Generations of Pioneers

A marker at the National Super Computing Center (NSCA) heralding the place where Mosaic was built

I was just collecting some materials for a meeting I’ll be attending later this morning, and ran across this still from a YouTube video (Internet & Web Pioneers: Joseph Hardin).  We’ve all seen these markers on the side of the road indicating some famous home where some once famous senator was born in eighteen hundred and something, “..building originally located 300 hundred feet south of this location.”

They rarely connect to anything that I am personally aware of, and I suppose that it is this notion that made my early-morning thinking experience a bit of a flash.  I feel like I was a part of this.  I remember when Mark Johnson, a friend of mine who was then a work-station jockey at North Carolina’s government computing center, mentioned that there was a new web browser on the horizon that you could use your mouse to click the links you wanted to visit — and it would even display pictures.

It was incredibly exciting, because the Web hadn’t really attracted very much interest at that time, since it was something you had to “tab” around (hammer, constantly, on your tab button to find hyperlinks).  Gopher was cool, because you were using information to navigate the information realm, a heirarchy of books so to speak.  But by pointing your way around?  Well made my head spin.  What a future we had, and I had it in less than six-months.

I guess the point I want to make is that we were pioneers, back then, the relative few of us who were navigating and growing information in this new way.  I wonder how useful it might have been to have thought about it as pioneering back then, 20 years ago.  I wonder if it might be useful for our students to realize, thinking about, and express some insights about their pioneerism — because they are certainly marking new trails of community and new ways of thinking about our world.

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.