While some slight differences do exist among browsers, they all serve the basic purpose of letting you access materials and information on the web. This information might be in the form of plain HTML documents, multimedia files, or any combination thereof. The possibilities are as extensive as a webmaker's creativity and ability. Remember in Getting acquainted with the tools, we said that WWW pages were truly the "bells and whistles" of the Internet due to their ability to present multiple media, text, images, sounds, and moving pictures simultaneously. Well, now it's time to ring those and blow those
Below are several activities designed to get you used to using the web. You will learn how to search for materials on the web, make bookmarks so you can find them again later, and download them or parts of them if feasible. You will find images, audio files, video clips, and unlock their messages. You will also use ftp sites to obtain the helper applications that are necessary to access all these multimedia.
Foreign Language Resources
Millions of web pages exist, and the amount of information included on them boggles the mind. Much of it can prove useful to you as a foreign language (FL) teacher: target language (TL) country sites packed with cultural information, authentic materials--both visual and aural--just waiting to jump into your lesson plans. Unfortunately, there is also a great deal of
out there that is, frankly, a waste of your time. And time is what it is about: it takes time to "surf the web" and find interesting and useful sites.
My first suggestion is that you try NOT to reinvent the wheel. Many FL teachers have already spent countless hours gathering information on sites specifically for their colleagues: that's you! Numerous homepages offer collections of FL resources (not the least of which is the FLTEACH homepage). Start with those collections, all of which have links to many others.
Don't you wish there were a way to search the web for just your particular idea? There is: you can use a search engine. Search engines are wonderful applications that do a lot of work for you. There are several, they are VE-R-R-R-R-R-Y powerful, and they can save you a great deal of time. This is how they work:
Once you have your idea, you need to select a few keywords that directly identify or are readily associated with the idea. For example, you want to find a greeting in Urdu to welcome the new foreign exchange student from India that is attending your school. If you live where I do, Urdu speakers are a rare commodity. So you try the web. Because you do not have anything specific in mind just yet, you go to your search engine and enter the keyword "Urdu." The search engine takes your query and hunts all over the web for any HTML documents that have the word "Urdu" in them and returns the results in the form of links to those documents.
You might be surprised to learn that there are some 8000+ documents that have the word "Urdu" somewhere in them. Search engines are programmed to come up with as many matches as possible and then the best matches to your query are listed first. The query "Urdu" submitted to the AltaVista search engine yielded the initial screen below:
You take a look at the first page the search engine has returned and notice that one of the matches (#8 in this case) might be just what you are looking for: a greeting in Urdu.
You then click on that link, go to the page, and access the audio file by clicking on it. Voilà: your greeting in Urdu.
O.K., those are the basics of searching for something. Now itís your turn. Remember we found our Urdu greeting by using a search engine. Below is a list of several search engines that will help you get started.
BIG HINT: Each search engine home page has instructions on how to design a search for optimal results. These instructions are generally labeled "tips" or "options" or "help" -- and they provide just that: assistance in selecting the keywords that will get you the best results.
1. What is the name of the hotel in the southern most city of the world? How many stars does it have? How much would I have to pay for the Deluxe Suite if I wanted to celebrate New Year's Eve there?
2. On what street is the Churchhill Memorial Museum located in Bandar Seri Begawan? Where is Bandar Seri Begawan, BTW?
3. What does a dog say in Mandarin Chinese? (You know, in English they say "bow-wow" or "arf-arf.") How about the sound a gecko makes in Japanese? And a hen in Turkish?
4. Can I order salmon directly
from Iceland on the Internet? How much would a gift package of whole fillets,
door-to-door delivery cost me?
Wait--what's this have to do with FL instruction? Well, nothing really, but I wanted to give you some idea of the range and variety of information on the web, and it was lunchtime, and . . . . **;-)
5. How would you say "zigzag" in Quechua?
Remember to use the "help" files that accompany the search engines. For this assignment, you might also want to explore language-specific search engines. Several are listed below. If your language is not represented, just do a search on the web for
e.g., +"search engines"+Urdu
Motore di ricerca Italian
Il ragno italiano Italian
Nippon Search Engine Japanese
El Indice Spanish
Whew! That's a lot of work and a lot to learn. Are we done yet? Actually, lessons on the WWW could go on forever . . . but this one won't. However, there are just a few more things you should probably know about the web, accessing its treasures, and using your browser to the fullest. Please go to Part Three of WWW Activities.
SURP RISE !!!!!!!!!!!!