Saturday, 21 June 2014

Teaching Networks to Primary

There are a lot of great resources out there to help students understand how the Internet physically works. For those who have never studied computing at university this can be a very daunting prospect especially with all the jargon.  However here are some resources to make teaching networks fun and enjoyable for teachers and students alike!  No expense spared in this blog article, I even include a glossary...

One of my favourites is, Story of Send.

It is a great way to show students how the Internet works, but for students to really understand what goes on to make the Internet work. Show students how Undersea cables are laid out:

And to get an idea of what a server room really looks like, they can take a tour of Google's server rooms.

This is a little bit dated, but really explains how the net works. I don't think you will find a clearer explanation, although the ping of death looks rather puny these days.

To explain how routers and switches work, you can also play the interactive games at CISCO's Packetville. Although you should note some very strong commercial bias. 


  • Cabinet - The name given to the cabinet where network devices are stored.
  • Fibre Optic - A type of wire that is much faster than the older Copper wires used in many places.
  • ISP - Internet Service provider, your connection to the wider Internet. Some ISPs provide extra services like Email and host Webpages. 
  • Packet - Data is split up into packets to move it easily around the Internet
  • Router - Moves data between networks. Most common example is the router you use to connect to your ISP.
  • Server - Where data and information is stored and processed on the Internet
  • Switch - Moves data within a network, for example within a larger school there is likely to be a switch in the computer lab. It is in effect switching very fast to move data from one cable to another.
  • WIFI point - A connection point that lets you connect into the network wirelessly.
  • Wireless router - In most homes this is everything you need to get on the Internet. It include a WIFI point, router and in some cases has switching functionality.

Please feel free to ask for more definitions in the comments! 

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