Computer Literacy Program – Class 8 – The Internet

December 18, 2009 at 12:22 am 6 comments

Ryan will do more thorough posts about the curriculum, the activities, and the effectiveness of the program when all the classes are complete on ideonexus.com. These are just my own personal recaps and memories.

I flew home from Wisconsin and was able to get home in time for Class 8 of the Computer Literacy Program. This was a fun one! Ryan lectured on the Internet. He started off by showing a diagram of ARPANET, a four node, hand drawn flowchart from 1969. Then he showed a map of today’s Internet which was colorful blob that looked like a mixture between a far away galaxy and closeup of neurons.

Next Ryan talked about routers and asked the kids if they knew where the router was in the room. Immediately a flurry of hands pointed to the northwest corner of the house. Yup, that’s exactly where the wireless router resides. That shows how testy it is. Each and every one of the kids has seen it unplugged and plugged back in. : )

Ryan told the kids about how before there were routers, one computer had to call another one over the phone. Ryan and I both ran BBSes as youths, so we got to recall and banter about all the fun that could be found with 300 baud modems between busy signals.

At this point, we dropped to DOS prompt for our first hands-on activity. We introduced the kids to tracert and ping. The kids had a little more fun with the next activity– a visual trace route illustrated by Google maps!

Later in class, we had the kids download and install Firefox and the Firebug Add-On. Aided by Firebug, Ryan talked about HTML and the Document Object Model (DOM).

Class ended with everyone opening up Notepad and authoring their very first web pages! I found myself nostalgic. The kids’ discovery of HTML in our living room was very much like mine in college. You start with a simple page, then you tinker with the fonts and background colors, then embellish with an image and then possibly add a link!

Although the exercises we were working through were simple, some very different pages were produced.

Trashawn's Web Page

Dada's Web Page

Khalifs Web Page

Terrance Web Page

I didn’t discover the most impressive web page until two weeks later when I was gathering screenshots for this post. When we were doing links, due to time constraints we ended up having everyone link to Yahoo. One student, however, took the initiative to follow the PowerPoint slide. He created a second webpage in his directory with a different background color and he linked to that page. He did this without asking a single question. Way to go!

From BBSes and DOS prompts to <FONT> and <B> tags to <IMG> and <A HREF>, the eighth Computer Literacy Class was a bit of a reminiscence recapitulation for me. I got to relive my early evolution as a web programmer.

I think the kids may have gotten something out of it too. 🙂

Entry filed under: Computer Literacy Program, Elizabeth City, Neighborhood Kids. Tags: .

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