Week 4 – History of Network Learning

A history of Network Learning should have in consideration the history of Social Web, because in its first stage, infrastructure and applications development are key drivers for its development.

So briefly, we should take into account the technology development in the network infrastructure that ends with the coming of Internet while at the same time consider the invention of the personal computer. The 60’s were very important in the conceptualization of packet switching (Kleinrock), distributed networs (Baran), TCP/IP (Cerf & Kahn), ARPANET and ALOHANET.

Late in the 80’s and the 90’s hypertext and browsers were developed and Java, a cross platform software language made applications independent from software. The California ideology, which meant the freedom of hippie artisanship merged into the market economy, resulted in the acceptance of the commercial Internet while at the same time the web without fees. Finally MS, leader of the operative systems that governs the PCs decided to give away its Internet Explorer browser.

Social webs begun its development during the new century even though the first weblog appeared in 1995 and a year later blogs allowed readers to comment. The exchange of files in between PCs was facilitated by Kaza, Gnutella, Bit Torrent. Later Wikipedia, Technoarti, Flickr, Fotolog, Delicious, LinkedIn, My Space and FaceBook allowed social networking, bookmarking, blogging and dating including virtual reality environments like SecondLife. User contributed content was another important component like in YouTube were audience begun producing content. All this new ambient was named web2.0 and Kevin Kelly affirmed that “we are the web”.  The wealth of the networks now is based on commons peer production and profits do not come from comments but from attention and banner clicks. The time spent become the central value of the Internet.

But going back to the history of Network Learning merging fields and theortical views of learning, knowledge and cognition helped in paving a new epistemology space. Backed by the massive participation in the web based in the 1billons people on-line, the 2M reports in Wikipedia, the 200M members in My Space,  the 80M blogs in Technorati, the 900,000 members of affiliate program of Amazon and the 30M users Facebook + 4M/month, a model for the process involved in education and learning was a must. May connectivism play this role?          

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