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A course about using electronic technologies
to support and enhance teaching. 

Developed by Tony Whittingham
Go to the Cyberteacher web site

The Invisible Web
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. -M.K. Gandhi
Introduction | Learning Gateway | Activities  | Assessment | Follow Up

The World Wide Web (WWW) with its rich storehouse of constantly updated information (containing an estimated 2.5 billion documents, growing at a rate of 7.5 million documents per day) has become a teacher’s ‘best friend’ for the supply of knowledge and resources to support and enhance teaching.. Unfortunately the WWW has become so vast that search engines are unable to locate a growing body of information hidden in what has become known as the invisible web. The invisible web can be made more visible by directing searches to databases (e.g. searching for books) , learning object repositories (e.g. CAREO), specific domains (e.g. education/.edu), countries (e.g. Australia/.au), and file formats e.g. MSWORD and PowerPoint documents/.doc/.ppt).  A growing source of hidden information has recently emerged with the advent of WebLogs (BLOGS). These ‘expert diaries’ may remain hidden unless identified by ‘word of mouth’ or ‘feeds’ linking them to other more readily identified sources of information.

Objectives: At the completion of this module you will be able to:

1. Use the GOOGLE search engine to locate WWW information, to support your teaching, from specific databases, domains, countries, file formats, subject directories and catalogues.

2. Identify and bookmark a range of weblogs (BLOGS) relevant to your teaching areas.

3. Create a BLOG for sharing knowledge, in your areas of expertise, with students and peers.

Learning Gateway

1. Searching the invisible web.
A very large part of the Web cannot be searched using search engines such as Google, AltaVista, HotBot, or Excite. It is estimated that the World Wide Web is 500 times larger than what is represented in the databases of these search engines. Terms used for the part of the Web’s content that is not indexed by the major search engines include “the invisible web” or “the deep web” or “the hidden web.” It is not that this portion of the Web really is invisible; it is just that it is not available to users of conventional Web-based search engines. Locating information on the “invisible” or “deep” Web is often referred to as “mining.” It may require special skills and special access conditions (such as passwords) or even special software.

An overview of the invisible web with links to a range of searchable databases.

A review of the book 'The Invisible Web' that also provides an outline of issues and search strategies.

What it is, Why it exists, and How to find it...The Invisible Web

WOW! This is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) free, open, publication of MIT Course Materials, 'Opencourseware'. It's very new, controversial and will be a great source of resources for teachers.

Here is the Alexa Web Search engine. It uses the search results from Google, but also provides a small screenshot of the top results and special Alexa related info for each result, like traffic ranking, related pages and reviews and also related books from Amazon. Note the 'Site Info' and the 'Average User Review'. 

2. Weblogs (BLOGS) In Education.
A weblog (or 'blog') can be thought of as an online journal that an individual can continuously update with his or her own words, ideas, and thoughts through software that enables one to easily do so. Blogs offer teachers and their students an interactive and immediate publishing tool. Unlike most Web sites, which generally combine static and dynamic features, a blog is produced with an active writer in mind, one who creates in an online writing space designed to communicate an identity, a personality, and most importantly, a point of view.
An emerging educational use of blogs is for the distribution of learning content. Blogs form an ideal medium for the distribution of professional development and other learning resources. Some initiatives have already started at places such as Maricopa College and the University of Calgary are experimenting with the use of blogs to distribute learning objects and learning object metadata.  Blogs will allow learners to access resources from a wide variety of sources, including not only education providers, but also companies and individuals offering specialized learning opportunities.

This web site is intended for users, managers, developers, and facilitators of elearning and has a comprehensive list of learning and technology blogs.

An article and links to applying blogs in education, "Blogging in English Class".

 describes a range of blog applications in education.

Weblogs for use in ESL classes.....apply this article to your own subject area.

Content management for teachers. Weblogs, or blogs, are an easy way to get content up on a Web site, and there is more to them than just online diaries.

How about a class/subject blog with students contributions?. While most blogs are simple text diaries laced with hyperlinks to other websites, is something else entirely: a richly designed site with eye-popping photography and links to articles on everything from advertising history to famous film directors. Coudal's eight employees take turns posting to the blog, which is updated twice a day. The blog has transformed a small, eight-person ad boutique into a hub for design aficionados worldwide. "It's been great for our reputation," says Coudal.

A definitive list of blog references. Note the 'Thoughtful Blogs" section for links to edcuation blogs. Compiled by David Mattison, MLS ( for a presentation to the Government Librarians Association of BC and Special Librarians Association, 4000 Seymour Place, Victoria, BC, May 21, 2003.




Developing a teachers WebLog (BLOG)
There are many sites for hosting free blogs. The site for this activity provides a wide range of templates for your blog layout, comprehensive editing facilities, simple hyperlinking to web sites and flexible archiving.

Refer to this activities handout for instructions to develop and maintain your teacher's blog.


Self Assessment
1. You should now be able to compile a list of advanced search engine terms that will enable you to obtain information relevant to your teaching from the 'Invisible Webs' databases and specific domains, countries and file formats.

2. You should now be able to compile a list of BLOGS as a source of currrent knowledge that is relevant to your teaching areas.

3. You should now be able to develop a BLOG for sharing your expertise and experience with your students and peers.


Follow Up

1. Create and maintain a BLOG for your subject areas and provide its address to your students and peers.

2. Bookmark sites you locate from the invisible web and review and share these sites with other teachers via your BLOG.



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