The internet is the biggest world-wide communication network of computers. It has millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, and government networks, which together carry many different kinds of information. The term is sometimes abbreviated as "the net". The World Wide Web is one of its biggest services. It is used by a few billion people all over the world.
The internet was developed in the United States by the "United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency" (DARPA). It was first connected in October, 1969, and was called ARPANET. The World Wide Web was created at CERN in Switzerland in 1990 by a British (UK) man named Tim Berners-Lee.
Today, people can pay money to access the internet from internet service providers. Some services on the Internet cost nothing to use. Sometimes people who offer these free services use advertising to make money from them. Censorship and freedom of speech on the internet can be controversial.
Services on the internet[change | change source]
The internet is used for many things, such as electronic mail, online chat, file transfer, and the interlinked web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web.
The most used service on the internet is the World Wide Web (which is also called the "Web"). The Web contains websites, including blogs and wikis like Wikipedia. Webpages on the internet can be seen and read by anyone (unless the page needs a password, or it is blocked).
The second biggest use of the internet is to send and receive e-mail. E-mail is private and goes from one user to another. Instant messaging (such as AIM or ICQ) is similar to email, but allows two or more people to chat to each other much faster.
Some governments think the Internet is a bad thing, and block all or part of it. For example, the Chinese government thinks that Wikipedia is bad. Many times no one in China can read it or add to it. Some parents block parts of the internet they think are bad for children to see. Well-known examples of the whole internet being blocked are in North Korea.
Dangers on the internet[change | change source]
The internet makes communication easy, and communication can be dangerous. People often send secret information, and sometimes other people can steal that information. They can use the Internet to spread lies or stolen secrets or dangerously bad advice. For example, Facebook has had some problems with privacy settings. A person can post information on the website, but this is often a bad idea unless the person is very sure of what they are doing. One way to check for a secure website is to make sure the URL starts with https:// instead of http://. This means it is secured so other people cannot read information while it is being sent. However, it does not mean the website will do things to keep it safe.
Related pages[change | change source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Internet.|
References[change | change source]
Note: You can find a significantly updated and expanded version of this post describing the benefits of online communication for community engagement here, and another describing the disadvantages of online communication of community engagement here.
I found this on Wikiversity, one of the many resources on Wikipedia, today. Whenever we talk about engaging communities online we are inevitably questioned about “exclusion” issues. What socio-demographic group does this technology favour? Who is being excluded from this debate?
As with any and all community engagement techniques, online community engagement is not a panacea. It has advantages and disadvantages. It is a relatively easy technology for some and relatively more difficult for others. There are two critical messages… No technique can stand alone. And, just because a technique is new that doesn’t mean it has to solve every single problem to be worthwhile.
What follows is drawn from a post on Wikiversity about online education. Many of the comments and lessons are similar and familiar, particularly if you think about the community engagement process as a mutual learning space.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Communication
|Flexibility: accessible 24×7, any place as long as you have an internet connection||Text-based: Predominantly relies on inputting text which can be challenging for those who don’t like to write or have poor keyboard skills, but with the advance of broadband connectivity and voice and video conference technology – this will be less of an issue.|
|Levelling: reserved people who usually don’t speak up can say as much as they like while “loud” people are just another voice and can’t interrupt||No physical cues: without facial expressions and gestures or the ability to retract immediately there’s a big risk of misunderstanding|
|Documented: unlike verbal conversation, online discussion is lasting and can be revisited||Information overload: a large volume of messages can be overwhelming and hard to follow, even stress-inducing|
|Encourages reflection: participants don’t have to contribute until they’ve thought about the issue and feel ready||Threads: logical sequence of discussion is often broken by users not sticking to the topic (thread)|
|Relevance: provides a place for real life examples and experience to be exchanged||Time lag: even if you log on daily, 24 hours can seem like a long time if you’re waiting for a reply; and then the discussion could have moved on and left you behind|
|Choice: a quick question or comment, or a long reflective account are equally possible||Inefficient: it takes longer than verbal conversation and so it’s hard to reply to all the points in a message, easily leaving questions unanswered|
|Community: over time can develop into a supportive, stimulating community which participants come to regard as the high point of their course||Isolation: some learners prefer to learn on their own and don’t participate in the discussions|
|Limitless: you can never predict where the discussion will go; the unexpected often results in increased incidental learning||Directionless: participants used to having a teacher or instructor telling them what to do can find it a leaderless environment (and that’s where tutors come in|
Photo Credit: Good, Bad & Ugly by Nishanth Jois
2 November 2008