Using the World Wide Web in the French Classroom:
Everything for the Beginner 
and Even Something for the Experienced User

Dr. Jayne Abrate, Executive Director, AATF

French Version

This Web page will familiarize you with the Web in French, how it operates, available resources, and pedagogical applications.

Consult this page on line.



  1. Introduction to the Web
  2. Technical terms in French
  3. Using Netscape
  4. Finding documents
  5. Presenting documents
  6. Pedagogical activities
  7. Other resources


The World Wide Web represents one part of the Internet just like discussion groups, gophers, or e-mail. Files, created using the HTML (hypertext mark-up language) language, are posted on the Web. The user can access these files by means of a browser;   Netscape and Internet Explorer are the most popular. The HTML language permits the creation of hypertext documents, that is, documents which contain links that facilitate access to other texts as well as to digitized images, sound files, and video files.  A user can navigate the Web thanks to links which are pieces of active text or image on which you can click to immediately jump to another document or site.  The extreme ease with which documents can be created and disseminated on the Web calls for several cautionary notes:
  1. Files appear and disappear rapidly.  If the page does not belong to an official well-established organization, there is no guarantee of finding a site you like when you return to it;
  2. Files can also change place.  Often URLs, the addresses of Web sites, change, even only slightly, but enough so that you cannot find it again.  In such a case, you can use a search engine to try to locate it;
  3. The quality of information contained on a given page is quite variable.  The teacher must verify the content as well as the quality of the language before presenting it to students;
  4. The teacher must also be aware that there are a great number of questionable sites that contain texts and images that are inappropriate for students and which sometimes hide behind innocent names.  Often there is a clue, usually quite subtle, on the welcome page, but, especially when the site is in French, this message can go unnoticed by a student.  If you teach in a high school, it is important to have in place an Internet Use Policy, including rules about free exploration as well as penalties to be applied if the rules are broken, signed by the teacher, each student and a parent.  Furthermore, student access to the Web should be limited by using established sites and well-defined activities to complete in a set time frame.  To accomplish this, the teacher can even have students work directly from a Web page he or she has created;
  5. Since anyone can surf the Web, students should be warned repeatedly not to give out personal information beyond an e-mail address.  Warn students never to give out their full name, address, or telephone number to anyone met via the Web.
It is also useful to be familiar with certain technical terms (the English equivalent is given in parentheses):

There are several ways to access a URL, that is, the address of a Web site.

  1. Click on FILE OPEN PAGE (or CTRL + O), type the URL, click on OPEN.
  2. Type the URL in the LOCATION/ADDRESS window, press ENTER.
  3. Click on a link on the screen.
  1. If you find a document or image you want to save on diskette, you can do so.  Images or icons found in documents represent links.  These are graphics files linked to the text file by HTML codes, and you only save on diskette the text file itself that you are consulting.  If you want to save the images, you can do so, but it is necessary to save each one individually unless you use a program like Web Whacker. In certain circumstances, you can save file and images by clicking on FILE + EDIT PAGE/EDIT.  Once the page appears in the editor, click on FILE, SAVE AS, verify that the dialogue box shows the correct drive and the name of the file (which you can change if you wish), click on OK and you will save the file as well as images, icons, and background.  If you click on VIEW, PAGE INFO (CTRL + I), you will find a list of the images which appear on any given page.
  2. To save a file, click on FILE and then on SAVE AS, verify that the dialogue box shows the correct drive (for example,  a:\ or b:\ for a diskette, c:\ for the hard drive) and the filename (which you can change if you wish), click on OK.  You can also click on the diskette icon (CTRL + S) to save the file as is.
  3. You can save a link or image directly to diskette.  Put the cursor over a link or image, click on the right mouse button, click on SAVE LINK/IMAGE AS/SAVE PICTURE AS, enter the filename and verify the folder/directory, click on OK.

Other functions that you can use by right-clicking on the mouse include:

Note: It is particularly difficult, and sometimes impossible, to save certain texts or images which appear in frames.  

