of ways, including by subject, by keyword search and alphabetically.
"The mission of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) is to improve educational results for children, youth, and adults by providing research and development assistance in delivering equitable, high quality educational programs."
For more information about NWREL, try: http://www.nwrel.org/
In a description of the notorious "Michelangelo" computer virus panic that took place a few years ago, the U.S. Department of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC), stated that "many projections of potential damage were provided by companies that make anti-viral software and stood to benefit from the scare."
CIAC's "Internet Hoaxes Homepage" (above) gives you the background information required to avoid the hysteria surrounding computer security and provides frequent updates to keep you aware of any real hazards.
The 'Computer Virus Myths' pages offers similar insights and complements the CIAC page by including humourous incidents, links to warnings about bogus chain letters, urban legends and more. The URL for this site is: http://kumite.com/myths/home.htm
"The better your children are at generating questions, the more capable they will be when building answers," says Jamie McKenzie in his recent and insightful article on learning in the information age which can be accessed via the above link.
The twelve activities described in the article are designed for parents and children, but could easily be modified for use in the classroom. Kids could work in pairs or small groups to explore web sites and evaluate them based on some of McKenzie's ideas which include relevancy, bias, persuasion vs education, fact vs opinion, etc.
Why should they do this? McKenzie says:
Most of us would agree that lack of information is no longer the problem, but perhaps we all need to work on making sense of it, now that it's so readily available.
If you've been with Network Nuggets for any length of time, you've probably seen my references to McKenzie's "From Now On" website, http://fromnowon.org/, which, in my estimation, cuts right past the hype of the internet and gets to the issues that matter.
Researchpaper.COM is a website that describes itself as a "collection of topics, ideas, and assistance for school related research projects." The site includes a "Writing Center" section with hints on collecting and organizing information starting with preparation (e.g. understanding your assignment, deciding on a topic) and concluding with effective revision strategies. There is a focus on online research sources, but also plenty of information related to other information sources as well.
If you have a graphical browser, you may want to explore other areas of the Research.COM website by starting at the home page at http://www.researchpaper.com/
To spell-check, find coding errors, verify links and even determine the loading time on a 14.4 modem for both the text and graphics of any web page (your own or somebody else's), you can make a visit to Dr. HTML. The diagnosis may be that somebody ought to do some revision work.
Personally, I found this to be a rather humbling experience but it's easy to let little coding inefficiencies slip past and it's great to have a way to detect them. I was also delighted to find the dates of revisions to many of the sites I have linked to.
Note that as wonderful as this service is, it doesn't even begin to touch on the issue of whether or not the content of the web site in question is worth having on a server in the first place. That most important issue requires a different kind of analysis.
Some of you may be involved in Internet Training sessions over the summer. An internet site that you might find useful has been created by Margaret Fryatt and is available through OISE (the Ontario Institute of Educational Studies) This document discusses successful and unsuccessful implementations, provides models and resources and has a comprehensive list of references.
"Training how to use the technology by itself is NOT sufficient. Teachers will only begin to use it when they are shown how to incorporate the technology into their curriculum and lessons."
The Discovery Channel (Canada) has prepared a Web page in companion to its "Understanding the Internet" broadcasts.
You'll find explanations about various aspects of the internet (Web, Email, etc.) and links to sites which include more detail including discussions of the internet as it relates to money, privacy, demographics, religion, the future and more.
The folks at Yahoo have developed another way for you to search for people on the internet. Whether you're looking for the email address of a colleague or a home page that relates to your favourite author, musician, etc., this tool can help.
Magellan is a keyword-searchable database of reviewed internet sites. You can customize your request to retrieve only those locations that were found to have no "adult" content at the time of review and each site is rated (from one star to four stars).