write your own Web pages
Links checked 10 February 2012
Your website does not have to be online. It is possible to create a website for use on a local stand-alone PC, on a Local Area Network (LAN), on a CD-ROM or on an intranet. An intranet is a sort of internal Internet, confined within an institution.
Above all, you need to understand the concept of hypertext. A visionary thinker, Vannevar Bush, is credited with inventing the concept of hypertext in an article titled "As we may think", which was written way back in 1945. In this article he describes an imaginary machine he calls "Memex", which is essentially a device that takes account of the way the human mind associates ideas and follows a variety of different paths rather than moving on sequentially. Bush wrote:
"[ The human mind] operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature."
It took around 40 years before Bush's vision of hypertext was finally realised: on the Apple Mac in the 1980s with a program known as Hypercard. The main feature of hypertext is the links - also known as hyperlinks - to other parts of the text, to other texts, graphics, photographs, sound clips, video clips, etc - most of which are illustrated later in this article. By clicking on a link, which is usually indicated by an underscore and/or a different colour, you move automatically to the linked text, graphic, etc., thus enabling you to explore the text non-sequentially. The World Wide Web is an extended form of hypertext, written in a mark-up language known as HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language). HTML enables links to be made to almost any computer in the world.
Websites can contain text, graphics, photographs, audio recordings and video recordings. These are often referred to as the assets of a website. You need a variety of software packages for creating Web pages:
Creating links - also known as hyperlinks - with a Web design package is easy. There are different kinds of links:
Web pages can contain graphics and photographs. The former are normally stored in GIF format and the latter are normally stored in JPG format. Graphics and photographs can be scanned in and stored on disk with the aid of a flat-bed scanner and then edited with the aid of a software package, e.g. Adobe Photoshop. There are lots of collections of graphics and photographs on the Web itself and on commercially produced CD-ROMs.
This is a graphic stored in GIF format - the euro Symbol.
I found this at one of the European Commission's websites.
This is a photograph stored in JPG format - taken
by myself in Rüdesheim, Germany, and scanned in with the aid of a flat-bed scanner
I reduced the size of the original slightly with the aid of Adobe Photoshop.
You can create a hyperlink to a word-processed document in DOC or RTF format. This is useful if you want people to be able to access a document and print it in its normal format, e.g. here is a link to a document I edited (with Bangs P., Frisby R. & Walton E.), Setting up effective digital language laboratories and multimedia ICT suites for Modern Foreign Languages, London: CILT (2005 - regularly updated): Digital Labs.doc.
You can create a hyperlink to a sound file, e.g. in WAV or MP3 format. Click here: Dialogue in a German Café
You can create a hyperlink to a video file, e.g. in AVI or MPEG format. Click here: My greyhound Swifty
Here is a sample streaming video file in FLV format which I have linked to at the YouTube site. It's short clip of the actress Sandra Bullock speaking German (she's good!).
This facility is useful if you wish people to be able to download programs from your website that can then be run offline. Click here to download a demo version of Fun with Texts.
Interactive exercises can be delivered via the Web. Click here to try a short gap-filling exercise created with the Hot Potatoes Web authoring package. Hot Potatoes is available free of charge from the University of Victoria, Canada.You could also consider Quia and Vokabel . Both the Quia and Vokabel sites contain exercise creation tools together with examples.
It is most important to keep track of all your links and external URLs. Web design software usually has inbuilt functions that alert you to errors and help you check that all your links work. A useful piece of software that speeds up the process of checking external links is Xenu's Link Sleuth, a software package that checks websites for broken links. Link verification is done on "normal" links, images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts and Java applets. It displays a continously updated list of URLs which you can sort by different criteria. A report can be produced in HTML at any time while link checking is in progress: http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html.
Keep the page layout simple. The same rules apply to designing Web pages as to any other form of software, but you have less control over what happens at the user's end. Don't use garish colours, too many graphics and weird fonts! See Davies G., Hickman P. & Hewer S. (1994). See Module 3.2 (CALL software design and implementation) at the ICT for Language teachers website: http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_mod3-2.htm
You must have a subscription to an to Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most ISPs offer website space as part of an annual contract. Software for uploading pages to your website is usually built into your ISP's communications software. Alternatively, the Web design package that you use will probably have inbuilt software for uploading to the Web, but this must be correctly configured to tie in with your ISP's software. For further information on this topic see Section 6 of Module 3.3 (Creating a World Wide Web site), written by Fred Riley, at the ICT for Language Teachers website: http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_mod3-3.htm#6
Atkinson T. (2002, 2nd edition) WWW: the Internet in the Modern Foreign Languages classroom, London, CILT.
Davies G., Hickman P. & Hewer S. (1994) Style guidelines for developers, TELL Consortium, University of Hull.
Davies G. (2000) The Internet: an introduction for language teachers, Camsoft Web publication.
Felix U. (1998) Virtual language learning: finding the gems amongst the pebbles, Melbourne: Language Australia.
Felix U. (2001) Beyond Babel: language learning online, Melbourne: Language Australia. Reviewed at: http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/FelixReview.htm
Felix U. (2003) (ed.) Language learning online: towards best practice, Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.
Riley F. (2009) Creating a World Wide Web site. Module 3.3 in Davies G. (ed.) Information and Communications Technology for Language Teachers (ICT4LT), Slough, Thames Valley University [Online]. Available from: http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_mod3-3.htm
Graham Davies 2012. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.