First Memories of “the Internets”

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.

Kyle Rall.

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4 comments

  1. The first memories I have of computers also come from early grade school years. It is interesting that we were first introduced to computers and the internet as a tool to assist with education, but at the same time, as a game or something for entertainment. Even the earliest games I remember playing involved math problems or trivia of some sort, as you mentioned. Right from the beginning, these forms of new media were introduced as both tools and fun, which definitely had an effect on the way I view new media today.

  2. I love how you brought up computer class! My elementary school had that and it was one of the fondest moments of my childhood. Weird, right? Computer class was similar to art class though- you were able to express yourself, learn how to use a cool Apple computer and have fun. I feel like our generation was able to connect on the digital media because we were exposed to these machines from a very very young age.

  3. I can definitely relate to this post because I was raised being read to and listening to classical music as well. I remember using Funbrain too! I remember being excited for computer class because after we finished using “Type to Learn”, a program that taught us how to type on a computer, they would let us log into Funbrain and go crazy.

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