We live in a constantly changing world and most of those changes have to do with the Internet and the Web. There’s just one problem. Few of us in society ever stop to ask whether all these changes are good, or fair, or even right. For example, twenty years ago, if you wanted to hear a song, you either listened to the radio or you had to purchase a cassette or a CD. But over time, music has become less physical and more digital, available through files that could be passed around from person to person, which got companies like Napster into a lot of trouble, for breaking copyright laws and providing music files to people without the approval of record companies and musicians. So why can companies like Apple or Spotify get away with it today?
The purpose of this lesson is to open a thoughtful discussion about many of the issues that we deal with on the Internet and the Web, from music to social media and quite a few things in between. We all live in the same digital world together, so it’s a good idea that we understand the way that world works and how we got it.
LEARNING GOAL #1: The Basics of Web History
Students will understand how the Internet evolved from a classified government research project into a world wide resource with the help of highly educated teachers and students.
PART 1: Movies, Music, & CopyrightsRead More
Discussion Topic #1: Movies on the Web
- What does it mean to “pirate” a movie? Is it legal or illegal? And what other words often get associated with pirating films?
Discussion Topic #2: Music on the Web
- What are the most popular websites used to access music on the Web? Are they legal or illegal? And how does this issue compare with the movie industry?
Discussion Topic #3: Copyright on the Web
- So what are we supposed to do in a world of “free stuff” online? How do we deal with things like copyright laws? And what exactly is the meaning of “fair use” on the Web?
PART 2: Digital Security & the WebRead More
Discussion Topic #4: Passwords
- What would be considered a safe way to come up with a password? Why is it so important? Could I or should I use the same password on multiple accounts? Should you give your password to a girlfriend or a boyfriend?
Discussion Topic #5: Spyware, Malware, and Other Threats
- What kinds of threats exist on the Internet and what are some of the ways you can protect yourself against them? And how can you tell if a website is potentially safe to enter personal information like credit cards and home addresses?
Discussion Topic #6: Personal Information
- What makes personal information so personal? In what ways do we often give up our personal information? In what way can our personal information be stolen?
Discussion Topic #7: Website Histories
- By now, you should know that it’s easy for a web designer to change the information on a website. All they have to do is edit the HTML. But did you know that there was a way to check a website’s history (The Wayback Machine)? Did you know it was possible to see which version of that history Google has saved (Web Caching)?
PART 3: Social Media & a Civil SocietyRead More
Discussion Topic #8: Social Media Reputation
- How easily can a person’s reputation be destroyed with social media? How about an organization or a school? How about yourself or your own school? How long does a bad reputation last online?
Discussion Topic #9: Social Media Fake Accounts
- Should you allow yourself to be followed on social media by people you don’t know? How easy is it for someone to build a fake account? Is that legal or illegal?
Discussion Topic #10: Social Media Cyberbullying
- Do people use social media because they can say things online that they would never say in real life? Why do people say so many cold and hateful things on social media? If you have regrets about an embarrassing photo that you post about someone on social media and quickly take it down, is it true that the person will never see it?
Discussion Topic #11: Social Media Addiction
- Why do people spend so much time on social media? Are there any risks to people using it as often they do? What would happen if you didn’t use it for a week or a month or a year?