K-12 Tips & Tricks
by
Gina Otto
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Tips and Tricks for Researching, Communicating & Using the Internet

Why do you want to use the Internet?

RESEARCH?
If your primary use of the Internet is to be research, you will need a method to find information quickly, and save the place youíve found it.  Therefore, once you've located a site you want to get back to, go to Bookmarks and choose Add Bookmark, or Add to Favorite Place.  Your bookmarks or favorite places can be organized into folders for easy reference.

   TIP #1: Once you have found one or two Search Engines you like to use, bookmark them. (Google, or Bing for example,

Research for your own information? Or use in lessons?  After you have done research you may wish to include that research in your own lessons.
Find lessons already written?  Some sites listed are places to find already written Lesson Plans.  Some may be generic, topic specific, step by step plans, webquests or problem-based lessons.  Some are just lesson plans, not based on use of the Internet to complete, while others use the Internet to complete and may have the research already done with links included.
    TIP #2:Once you have found several places to get good lessons for your applications, bookmark them.

Are your sites slow-loading or missing?

    TIP #3: Although the graphics and videos and sound bites are great when viewing sites, if it's information you're after, and time you don't have, then turn them off.  In NETSCAPE, go to the Options menu and deselect  Auto Load Image.  Now when you click on a site you will only receive the text so transfer will happen faster.  Small icons show up to hold the spot where the graphic would appear.  If you need to see the graphic, double click on the icon and it should load.

    TIP #4: If you click to a site and it takes a long time to load, this may mean the site is very busy.  Hit the Stop button on your toolbar, wait a few seconds, then try again.

    TIP #5: If the site you click to does not load, and you get a 404 message or a "the server does not have a DNS entry " error message, it may mean that that site is no longer available or that the site or server is off line for editing by its webmaster.  Do not delete a bookmark you like until you have tried it over a period of a week or two.  It may come back!!

    TIP #6: If the site you click to does not load, you may try to locate it by deleting the last part of the address (to take you to the homepage of the site).  Sometimes you can locate a site that has changed its address that way.

Websites and information: fact or fiction?

    TIP #7: Just because it is on the Internet doesn't mean it is truthful and correct.  Beware of sites with "agendas", and most have some.  To find out how to train yourself and your students to be critical consumers of information, check Snopes at http://www.snopes.com/

Hard to read the site?

    TIP #8: Depending on the settings of your screen and your browser, you may find that some texts do not fit on your computer screen. You can correct this problem by adjusting the font size in your browser. In Netscape, select OPTIONS, then GENERAL PREFERENCES,  then FONTS. Then select CHOOSE FONTS and adjust the size so that the text will fit your screen.
 

COMMUNICATION?
If your primary interest in the Internet is for Communication, you may be using E-mail, Listservs, Keypals, On-line Projects, Virtual or Electronic Field Trips or you can bring an Expert into your classroom.

    TIP #9: Learn to use your Email software to access mail in a timely fashion.  Also learn to use the address book so that you can send multiple mailings to the same people (create a list) without laboriously typing in each address individually.

    TIP #10: Join an E-mail group for teachers with interests in common with your own.  A Listserv is simply an electronic mailing list.  You do not need to have each member of the list in your own address book-- those names are kept by the mailing list master.  The list automatically sends any posted message to all subscribers.  See
LISTSERVS AND KEYPALS

   TIP #11:You may want to join a listserv digest, rather than a listserv, since you may be inundated with messages otherwise. If the option exists to join a digest, do it!!   You'll get all the messages, but in one mailing, not 100s.

    TIP #12: You (and your students) may want to communicate with KeyPals all across the country or the world.  You can submit a request to hook up with a school in another state or countr. See e-mail section

    TIP #13: An On-Line Project is an e-mail activity where your entire class works with another classroom, sharing information, doing authentic research, comparing data and e-mailing results back and forth.  You may only need one computer since data can be collected away from the computer, and results copied and printed for your kids.  Check out the LACOE Teams site at  http://teams.lacoe.edu/documentation/projects/project.html

    TIP #14: Virtual Field Trips are e-mail activities where students communicate with people who are traveling around the world.  They correspond with the traveler through e-mail, learning about what is happening NOW!   SEE Virtual Field Trips or check out ROCKETS ON WHEELS - http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/altertherocket.html An electronic field trip to a NASCAR Speedway which includes the chance to build your own online race car, a classroom tool box, and race car web links.  

    TIP #15: You can communicate with an expert in many different fields through e-mail and an Internet connection.  Check out: ASK AN EXPERT - http://www.refdesk.com/expert.html where you can ask an expert about a topic by just picking a category.

PUBLISH?
If you are ready to publish your research/lesson on the internet, see the Technology Sites for Teachers  section for information on how to do this.  

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Last Updated March, 2013

GINA OTTO can be reached at RBOtto@aol.com
 

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