Searching for Canadian Educational Content on the
By Quentin DSouza
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, Canada.com searches only Canadian web sites and Retail-canada.com searches for
Canadian businesses. Web directories are web sites that are dedicated to linking you to
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 www.canada.com
is indicated by a small maple leaf. Here are some other useful search engines for seeking
Canadian content on the web www.cantrek.com,
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 www.yahoo.ca
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
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
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 www.oise.on.ca/~mpress/eduweb.html
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 DSouza 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 www.historylands.com.
This site features thirteen of Canadas 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
But Historylands.com 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
Richard Williamson is vice-principal at Ashton Meadowvale Public
School in Markham.