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Our December NetWatch column about Canadian content on the Internet sparked the interest of a number of our readers. In this issue, two College members have some helpful advice for their colleagues on how to find relevant Canadian content for their classes.

Searching for Canadian Educational Content on the Internet

By Quentin D’Souza

Since the popularization of the Internet, Canadians, especially educators, have been exploring the World Wide Web. With the huge number of search engines available to the average Internet user (more than 1,500) and the numerous web site directories, finding what you want can be a daunting task – especially if you are looking for Canadian educational content. There are, however, a number of strategies that you can use to make your search less time consuming.

On the Internet, there are major search engines, minor search engines, and web site directories. Major search engines like Yahoo, AltaVista, and GoTo index web sites and web pages on an international scale. Minor search engines are somewhat more specific. For example, searches only Canadian web sites and searches for Canadian businesses. Web directories are web sites that are dedicated to linking you to other sites.

When you begin your search, use Canadian search engines. These search engines organize your search so that Canadian sites are given priority and often are divided into provincial sections. For example, a Canadian web site on is indicated by a small maple leaf. Here are some other useful search engines for seeking Canadian content on the web –,, and

If you are using major search engines like Yahoo or AltaVista, select the regional or city searches. The major search engines feature local keyword searches, allowing web surfers to be very specific about where information will come from. This is great when

you are looking for specific educational content. A good start is and

While using major search engines, check out the web pages sections when you do a search. This is found on the bottom of a search page after you have entered your key-words. There are often a large number of web pages that come up in relation to your search.

When searching for specific content or web sites, the web page section are pages or sites that have not yet been indexed into the main search engine database. Instead, they are in a general database. These web sites or pages often contain content that is very specific at the top of the page and moves to more general information.

If you want your search to be effective, use the search tips section available from search engines. Place the words that you want to appear on the web site in quotation marks, and use the word and to separate word groups. For example, searching for lessons on the Canadian Parliamentary system, you would enter "Canadian Parliament" and "lesson".

When you are looking at web site directories, it is better to find ones that have no advertising. These sites, which have been added to the directory, are based on quality and merit not on advertising power. Some examples of good directories are and

The former site, created by Marian Press, brings together everything relating to Canada and education that has a presence on the web. The latter site is maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Education and is a great jumping-off point to other directories.

There are many superb resources for Canadian educators on the Internet. By using an educated approach to search for information, you can find exactly what you are looking for. One more piece of advice – do not forget to bookmark the sites you find most valuable, because getting back to them might be difficult.

Quentin D’Souza is a Grade 6/7 Teacher and computer site administrator for Senhor Santo Cristo School in downtown Toronto.

By Richard Williamson

For teachers who are looking for ways to bring Canadian history to life, it would be a good idea to have a look at This site features thirteen of Canada’s national historic sites. The sites are as diverse as a navy destroyer (HMCS Haida) to one of the first ski lodges in Canada (Skoki Ski Lodge) to Quebec City.

The site features images which, when expanded, each have well-researched information about the historical location. The QuickTime movies in the site offer actual video of the locations.

But is not just another site that offers yet more "information." For teachers who are seeking support for curriculum delivery, there are four activity areas to allow students to meet curriculum expectations through a web-based, interactive approach.

The four activity areas are based on excursions to the site, archeology, the flora, and the fauna. Students can learn about the changes to flora and fauna through history, learn about how an archeological dig is carried out and how to keep a logbook of their adventures – all without a textbook!

Historylands is an excellent interactive classroom or homework resource for junior, intermediate or senior students – depending on the needs of the students’ program.

Richard Williamson is vice-principal at Ashton Meadowvale Public School in Markham.