After a short transition from representing information in Unit 1 to communicating information in Unit 2, students take time to think about their knowledge of the Internet and how it works.
- Identify questions students have about how the Internet works
This lesson helps transition between representing digital information in Unit 1 to communicating digital information in Unit 2. The stage is set to understand the different layers of the Internet through the sticky notes activity where students record what they know and don't know about how the Internet works. Students should leave this lesson primed to know more about the Internet.
Prompt: We've learned to represent images, text, and sound digitally - but, we haven't discussed what we do with all this digital data. How do you see people sharing this kind of data in the real world? Who do they want to share it with and why?
Discussion Goal: This discussion can be open-ended and feel like a brainstorm to help setup the transition from Unit 1 into Unit 2. It is important to draw on students' personal experiences with sharing data on the internet, social media websites & apps, and connected devices.
Thinking about this unit as a whole, it is helpful to validate ideas that consider the motivations and consequences of how digital information is shared. These can be important points to return to at the end of the unit when introducing the Internet Dilemma's project.
- So far this year, we've investigated how to represent information digitally. Today, we're going to investigate what it would take to communicate this information with others.
Prompt: Answer each of these prompts in your journal:
- What is the Internet?
- What questions do you have about how the Internet works?
Give students 10 minutes to write in their journals. It's ok if there are some awkward silences. We want students to have the time to really think deeply about what they know and don't know.
If students are struggling to come up with things to write down, consider asking the following:
- When you enter a web address in a browser and hit enter, what happens? At some point you see the web page in the browser, but what happens in between? What are all the steps?
- Write down the series of things that you think (or have heard) happen right after you hit Enter. What happens first, second, third and so on.
- Don't worry if you don't know all the pieces or how they all fit together. If you don't know a step, or you are fuzzy on some details, or there's a gap, that's okay. Just write down the parts that you know.
Discuss: Ask a few students to share their answers with the class.
Do This: Direct students to take two sticky notes and choose one response or question to put on each sticky note. Post the sticky notes on a poster in the front of the room to refer back to throughout the unit as questions are answered.
Video: Play "What is the Internet".
Teaching Tip: Use the video to normalize students' misconceptions about how the Internet works. Over the course of the unit, we will work to address those points of confusion.
- Why learn about how the Internet works? As Vint Cerf Says: "You can't escape from contact with the Internet. So why not get to know it?" But you don't have to take Vint Cerf's word. Some of the largest issues facing society hinge on an understanding of how the Internet functions.
- At the end of this unit you will do a project focusing on a societal issues. As you go through these lessons keep you ears and eyes open for how things work.
- Many of the issues are related to people taking advantage of the open protocols that make the Internet function and present us with tricky dilemmas. We will learn about protocols late in this unit.
- For example there are two major issues to think about:
- Net Neutrality is a raging legal debate about the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
- Internet Censorship is the attempt to control or suppress of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet by certain people. This can be used to protect people (i.e. to not allow access to child pornography) but can also be used to limit free speech.
- To have an informed opinion though it helps to understand the technical underpinnings of how the internet works.
- Finally, a major issue that our society faces is that far too few people actually understand how the Internet works! We are going to change that over the next few lessons.
Assessment: Check For Understanding
Question: How do you use the Internet? Think about your typical day. When are you using the Internet? For what purposes? What role does it have in your life?
- CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017): 3A-NI-04, 3B-NI-03