Reflections of an Internet Pioneer

Looking back at the Internet's origins.

Vint Cerf is often referred to as the "Father of the Internet." In this article from NPR, Laura Sydell documents those early days with Vint Cerf and then compares them to the creative vision of a science fiction writer, William Gibson.

Interspersed with Sydell's article are links to various bits of audio with these gentlemen and others as they discuss their recollections of those earlier times and share their thoughts about the way the Internet is used today.

Supporting Web Links
Discussion Questions/Activities
  1. Discuss the background of the Internet with students and considering playing some of the audio links from the main article. If diversity is an interest, consider showing the video in the Supporting Web Links section about the women who worked on ENIAC or check out some of the other links.
  2. One of the topics from the main article involves decisions the original Internet pioneers made which the author of the article considers to be naive. Divide the class into small groups.and ask them to put themselves in Vint Cerf's shoes - if they were developing the Internet today, what would they do? What would they change? What would they leave the same? Bring the groups back together and create a list of their ideas. As a class, with which ideas do the students agree? 
  3. As an individual project, ask students to locate a less well-known Internet pioneer. The Supporting Web Links section may provide a good starting point. Students should research the individual they select and write a brief biography.


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