I have a distinct memory of the first time I actually used a computer. I’m pretty sure I was aware of what they were, because my dad worked on one, but it had never been something that I was interested in playing with, I believe I was too young. Now I could be remembering this entirely wrong, but I was probably only around three or four.
I think we got the computer from our family friends, or maybe they just recommended it. Anyways, I don’t think I used the Internet ever, but I remember one particular computer game my older brother and I would play. It was designed like most educational children’s’ games, where as it was composed of different mini-games. I don’t remember the majority of them, but I do know that one of them had to do with matching little film clips together to make a complete story.
In this mini-game, you were in a cartoon movie theater, and you were given a set of three or four small clips that had to be put together in chronological order, and if you were correct it would show you the whole thing together. One of them had to do with cavemen, but that’s about as far as my memory goes.
Once I started school, computers were much more present in my life. I remember using Microsoft word and fiddling around with Word Art. During library time is when we learned how to surf the web. We used Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Dogpile, and Google. When we wanted to use a website for a project, we had to fill out a sheet to make sure it was reputable and get it approved from the teacher. We would have to find the copyright, author, editor, and other information.
We also learned how to search for books in our school’s library using some sort of book database. If our library didn’t have the book we needed, we could go on another site and order from a local library or from another school. I think this really lead to my first A-Ha! moment regarding new media. Van Dijk describes a networking experience of media, and it clicked in my head that this computer as well as any computer with internet access was connected to the physical books in my library. From the library, my friends house, or my own house I could search for books and check them out.