You can print a document you find on the Web while on line or after saving it on diskette.  Once again, if you print from a file saved on diskette, you will not have the images or icons unless you have saved them, too.  If you print while on line, you will print the page exactly as it appears on your screen, even in color if you have a color printer.  To print a Web page, click on FILE and then on PRINT or use the PRINT icon. The dialogue box allows you to verify the printer (if you have more than one), to select the print quality, the number of copies, and to indicate the pages that you want to print if the document is long (Note: page length is not what you see on the screen, but rather pages are formatted by the browser). The option FILE, PRINT lets you change printers, select text orientation, alter the paper size, or print in color.  If you click on PROPERTIES/PREFERENCES, you can give more detailed instructions relative to the printer which you are using.  The option FILE, PROPERTIES/PREFERENCES, SETUP/ADVANCED lets you control certain elements of the layout.

If you click on PRINT and then on PRINT PREVIEW, you can view the exact layout that your printed document will have (number of pages, format, etc.).

A browser  indicates URLs in several ways.  If you consult a document with a link that interests you, you can easily find its URL. If one of the elements described does not appear on your screen, click on VIEW, SHOW/TOOLBARS and choose the bars that you want shown.  (Later you will learn how to find sites using a search engine.)

  1. The site you are currently at is always shown in the LOCATION/ADDRESS window.
  2. The navigation bar at the bottom of the screen indicates the different functions that the program is executing.  If you put the cursor on a link, the arrow changes, and the link's URL is shown here.
  3. If an image is also an active link you can find the link's URL by putting the cursor on it, and the URL will appear in the bar at the bottom of the screen.
  4. If an image is not an active link, you can still find its URL by putting the cursor on it, then clicking on the right mouse button.  Choose COPY LINK/COPY, then go to another document in the Netscape editor, click on  EDIT, then PASTE to see the link. From the dialogue box, you can also create a bookmark  (ADD BOOKMARK/ADD TO FAVORITES).
  5. If an image is not an active link, you can find its URL by clicking on VIEW and then on SOURCE. This will give you access to the HTML file containing all the code and links which constitute the page's format.
  6. Finally, you can click on a link, directly access the document which interests you and create a bookmark (explained below).  Note: On certain sites where the page is composed of multiple frames, the bookmark will indicate only the welcome page and not the other files on the site which appear in the individual frames.  In this case, it is necessary to choose Nos. 2-4.

When you consult the Web for a while, you leave a trail which is sometimes difficult to remember and retrace.  If you want to go back, there are several ways of doing so depending on the circumstances:

  1. If you want to go back to see sites that you visited only 2 or 3 screens previously, click on the BACK button the number of times necessary.
  2. Click on the right mouse button, select BACK.
  3. If you click on the arrow to the right of the LOCATION/ADDRESS window, you will see a list of the last links consulted from which you can choose the one you wish to revisit.
  4. At the bottom of the GO dialogue box, you will find a list of URLs that you have visited.  You can click on the link of your choice.  Of course, if you have visited a lot of sites, you will not find them all, but the list often allows you to find your way back.

A bookmark lets you find a site or page you liked again easily.  To create a bookmark, click on BOOKMARKS/FAVORITES and then ADD BOOKMARK/ADD A FAVORITE.  To create a bookmark without going to a page, put the cursor on the link or the image, click the right mouse button, then ADD BOOKMARK/ADD TO FAVORITES.

The bookmark/favorites file becomes more and more useful as you explore the Web.  If you do not always use the same computer, you can save your list of bookmarks/favorites on diskette to take with you and use on whatever computer is available.  With Netscape, click on BOOKMARKS, EDIT BOOKMARKS, FILE, SAVE AS, enter the filename and verify the folder/directory, click on OK.  With Internet Explorer, use the option FILE, IMPORT AND EXPORT.

To edit your bookmark file, click on BOOKMARKS/FAVORITES and then on  EDIT BOOKMARKS/ORGANIZE FAVORITES. There, you can organize the links by clicking on them and dragging them or inserting categories, or deleting some.  If you use your own list on a computer that is not yours, just click on  FILE and then OPEN FILE (Netscape) or FILE and then IMPORT AND EXPORT (Internet Explorer), selecting bookmark file.  

Netscape and Internet Explorer offer several possibilities for personalizing your copy.  For example, you can choose the colors for links, background, or put any page you wish as HOME, that is, the page that appears when you start Netscape.  Click on EDIT, then PREFERENCES, where you can designate the name of the file you want to display when Netscape starts in the window HOMEPAGE/ADDRESS.  You can also access the page that you want displayed and click on USE CURRENT PAGE/USE CURRENT.  

To explore other options, follow the indications which appear when you click on EDIT, PREFERENCES/TOOLS, INTERNET OPTIONS.


Created: January 2, 1997

Last update: April 8, 2003