Student Impressions of Internet History Milestones (Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)
This morning I gave my students a randomized list of key events in the history of the internet, and asked them to estimate the year when each event happened. “Average” gives the average of all student guesses. “Actual” gives the actual date. “Diff” gives the difference.
first computer with a disk drive
first computer sold with a keyboard and monitor
mouse (pointing device)
word “hypertext” coined
working computer hypertext system demonstrated
first e-mail message sent
Apple Computer Co. founded
first commercial computer game
CD (compact disc)
HyperCard (hypertext system for home computers)
World Wide Web created
first graphical web browser created
Some of these details are fairly obscure — at least, for the vast majority of people on the planet who don’t get their jollies researching the history of technology. So I’m generally pleased with what I saw.
The collective intelligence of the class was able to sort these events roughly in chronological order, which suggests they have a certain familiarity with the medium of the internet. But it looks like they underestimated by about half the amount of time that has passed since these milestones. They got more accurate with more recent events.
The average answer for the date of the creation of the World Wide Web is correct, but graphical browsers are actually a few years older than the average figure guessed by the students.