Using the Internet to gather information may well be the most direct method of usage. Simply put, the student uses his or her browser in the same fashion as he or she would access a computerized library index system.
However, the 'Net is not a library.
Due to the way in which the Internet grew, information can be encyclopedic on one topic and inversely sparse in others. It is quite easy in education to request information on a given topic which returns but a few web pages.
The Internet is perhaps the only medium which allows all material entry. Search engines acquire their information by scanning a hidden HTML meta-content tag (command) called a header. The author of the web page can enter any key words he or she wishes to. There is no set convention. Therefore, unsuitable material may appear even in the most innocuous search.
If you plan to allow your students to search the Internet for material relevant to your course, it is recommended that you always perform the search first.
For tips on how to search the 'Net quickly and effectively, click the How to Use Search Engines on the 'Net here or below or download the Laurentian CEMIS manual The Internet in the Classroom & Staff Room. (Note: The manual is 2 megabytes. On a standard connection (28.8 baud) this should take about 30 minutes. To view this file, you will need Adobe Reader. If you don't have it, click here and follow the directions.)
Search Engines and Search-Related Products of Interest to Teachers & Older Students
Search Engines of Interest to Elementary School Teachers & Younger Students