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Thinking about the History of the Internet

Written by Danielle Nicole DeVoss
October 01, 2010

In almost all of my classes, I can’t resist talking with students about the history of the Internet. Most of my classes are writing classes for undergraduate students, and because the Internet is our writing space par excellence, I think it’s useful to have a sense of how this space was imagined, designed, and crafted, and how it has evolved and continues to evolve.

Melih Bilgil, “History of the Internet”:

I love this short video not only because it’s very well-designed and well-narrated, but because it provides a more international perspective on the history of the Internet, and it also includes some helpful explanations of some of (what I like to call) the “moon language” of the Internet (e.g., “batch processing,” “transmission control protocol”)

A Brief and Very Biased History of the Internet, Part 1:

This is the first in a set of four videos I created and narrated for students in an online graduate seminar I taught, called “Teaching with Technology.” Early in the course, we talked about the emergence and development of the Internet, and analyzed and contextualized this space for a better scaffolding for thinking about how we can use the Internet as it is today in our teaching.

History of the Internet, according to Ethan Zuckerman:

I think it’s important to consider that there is no One Great Grand History, but rather multiple histories, depending on one’s vantage point (and economic, cultural, social and many other factors!). This is thus another history of the Internet, captured at a 2006 conference.

Web 2.0 Not in Words:

This slightly annoying but fantastically interesting video short presents a view of both web 1.0 and web 2.0. This would make for an interesting in-class teaching tool, perhaps to use to encourage students to imagine how they would arrange the icons used in the video to demonstrate different content-creation and content-sharing approaches.

Did You Know? (original February 2007 version):

To pan out a bit, from the early years of the Internet, “Did You Know?” was created by Karl Fisch, a teacher and Director of Technology at Araphaoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. In early 2007, Fisch’s school administrators asked him to speak at a start-of-the-year faculty meeting. He noted that “this year I’m really focused on staff development and the ‘vision’ of where we should be headed.” Fisch created a PowerPoint presentation that he titled “Did You Know?,” drawing from the work of Thomas Friedman, Ian Jukes, Ray Kurzweil, and other authors and teachers.

Did You Know 4.0 (September 2009 version):

Fisch’s original video received so many hits and was so popular that others have taken the content to remix it, update it, and recreate and extend Fisch’s original message. One of the most recent, “official” updates to “Did You Know?” is this 4.0 version.