Key Words: Internet, web, search strategies, web development, web projects, interactive projects, online learning, educational technology
Table of Contents
Sample Selection
Sample Activity

Catching the Best of the Web: Practical Ideas for Internet Integration - Ready to Ship

Annette Lamb (2002)
ISBN 1-891917-07-2
142 pages
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Do you feel like you search and search, yet come up with few quality resources? Are you concerned about the quality of information on the Internet? You need a few good strategies to "catch the best of the web." This book will help you find partners on the web, identify quality resources, adapt online resources, and develop practical, realistic approaches to integrating Internet into your classroom. Finding good fishing buddies and the best fishing hole is the key to catching the "best of the web."
Learn to locate and select quality Internet resources, adapt online educational materials, develop realistic web-based classroom activities, and build quality web pages and projects. Includes materials from three prior books: Cruisin', Surfin', and Spinnin' the Web plus lots of new websites, resources, and project ideas!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Communicating through Internet
The first chapter helps you get up and running. You'll learn the basic terminology regarding hardware, software, and networking, as well as gateways to the Internet. Next, develop skills in communicating using the Internet including email, mailing lists, listservs, forums, and newsgroups. You'll also explore real-time communications using tools such as chat and video conferencing. The chapter ends with an exploration of ways to integrate Internet communication projects into your classroom.
Chapter 2: Teaching and Learning with Internet
In the second chapter, you'll focus on teaching and learning with the World Wide Web. First, learn about the tools of the web including web browsers, search tools, and educational starting points. Next, you'll explore critical thinking and the Internet. Learn about the importance of evaluating websites, how to build Internet-rich learning environments for your students, and ways to manage the use of Internet. Finally, explore ways to design effective web-based activities and projects for your classroom.
Chapter 3: Designing and Developing Web Materials
The third chapter examines the design and development of web-based materials. Start by exploring school, teacher, classroom, and student websites. Next, learn about informational, instructional, and collaborative projects. Finally, learn to plan and implement your own web pages and projects.
Over the past decade, the Internet has become an integral part of the teaching and learning environment in many classrooms. Whether you're sharing an idea with another teacher across the country through email or learning more about a person, place, or object using a web page, the possibilities for using Internet in the classroom are endless.
Unfortunately, the Internet can also be overwhelming. With flashy advertisements, trashy websites, and tons of junk email, it's easy to feel like the fish rather than the fisherman. This book will help you sort through the junk to catch the best of what the web has to offer.
Overview of Book
Intended for "low tech" people living in a "high tech" world, this book will cut through the terminology and provide "the basics" plus practical suggestions for integrating Internet into the classroom. In this book, you'll find three chapters.
Along the margins of the book. you'll find "Fishin' Tips" to remind you about key concepts. You might even want to add your own tips as reminders to yourself!
"Internet Connections" will provide Internet resources that will be helpful in expanding your exploration and learning. Remember that the Internet is constantly changing. If the address no longer works, try using a search engine and search by the topic or title provided.
"Try Its" get you involved with creating activities and materials. You can't just read about technology, you've got to do it!


Sample Selection
From Catching the Best of the Web - Chapter 2: Pages 44-49
Using Search Tools

If you have a topic in mind but need an address, you'll need to use a search tool. Search tools are intended to help you find the information you need. Each search tool takes a slightly different approach. Search engines, directories, indexes, and portals can all be helpful. While each of these has a specific definition, many search engines have more than one option. For example, Google is a search engine, but it also has a directory available. While most search tools ask users to enter key words, some like Ask Jeeves are designed for questions.

How do the search tools find all the websites? Many of the search engines use robots, wanderers, worms, spiders, harvesters, and other automated systems to find websites. In addition, people sometimes add their own website to the list. Below is a list of the general categories of search tool:

Search engines - resources are automatically databased by a computer. The results vary depending on the rules the site uses to select materials.

Indexes and Directories - information is organized into categories or lists that are sometimes created by people or computers. Many search engines also have directories.

Subject guides - resources are selected and organized by people. They are good for large and focused topics, but provide fewer resources than search engines.

Meta engines - these sites explore a number of search tools to come up with diverse results. For example, Dogpile searches LookSmart, FindWhat, GoTo, Kandoodle, and others.

Portals - these create a virtual desktop that provides, in one central place, web-based information and resources needed by a user. The difference between a portal and a regular website is that information is customized by and/or for the user.

In addition to the popular teen and adult search tools, there are many specialized search tools. For example, you can find search tools for children, as well as particular information formats (i.e., graphics, videos) and content areas. Ditto ( and FreePhoto ( are image sites. Use FindSounds ( for audio files. The advantage of a specialized tool is their narrow focus. Rather than getting "everything", they have selected those resources that fit a particular need. For example, KidsClick provides information about the reading level and number of illustrations contained on a website.

We've provided a list of good search tools for children, teens, and teachers. For more, check my website page at Teacher Tap: Search Tools (

Search tools are easy to use. You either enter a word in the search box and click the search button, or make a choice from the directory. Then, click on the underlined blue title for more information. See Figure 2-6 for a sample search on the topic of castles.

These search engines work fairly well for adults, but can be very frustrating for children. Imagine a third grader looking for information on tigers. The student is expecting a nice picture, a paragraph about where tigers live, what they eat, and what their babies are called. Instead, the student is faced with information about the Detroit Tigers, the golfer named Tiger Woods, Tiger Tires, Tiger Advertising, and maybe even the "Tiger Kit Kat Klub Where All Our Women Are Tigers." See how fast kids can find inappropriate sites? To help direct student projects, use tools designed specifically for children. Figure 2-7a,b shows a search for "butterflies" using the KidsClick search tool. If you're dealing with a topic that has many meaning such as tigers, look for search engines that categorize information such as Yahoo and the children's version, Yahooligans (see Figure 2-7c,d,e,f).

Teachers can waste a lot of time surfing the web for educational resources. Before you begin your search, ask yourself: Am I looking for teaching materials or student resources? What types of resources are needed (i.e., text, graphics, audio, video, animation)? What are the essential questions being addressed in the unit? Then, rather than simply entering a topic for your search, narrow your focus to meet a specific need. For example, if you're reading the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" in your classroom, search for the title of the book plus the words "discussion questions," "lesson plan," or "webquest" to narrow your search. Use the diagram in Figure 2-8 to identify words or topics that might help narrow your search.

Sample Activity
Explore a Sample Activity.

Updated by Annette Lamb, 3/02. Updated 6/03.