The Internet and the Cloud

Time Estimate: 45 minutes

Introduction

The Internet is one of the 7 Big Ideas of the CS Principles curriculum. This course focuses on three key questions about the Internet:
  • What is the Internet, how is it built, and how does it work?
  • What aspects of the Internet’s design and development have enabled it to grow so large and be so influential?
  • How does cybersecurity affect what we do on the Internet?
The Internet and the World Wide Web have had a tremendous influence on our world and our lives. Yet, most people do not really understand what the Internet is and how it works.

This lesson provides a high-level overview of some key concepts and clarifies the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW). Lessons later in the course will go into greater detail in explaining how the Internet works.

Definitions

Let's begin with a common misconception. Most people do not distinguish between the Internet and the World Wide Web, but they are two completely different things. The basic distinction is this:

  • The World Wide Web (WWW) is an application that runs on the Internet. The WWW is a system of interlinked resources -- documents, images, sounds, videos, data files -- that are stored on the Internet and can be accessed through a browser.
  • The Internet (capital "I") is the underlying global network that supports the WWW and many other applications. It consists of many different local networks that are connected together by various hardware devices.
  • The Cloud is just a popular term for the Internet and its applications used largely in marketing and advertising. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Dropbox are often referred to as cloud applications. They could also be called Internet applications. App Inventor is another example of a cloud application.

Video: The Internet and World Wide Web

(Slides: Internet and WWW)

POGIL Activity for the Classroom (10 minutes)

Break into POGIL teams of 4 and assign each team member one of the following roles. Record your answers using this worksheet. (File-Make a Copy to create an editable version.)
RoleResponsibility
Facilitator Reads the questions aloud, keeps track of time and makes sure everyone contributes appropriately.
Spokesperson Talks to the instructor and other teams.
Quality Control Records all answers & questions, and provides team reflection to team and instructor.
Process Analyst Considers how the team could work and learn more effectively.

The Internet and WWW: Critical Thinking Questions

  1. List the brands of Internet browsers that members in your group use. Why might it be more accurate to call an Internet browser "a WWW browser"?
  2. Have each member of your group give an example of something you use the WWW for.
  3. What are some examples of applications that use the Internet, but not necessarily through a browser?
  4. (Portfolio) In your own words, give a sentence that would explain to a friend the difference between the WWW and the Internet.

Activity: Computing Ethics

Innovations in computing have raised legal and ethical concerns. From commercial access to music and movie downloads and streaming and open source and licensing of software and content, how individuals use computers is becoming more and more important.

According to the Wikidpedia article, Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics, here are the 10 Commandments for ethical behavior when using computers:

  1. You shall not use a computer to harm other people.
  2. You shall not interfere with other people's computer work.
  3. You shall not snoop around in other people's computer files.
  4. You shall not use a computer to steal.
  5. You shall not use a computer to bear false witness.
  6. You shall not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid without permission.
  7. You shall not use other people's computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.
  8. You shall not appropriate other people's intellectual output.
  9. You shall think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing.
  10. You shall always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for your fellow humans.

POGIL Activity for the Classroom (10 minutes)

Using the same groups as the earlier activity, answer the following questions, recording your answers using this worksheet.

Computer Ethics: Critical Thinking Questions

As described in this short case study a Silicon Valley social networking company was collecting users "Contacts" data and storing it on their servers.
  1. According to the Commandments, was it unethical for the app developers to do so? If so, which commandments did they violate?
  2. (Portfolio) As an app developer, what is your responsibility with regard to user data? Which commandments should serve as your guide on this point?

Self-Check

Here is a table of some of the technical terms we've introduced in this lesson. Hover over the terms to review the definitions.
Internet
World Wide Web
Protocol
TCP/IP
HTTP
Tim Berners-Lee
higher level of abstraction
Open standard
1 point
True or False: The Internet and the World Wide Web are the same.

1 point
The Internet _______________.
Choose all that apply.

1 point
The World Wide Web (WWW) _______________.
Choose all that apply.

1 point
Which of the following is an example of a cloud computing application?
Choose all that apply.

1 point
Which of the following are advantages of cloud computing?
Choose all that apply.

Still Curious?

There is a wealth of good introductory information about the Internet and the WWW.

Reflection: For Your Portfolio

Create a page on your portfolio named The Internet and the Cloud under the Reflections category of your portfolio and put in the final answers your group arrived at for the POGIL questions. Also, provide your own answer to the third question.
  1. (POGIL) In your own words, give a sentence that would explain to a friend the difference between the WWW and the Internet.
  2. (POGIL) As an app developer, what is your responsibility with regard to user data? Which commandments should serve as your guide on this point?
  3. Give an example of a violation of Computer Ethics Commandment 10 -- i.e., describe a consequence of an app that would be disrespectful of someone.