Learning to Drive

What We'll Learn

  1. How a Web Browser helps us explore the Internet
  2. Know how to use a Web Browser

The Internet Highway

You can compare the Internet to a large highway, with many places to visit along the way.  In order to get on the highway, you need the right equipment, and you need to pay for an access ramp.  Access to the Internet is provided by an ISP - Internet Service Provider. In our area, the two main ISPs are Rogers and Bell.  When you pay for access there are charges for:
  • The level of maximum speed you can get through your access (bandwidth)
  • The total amount of information you are allowed per month (usage)

Exploring the Internet 

As soon as you start your computer, it's talking on the Internet, doing things like:
  • Getting program updates
  • Checking for new information
  • Connecting to Internet Communication Services, like Messenger, Talk, and Skype
However, when we humans want to explore the Internet, we need to use a vehicle, a special program called a Web Browser. Like a car, a Web Browser lets us drive and visit different sites and use services available on the Internet.  There are a variety of Web Browsers available, and you can choose which one you want to use at any time.  Here are the most popular Web Browsers:
  • Internet Explorer -  Made by Microsoft, IE is the Cadillac of the Web Browsers. This program is automatically available on every Windows computer.
  • Google Chrome - Google has created a very popular Web Browser.  Chrome is fast and very secure, making this the Sports Car of the Internet.
  • Mozilla Firefox - Technical people like to modify and tinker with this browser. It's like having your own Muscle Car to play with.
You will need to Install one of the alternate Web Browsers on your computer, if you wish to try it out.  Once installed, you can decide to use it instead of Internet Explorer, or alongside Internet Explorer. You can learn more about different Browsers at WhatBrowser.org

If you switch Browsers, the new Web Browser will ask if it can be your default browser, in other words, if it can be your favourite car to use on the Internet.  All the Web Browsers generally work the same way, but you can only declare one as your default at any time.  For this tutorial we will be focusing on Internet Explorer.


Driving by Clicking

The easiest way of driving on the Internet, is to simply click a link.  Active text and pictures on a page will send you to another destination when you click on them with a mouse.  Usually the text is underlined to help you identify these links.


Your Web Browser will always show you where you are in the Address Bar at the top of the screen.  This is the unique address of the page you are viewing, also known as the URL

Exercise

Follow these steps to Navigate the Internet by clicking:
  1. Note the URL at the top of this page we are currently on.  It is the unique address of this page.
  2. The next step will take you away from this page, so memorize these instructions.   Note the URL of the page on the next step, and then click the Back Button  to return here.
  3. Click on this link to "drive" to the Google Search page.  


Driving by Direct Address

It is also possible to quickly go to any Web Page by typing its unique address directly in the Address Bar of your browser.  Although this is the most direct way to get somewhere, it is not recommended for these reasons:
  • It can be cumbersome to type in a long URL with all it's letters and slashes.
  • If you misspell or incorrectly type the address, you will end up in the wrong place.

Exercise

Use these steps to Navigate the Internet by Direct Address:
  1. Note, after each step below, use the Back Button to return to this page.
  2. Type www.google.com and press the <Enter> key.  You should go to the Google Search Page
  3. Type www.googie.com and press the <Enter> key.  You will be sent to a different, and potentially dangerous website.


Drive by Searching

The best way to Navigate the Internet is to use a good Search Service, such as Google Search.  A search service is like a Tourist Office.  Here's how it works:
  1. You go to the Search Service (Tourist Info Office)
  2. You ask for information on a topic (Search Query)
  3. You are presented with a list of recommended sites related to your search
  4. You click on a link of one of the recommendations
  5. You are sent to the related Web Page
Although this seems like a lot of steps, it is faster because you have less to type. It's also safer since you don't need to worry about misspelling an address.

Exercise

Use these steps to Navigate the Internet by Searching:
  1. Note, use the Back Button to return to this page after the following steps.
  2. Modern Web Browsers allow you to also use the Address Bar as a Search Bar.  Type tutorials in the Address Bar and press the <Enter> key.  You will be taken to a Search Service and presented with related recommendations.
  3. Click the recommendation of your choice.
  4. Note the URL of the pages you visit.


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