Today is the end of the line for The Internet Course. I am truly amazed at the work that the class has done, and I think we’ve all learned a lot through this experience. I feel like I could have done better – I should have blogged more, I should have commented a lot more, I could have been a more vocal presence in class – but it’s not about me, it’s about the class. We put together a situation where the students could shine, every class period, and they took it and ran with it. I’m looking forward to seeing the final projects this evening.
Jack Hylan, who’s been an awesome presence throughout the course, asked a great question a couple of weeks ago:
So, let me leave you with this, is it important to know how the internet works and where it comes from?
I was hoping it would get more response before I threw in my 2 cents, but so it goes. The video his group put together shows how little people know about it, even though most of the interviewees have been using it all their lives.
Is it important to know where it comes from? The question was raised in class: Is the internet the greatest invention ever? We could debate the answer, but the fact that we could seriously ask the question and have the debate is significant in itself. The internet has many roots, but many of them come from academia and academic research. What nurtured it along the way and what made it grow into viability was public investment. That, I think, is important to know. We invested in our future, and scored a big payoff. It shows what America is capable of. These days we seem to be divesting in America. I don’t see that path as leading anywhere productive.And speaking of America, the Future of the Internet group, being the real American heroes that they are, adapted some old GI Joe public service announcements to talk about different aspects of where the net is going. Jim has them all on his Bava blog, so I won’t repeat them here. GI Joe HQ says, “Everything you need to know in life you can be learned from these public service announcements.” and knowing is half the battle. I love the creativity and sense of fun that went into this project. Maybe it would have helped to have a brief write-up to give them context, but they’re still awesome. Maybe they’re not everything you need to know about the future, but they tell you everything you need to know about how great the class has been.