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Some Tips and Tricks
& Why I Love to Use Alternative Browsers


Dear World,

When teaching ICT I believe that it is important that we give our students experience using many different programs. One of the reasons for this is so they can see how knowledge of one application can transfer to another to help them solve problems in the new software. That way they are equipped with skills to attack pieces of software that haven't been invented yet and the skills we give them today can be transported across time. This is why I always run more than one browser on a network. My current favourite alternative browser is Firefox because of some GREAT new features..

1. I love the Tabbed Browsing - ( CTRL + T)- Once you've had tabs you'll never go back :)
It allows you to have several pages all open just below the address bar at the top of the browser window - eg your mail and a few other bits of light reading.

2. I LOVE the Active Bookmarks - this allows you to subscribe to pages with rss feeds ie pages that let you know automaticlly when they've been updated. This feature is ideal for keeping up to date with sites that change their content often eg News sites, blogs and sporting results.

When you visit a site, if it allows you to subscribe to its 'feed' a little orange icon appears in the address bar. You simply click on it and add the site to your active bookmarks. Then, each time you fire up the browser Firefox checks if the site has been updated. So easy.

3. I love the fact that Search engines are built in - The Google Search Toolbar comes with Firefox so you can search from inside the browser window. It is also very easy to add your own favourite search engine to this tool bar by clicking the drop down menu and selecting 'add search engine'.

4. The Search THIS Page feature fantastic - (CTRL + F) brings up the find box at the bottom of the window (not it the middle of your reading). When you type in your query the field goes RED if there are no matches in the document. Sooooo quick. Plus, as you type, it searches the document and takes you straight to that section of the page. Love it!

5. Firefox also has a great pop up blocker - which is excellent when teaching class and there are heaps of useful and fun extensions that plug straight in. You can access these by going
Bookmarks/Firefox Links/Themes and Extensions

Ideas for the activities:

* demonstrate an activity in another browser and then have the children complete the activity in Firefox then watch their problem solving ability. NB this activity often leads into a great discussion on ways to solve problems... (and whinging to the teacher is not a problem solving strategy lol)
* do a comparison of the various features of different browsers.

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