CONCEPT: A 3D visualisation of all the networks worldwide that are interconnected to form the Internet.
DELIVERY: Ask most students these two questions:
"How many of you use the Internet?"
"What do you use the Internet for?"
I'm sure that you will get a lot of hands in the air and for the second question a lot of responses. However, ask this question:
"What is the Internet?"
It is very likely that you will get very few hands up and those that participate will probably give the wrong answer. We all use the Internet but what most people (students in particular) think the Internet is, is actually defined as the World Wide Web.
The Internet is a global network of networks i.e. In simple terms it is all of the computers around the world connected together. They are connected via the links between our Internet Service Providers and Internet Exchange Points. The World Wide Web is hosted on the Internet and is simply a collection of multimedia pages that are viewed when using a web browser i.e. The pages containing this multimedia are on someone's computer that is on a network and because this computer is part of the Internet others can view the content as long as they have a web browser like Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.
The Internet Map Application fantastically illustrates and models what the Internet is and how it might look if it was visualised from above either using geographical or hierarchical maps. The application allows you to click on nodes (ISP,s and IEP's) within the model and find out more about them. It also allows you to perform a traceroute, which will record how long it takes to make a connection from you ISP to the node you select, as well as how many hops
COOL FEATURES - A ping is when you send a request from your machine to another machine on the Internet, a hop is a measurement of how many different networks you pass through in order to get to the machine you want to reach. Internet Map has an awesome feature that detects the network of your Internet Service Provider it then allows you to search for a company or a domain. You can the perform a Traceroute to see how many hops needs to occur in order to connect you to that company/domain and the time it takes in milliseconds.
History and Future of the Internet: Clicking on the clock icon will allow you to access a timeline that you can drag see key dates related to the Internet. Notice that the visual map alters depending on the date. The nodes on the map change to represent those connected during that point in time. You can scroll into the future and see the expected growth of the Internet in the Year 2020.
LIMITATIONS: The historical moments covered in the timeline could be much more thorough. They could also be much more engaging if video, images or animations were used to illustrate the historical moments. It is a very limited learning tool but an excellent illustration of the Internet if the teacher using it knows the basics of the Internets workings.
This FREE application does plug Peer 1 Hosting in the information section and some links do take you away from the application.
CONCLUSION: An excellent application to use when explaining what the Internet is and how it works. The visualisations are fantastic and fully interactive. However, it is a limited learning tool without teacher input to explain 4/5
- To help illustrate to students how information is requested and received when using the World Wide Web get them to perform Traceroute to Google Inc (or other well know sites e.g. Facebook Inc.) and see how many hops and how much time it takes.
- Student's could carry out extended research of the historical moments that are documented on the timeline.
- Student's could create their own 'Internet History' timeline adding moments not covered in the app.
- The app could facilitate a discussion about the growth of the Internet, benefits as well as implications of it's growth and the impact it might have on them, their family, businesses, education and society as a whole.