How to Teach Social Studies Without
a Textbook:
Web Literacy and the Social Studies
Source of Information
Alan November
Grammar of a Web page
• Web addresses are read left to right
• Unlike in books, there are no page numbers.
The way you find a specific page on a site is to
have the right address that points to the one
page you are looking for.
• There are no spaces in URLs.
Slashes are always forward (/).
What is in a name?
Top Level
Component Two
Component One
Common Extensions
Schools in the US
Educational organizations (most US colleges)
Academic institutions (outside US)
Any organization
Government agency
Military institution (In US)
Grammar of a Web page
Country Codes
• If navigating to a site that is hosted in another
country there will be an additional extension,
called a county code.
• Examples:
• (South Africa) (New Zealand) (Greece) (Japan)
Frame Your Searches for Better Results:
How do Search Engines Work
• Anyone with deep pockets can get to the top of a
results list by purchasing key search terms.
• Avoid sponsored results
• Different Search Engines work differently. Select
the engine based on you needs:
– NoodleTools
• Will help you choose the best search engines for your needs
– Technorati – searches only within blogs
– Podscope – searches for audio and video
The REAL Thing
R Read URL
E Examine the content
A Ask about the author and owner
L Links
Read URL
You should ask three basic questions when reading a
1. Do you recognize the domain name?
2. What is the extension in the domain name?
3. Are you a on a personal page?
Here are a few hints to identify personal pages
• A name
• Tilde (~)
• Percent sign (%)
• The words users, people, or members
Examine the content
Here are a list of guiding questions for
judging the content of a Web site.
1. Is the information on the Web site useful for
your topic?
2. Are additional resources and links provided?
Do the links work?
3. Is the site current? Do you know when it was
last updated?
4. Do you think the information is accurate?
5. Does the information contradict information
you have found elsewhere?
Ask about the author and owner
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Is the author’s name provided?
2. Is there a contact person or an address provided?
3. Is there biographical information provided about the
4. Does the author seem knowledgeable? Is he or she an
expert in the field?
5. What kinds of results do you see when you do a search on
the author’s name?
If there is no information about the author, students should be careful
about wholly trusting the information on the Web page. They may need to
validate more. is a site directory that
collects information from the Internet to tack who owns and is responsible
for a domain name.
• When looking at forward links ask these
guiding questions:
– 1. What are the URLs of the forward links?
– 2. Do the domain names change?
• When searching for back links ask three
guiding questions:
– 1. Who is linked to the Web site?
– 2. Why are they linked?
– 3. What do other sites say about the material on
the site?
• To generate a list of back links use with the link: command
In Conclusion
It is not only about validating
information; it’s about finding quality
resources that are “safe” and
bypassing unwanted materials on the
−Alan November
Contact Me