The Internet & The Web
The Internet & The Web
LEARNING GOAL: The Basics of Web History
Students will understand how the Internet evolved from a classified government research project into a world wide resource with the help of highly educated teachers and students.
About 10 years after Sputnik was launched, NASA had grown very popular because of missions like Apollo 11 in 1969 (when we put a man on the moon) and Apollo 13 in 1970 (when our astronauts got stuck in space for a few days). But if you remember from Lesson 1.2, there was a little, forgotten research group, called ARPA, that began another project. NASA was a big deal, but ARPA quietly worked on something else that would change the world.
ARPA began studying communication. First, they thought about how humans communicate. They thought about person-to-person conversations where two people talk back and forth. Then they imagined the challenge of adding a third person to the conversation. And a fourth. And a fifth. If humans can find a way to communicate in large groups, ARPA thought, then surely computers can be programmed to do the same thing. So they built a small network of computers and called it the ARPANET.
Remember that the people who joined the ARPA group were mainly just teachers and students from colleges around the country. And why? Because teachers are supposed to be the experts of their subject areas. For example, a math teacher knows math. A science teacher knows science. And an engineering teacher knows engineering. ARPA was made up of all the smartest people in the country who actually knew how to make and build things.
During this lesson, you will learn about the history of the ARPANET project, which colleges and universities were the first to connect, and how ARPANET eventually led to what we now know as the Internet. You will also learn about a nuclear engineer who went onto the Internet in 1991 and shared his new plans for something he called the World Wide Web.
DAILY SCHEDULE (85 MINUTES):
PART 1: GETTING STARTED (15 Minutes) – A SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
Step #1 – READ FOR UNDERSTANDING
Over the last two classes, we’ve been talking a lot about world history. Today, we’re going to talk about the Internet and little bit about how it works. As we learned from Lesson 1.2, sometimes information is too big to share all at once and it has to be broken up into smaller parts called packets. But what if those packets don’t get put back in the correct order or sequence?
For example, if you send a text to a friend that says “Meet Me at 3 by the Front Office,” but when it arrived on your friend’s phone, it said, “Me 3 Front at the Office by Meet,” your friend might get confused? Everything would be out of order. Just think about how frustrating auto-correct can be from time to time. If your text says the wrong thing, your friend on the other end might think you mean something different than what you actually wanted to say.
The reason the Internet is successful is because it can take information from one location (even if that information is really big, like images, videos, or large text files) and move that information to another location. The way it does this is to break down large information files into smaller file packets, and then put it all back together in the correct order by the time it arrives at its destination at another computer.
The Internet has rules, or protocols, that guarantee information packets will be put into the correct sequence and arrive at the correct destination. Follow Steps 2-5 to show that you can also put information in the correct order, or sequence.
Step #2 – GETTING READY
Go up to the front table, pick up an index card and a pencil, then number your card 1-10 on left.
Step #3 – REVIEWING HISTORY
Look at the 10 events listed below. These events have not been listed in the correct order. Try to remember the order that they happened in history. You may look back at Lessons 1.1 and 1.2 if that will help.
The OSRD Works on the Manhattan Project
World War II Ends
The Soviet Union Builds an Atomic Bomb
Taylor Swift was Born
NASA is Created for Space Research
ARPA is Created for Government Research
U.S. Drops Two Atomic Bombs on Japan
Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor
World War II Begins
Sputnik Was Launched
Step #4 – CORRECTING THE SEQUENCE
When you think you know the correct order of the events above, go ahead and write them down in the correct order on your index card (1-10).
Step #5 – PARTNER MATCHING
When you have them all written down, check with your partner to see if your cards match. If they do not match, see if you can figure out which of you have the correct order and which of you need to make some changes.
Step #6 – READING AHEAD
If you and your partner have the same sequence of events, feel free to read ahead in the Class Discussion below. The teacher will put the correct order on the screen after about 10-15 minutes or once everyone has had a chance to write out their own order.
PART 2: CLASS DISCUSSION (60 Minutes) – THE INTERNET AND THE WEB
Topic #1 – WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ARPA?
For nearly 10 years after the Sputnik Launch, ARPA had almost been forgotten. When it came to technology, everyone thought about NASA and our race to put a man on the moon. But in 1967, after a decade of looking at ideas, ARPA received $500,000 to start their first major classified project. They called it the ARPA Network, or ARPANET for short. Remember that a network is the connection of two or more computers and ARPA was practically the only group on the planet who saw this as important enough to invest time and money.
Since this was a classified project, only four kinds of people were allowed to know about it: specific teachers/professors from the best schools in the country, a handful of engineering students from those best schools, certain government employees who needed to know, and certain military officials who were allowed to know. Other than that, ARPANET was classified and the world had no idea.
Topic #2 – THE FIRST ARPANET CONNECTION
After two years, there were only four schools connected to ARPANET. Three schools in California and one in Utah.
1. Stanford University near San Francisco (SRI)
2. University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB)
3. University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA)
4. University of Utah (Utah)
The connections looked a little something like this. (Classroom Maps)
One of the teachers at Stanford SRI went “online” for the first time in 1968 to share an invention that he had built with part of his research team. He wanted other teachers and other students to see this great new device called a computer mouse. Prepare yourself for one of the very first “online” videos here (Clip #2 and #3 to start).
