Understanding Networks

Understanding Networks

If you were building an Internet for yourself, what sites would you include? Are you aware of what sites and applications you use the most? What about how those sites and applications work with each other? These are the sorts of questions that inspired a recent project in KidsTek’s “Intro to Computing” class at Florence Crittenton High School. This week at the school, KidsTek students reflected on those very questions to better understand their own internet use and built models of their “networks.”

“It’s important for everyone to reflect on their internet use and realize what sites, apps, and content are taking their attention and time. That way, people can make better informed decisions about their technology use and use the internet in a way that’s best for them,” said Senior Instructor Emily Tow.

Using recycled cardboard, pushpins, and yarn, students were asked to identify their top five most visited websites or applications. Then, the class discussed not only how they used and accessed those sites, but also how those sites interact with each other. For example, many students noted that Facebook logins are now commonly used as authentication for various other websites and applications. After this reflection, students made physical models showing their use of the sites and what sites work with each other.

“Hands-on projects are very helpful for teenagers building their conceptions of technology and the internet. Being able to make a physical model of their ‘networks’ lets students reflect on their technology usage and learn a little bit more about the interconnected nature of the Web,” said Tow.

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