Integrating Technology in the Second Language Classroom

Jean LeLoup & Bob Ponterio 
SUNY Cortland 
© 2005, 2015
Web Browser Basics

Some popular browsers are Firefox, Google Chrome, Edge, Opera, and Internet Explorer.

URL, short for Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of a page on the World Wide Web.  Not only does each page have a unique URL, but so also do each image and frame on a page. You can access a page, an image, or an individual frame by supplying its URL in Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera, Firefox.

To enter a URL
Type the URL directly into the location or address box.  Alternatively, you can choose Open Page (or Open) from the File menu and type the URL in the resulting dialog box. (On the Mac OS, select the pull-down menu item Open, then choose Location to enter a URL.)  By entering a page's URL, the browser can bring you the specified page (whether on the Internet or on your computer) just as if you had clicked a link.

Partial URLs and the browser's "memory"
If you omit certain parts of a URL in the location field, the browser automatically completes the entry. You can omit the following:

The prefix http://; Browsers automatically add the necessary prefix to complete the URL search.

The partial pathname http://www; the browser automatically tries to add the necessary pathname to complete the URL search.

In Windows, when you begin to type a URL in the location field, browsers attempt to automatically complete the URL. As you type, the browser checks for previously visited URLs that match the letters you have typed and, if a match is found, fills in the remainder of the letters. If more than one match occurs, you can press the down-arrow key to fill in the next matching URL.

Also, the location or address field offers a drop-down menu to the right of the field. The menu contains URLs of pages whose locations you've most recently typed into the field and viewed. Choosing a URL item from this menu brings the page to your screen again. The URLs are retained in the menu for each of your Navigator sessions.

Opening a Page
To view a page by using the Open command under the File menu (Open Page in Netscape, Open File in Firefox)

  1.  Choose Open from the File menu.
  2.  In the resulting dialog box, type a URL (or select a file using the Browse button) to display a page in the content area.
  3.  After you have specified a page location, click Open to display the page.

Using Links to Pages
A link is a connection from one page to another. You find a link by looking for one or more words highlighted with color, underlining, or both in the content area of a page. Images and icons with or without colored borders can also serve as links. A link within a page that contains frames (a page divided into different parts) can be a connection that displays one or more new pages within frames, or an entirely new top-level page replacing all frames.

To use a link

  1. Point the mouse cursor over a link. The URL location of the link usually appears in the status message area at the bottom-left of the browser window.
  2. Click once on the highlighted text, image, or icon. This transfers page content from a server location to your location.
  3. After you click on a link, the logo (upper right corner of the browser window) animates to show that the transfer of the page to your computer is in progress.
  4. Examine the status message area and progress bar at the bottom of the window to receive feedback about the progress of a transfer if the new page does not appear.

To identify followed and unfollowed Links
An "unfollowed" link is a connection to a page that you have not yet viewed. By default, unfollowed links are blue.  A followed link is a connection to a page that you have previously viewed. By default, followed links are purple. You can change the colors used to denote unfollowed and followed links; from the Edit menu, choose Preferences, then select the Colors panel.

To stop a page transfer in progress
Click the Stop button.  Alternately, you can stop a link's action by choosing Stop Loading from the Go menu ("Stop" on the View menu in IE).

Toolbar buttons
Toolbar buttons activate the browser tasks you'll most commonly carry out, such as revisiting pages, printing pages, navigating to search engine sites, reloading pages, and stopping page transfers in progress.

Viewing the Toolbars
The address bar ( location), links, and other toolbars toolbars provide simplified access to links, commands, and page location information. The toolbars are displayed at the top of each browser window, just below the menu bar. You can reposition the toolbars or hide them to increase the amount of screen area available for page content. In IE you can use the View menu to make changes to your toolbars, turning them on or hiding them.

The standard buttons or navigation toolbar contains a row of  buttons that substitute for widely used menu items. The address toolbar contains URL information that's useful for tracking a page's whereabouts or requesting a new page.

The Favorites or Bookmarks toolbar can be used to quickly jump to a small number of your most commonly used websites.

Text Size
An additional item in the View menu that you may find very useful is the Text Size selector. It can change the size of the letters on the page you are viewing. Quite useful as we get older....

You can also zoom in or out on a web page by using Ctrl with the plus or minus sign. Useful if you need to zoom in on part of a page that you are showing in class.

Full Screen mode
Pressing F11will put your browser in full screen mode. This can be useful to better use the full area of your screen during a presentation.

Common buttons

Back:  Click this button to display the previous page in the history list. Click the down arrow next to the button or, in some browsers, hold down the button to display a drop-down menu containing the the pages you can go back to in the history list. A history list contains a hierarchy of pages you've already viewed. You can view a subset of the history list in the View/Go to menu or view the entire History by pressing the History button.