Topic #3 – ARPANET SPREADS
By 1970, ARPANET had 15 schools connected and the map looked like this. Six years later, ARPANET was reaching most of the major colleges and universities in the United States. It was even reaching some of the military bases around the country. By 1976, it looked more like this.
Why would schools and military bases be connecting to ARPANET and not everyone or their personal computers?
Topic #4 – SETTING RULES FOR ARPANET
Connecting to ARPANET wasn’t as easy as just plugging a computer into a phone line. The network had to have rules or it wouldn’t work. These rules, if you remember from the last lesson, were also called protocols. And during the years that ARPA was building their network, they kept noticing glitches and problems, so they kept setting up new protocols.
If you wanted to send information to someone, what kinds of rules were in place to make sure it got there? For example, the @ sign/symbol was created in 1972 as a way of separating someone’s email address from the computer system they were using. For example, email@example.com meant “jacobsmith” was the email address and “teletype.com” was the computer, server, or system where all the email files (inbox, sent, etc) were being stored.
To solve some of these problems and find new solutions, ARPA hired a teacher from Stanford named Vinton Cerf to be in charge of all the new protocols for ARPANET. He had been a student at UCLA when ARPANET first came alive in 1969, so he knew it very well and he also knew its flaws.
Topic #5 – THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT PROTOCOLS: TCP/IP
Protocol #1 – Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
Any file with any information will take up space. Text may not take up a lot space, but if you write pages and pages of text, then yes it will. Images take up even more space, followed by audio files and video files that take up a HUGE amount of space. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) was a rule that instructed the network to break up large amounts of information into smaller packets of information, send them to a single destination, and then put them back together in the correct order or sequence.
Protocol #2 – Internetwork Protocol (IP)
Moving files of information from one location to another means that each location needs an address. If you try to send information across a network, but that information doesn’t know where to go, then it will never get anywhere. The Internetwork Protocol (IP) was a rule that said every computer, or server, needed an address, or a location number. That’s why sometimes you hear people talk about a computer having an IP Address.
The combination of TCP and IP (TCP/IP) are what allowed ARPANET to work 40 years ago and they are still the protocols that make the Internet work today. And since Vinton Cerf was in charge of setting these rules, most people today call him the “Father of the Internet.”
Topic #6 – THE INTERNET IS BORN
Around the time that Vinton Cerf was meeting with his researchers to come up with rules and protocols for ARPANET, the Department of Defense was put in charge of ARPA, which meant that the organization had to change its name from ARPA to DARPA (Defense). But no one was going to suddenly change ARPANET to DARPANET because, well, that just sounded silly.
After the Internetwork Protocol was set up a few years later, it was common to hear people say that they were “connected to the Internet” with an IP Address. And by 1980, even the engineers who had built ARPANET were telling other researchers to just call this big network of computers the Internet. With that, ARPANET was dead and the Internet was alive.
Topic #7 – THE QUIETEST DECADE OF THE INTERNET
During the 1980s, even though the Internet had been born, Americans did not have personal computers or laptops because for the most part, they didn’t exist yet. Whatever computers did exist were treated like machines for smart people. You had to be a bit of a nerd to work on a computer. And even though the Internet was no longer a classified project, the only places with connections to the Internet were places that had computers and, well, lots of smart people, such as colleges, research buildings, military bases, and a few government offices. Some of these “smart people” even built an alternative, global network that they called USENET with similar protocols, or rules, as the Internet.
One of these “smart people” was Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist who worked at a nuclear research center in Switzerland during the 1980s. He started writing a new language for the Internet that he called Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML. And as the decade came to a close, he began thinking about how to share his new language with others around the world. In order to this, Berners-Lee invented something that would soon become almost as important as the Internet itself: the World Wide Web.
Topic #8 – THE INVENTION OF WWW
On August 6, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee came into his office in the middle of the beautiful Swiss Alps, connected to the Internet, and changed the world forever. He created a new space for information on the Internet that he called the World Wide Web, or WWW. Regular people could use this space, he believed, if they were willing to write their information with a common language or code (HTML). But more importantly, it would only work if regular people were willing to share information with each other by using the same space, just like researchers and engineers had been doing for more than 30 years. In order to make this World Wide Web possible, Berners-Lee wrote a page with some basic information, then actually put it into the space he had created (WWW). And this was the first official “web” page.
Soon after this first page was published to the World Wide Web, he published a second page. But this one had information about how to actually write a web page with HTML and how to do exactly what he was doing. This was how his page about HTML looked.
Topic #9 – THE KEY TO THE WEB: ANCHOR LINKS
The web could only ever work if different pages connected to other pages with something Tim Berners-Lee called hypertext links, or anchors. A page with no connections was just taking up space on the world wide web. But a page that linked to other pages would make the web bigger and more valuable to the people who used it.
Topic #10 – JOINING THE “SMART” PEOPLE
Now that our discussion is over and you have seen that web pages are all about writing information in a common language and putting those pages into a space on the Internet called the World Wide Web, the time has come for you to learn the language. But the first step in learning that language is to see it in action. Go back to that second web page that Tim Berners-Lee created and listen to the teacher’s directions. We’re going to look at a few different source codes, just so that you can see how common HTML is across ALL web pages and ALL web sites even today.