Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of access to anything digital. I was the first kid, so my parents read to me, and played orchestral music because it “helps kids develop.” My first memory of the Internet comes from school.
I think every grade school in America has the same set of educational games, the ones where you can’t save, and you have to play over and over again every time you have “computer class.” I remember thinking that the class didn’t teach us anything about computers, except maybe how to type. Instead, we focused on learning addition, subtraction, and other foundational topics, except they were through a digital medium. FunBrain.com was a big winner among the pre-teen crowd.
This changed as I progressed through grade school. I always understood that the Internet was something that needed to be accessed to be used. My computer teacher told us it was “like a river, and each computer is like a bucket that you pull water from the river with.” That metaphor still remains one of the best, and probably cheesiest, ways I have ever heard to describe the Internet. We used the Internet for research papers, looking at news articles, and (for me) checking up on sports scores. I have always been a huge soccer fan, so figuring out in sixth grade that I could go on ESPN and check out real-time soccer scores for all of the world’s different leagues was an incredible discovery. Realizing that the Internet operated in real time was a crazy discovery.
Having a computer at my house was the next big thing I remember. Like I said-I was an avid reader, so instead of going to the library and trying to find books, I could check the catalogue online, see if the books I wanted were on the shelves, and even request them so I could easily pick them up when I arrived (courtesy of a car ride by my mother). That was the coolest thing ever.