Category Archives: AOL

Internet on training wheels

I liked the things Jim said in class: “People had to be taught how to use the internet.” When AOL was the big thing (Is it still a thing?), people used to snark on it as “Internet on training wheels.” It was different from the web as we know it, more like a closed community, as I remember.

Having to be taught how to use the Internet sounds weird today. You just use it, like everyone else, and find out along the way. When I was student teaching in a high school, as a librarian on training wheels, there was a history class that was about to start on a 1920s project. I found some cool resources for them, like this video:

That was the silent movie days, before TV. They used to show news reels in the theatres before movies. I guess they taught people how to use the telephone as well. The level of detail the film goes into seems silly, but it was a brand new technology to most people back then. After I gave the link to the teachers, it occurred to me that the dial telephone was probably as unfamiliar to the students as it was to the audiences of the 1920s.