Forward:  Click this button to display the next page in the history list. If you've retrieved a page by using the Back button or a history menu item, using Forward displays the following page.  Forward is only available after you use Back or a history item.

Stop: Click this button to halt any ongoing transfer of page information.

Refresh:  Click this button to redisplay the current page, reflecting any changes made since the original loading.

Home:  Click this button to display the home page designated in the browser's preferences or Internet options.

Search: Opens a search utility.

Favorites: AKA Bookmarks. Click this button to display a list of "favorite" or "bookmarked" web pages.

History: Check out where your browser has been. Have your students been doing their work or looking at inappropriate material?

Print:  Click this button to print the content area of the currently displayed page. A dialog  box lets you select printing characteristics.

As browser software evolves, the interface will continue to change.  You can save time in the long run by exploring the commands at your disposal.

To open URLs you have previously typed in and visited 
Choose an item from the address field drop-down menu. To display this list, click the arrow located to the right of the address field.

Bookmarks / Favorites
(On the Mac OS, the Bookmarks menu is available from the menu bar.)
If you find a site that's the bee's knees, you can add it to your Bookmark or Favorites list by using the pull-down menu;  this way, you can find your way back immediately and do not have to use bread crumbs--much faster!

You can add and delete bookmarks by using the Organize Favorites menu.  Your bookmarks are "portable" -- you can save them as a file and take them away w/you on a disk then use them on another machine. You can create bookmark folders and then file your bookmarks in those folders to make them easier to find.  You can also copy bookmarks from one browser to another, e.g. Netscape to IE.

Viewing Bookmarks and History
Bookmarks offer a convenient means to  retrieve pages whose locations (URLs) you've saved. You store your bookmarks in a list that's saved on your hard disk. Once you add a bookmark to your list, the item stays until you remove it or change lists. The permanence and accessibility of bookmarks make them invaluable for personalizing your Internet access. History offers a convenient means of redisplaying pages you've previously viewed. Unlike bookmark lists, which store page locations that you've designated, history items are saved automatically when you display a page. They also disappear automatically after a time.

Editing in the Bookmarks Window
(On the Mac OS, the Bookmarks window for editing is opened from the Communicator menu.)
The Favorites window offers the full set of bookmark capabilities. You can click bookmarks to access pages, drag and drop icons to arrange your bookmarks, create folders to organize your bookmarks, and use the window's menu bar to create new bookmark items and manipulate bookmark names and addresses.

Other tidbits
General preferences
Under the, Tools/Internet Options menu (IE) or Edit/Preferences pull-down menu (Netscape), you can set your own preferences for homepage, colors for page and links, fonts, and a host of other things. 

Moving around
You can quickly scroll through a Web page using your mouse wheel. If your fingers are on your keyboard, you can scroll down a page by tapping the Spacebar. Shift-Spacebar scrolls up a page.

You can go to the previous web page viewed by hitting Backspace or Alt-left arrow. Alt-right arrow take you forward in your list of viewed web pages. You can also use the drop-down button next to the Back/Forward buttons to see the entire list.

If you just need to select a word, double-click on the word you need. To get a whole paragraph, tripple-click. To get the whole document, use select all or Ctrl-A. To select a range, click on the point where you want the selection to begin, hold SHIFT, then click on the end point. You can increase or decrease the size of your selection by holding the Shift key and pressing the left or right arrows. Use the Shift Left/Right arrow keys to grow or shrink the selection by a whole word at a time. Shift Up/Down arrow keys grow or shrink the selection by a whole line at a time.

Use Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-X for Copy, Paste, Delete. Use Ctrl-Z for Undo.

You can copy parts of a web page and paste into your word processor, either with formatting or without (use paste special - Ctrl-Shift-V). This can be a help in preparing authentic materials for use in class activities. This can also avoid copying strange formatting codes from various kinds of documents.

When you need to find something you know should be on a web page, use Ctrl-F to open the search dialog and find it quickly instead of scanning through the page by hand.

Saving graphics, audio files, and text
You can use pull-down menus to save a page as one or more files.  Use right mouse button to access pop-up menu for saving links, audio, and graphics files.  (On the Mac OS,  hold down mouse button for a second and pop-up menu will appear.)

Use the Print Screen key to copy the whole screen as an image. You can paste it in an image editor or Word document. Use Alt-Print Screen to copy only the active window.

Printing parts of a page
If you wish to print only part of a page, you can use the mouse to select what you wish to print and then use the File / Print menu to print only the selected parts of the page.

You can also use the File / Print Preview menu to control the size of the print as well as the orientation (portrait or landscape).  

Today's browsers have built-in synchronization that you can set up so that all the computers you work at will share all of the same settings, bookmarks, preferences, etc.

Google Chrome Sync:

Firefox Sync:

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