Dietrich Ayala, Firefox engineer, presented to 120 fourth graders as part of career day on various topics including Firefox, Mozilla, and open source software. Here are a few of the more interesting quotes from his presentation notes:
- Though almost every kid said they surfed the web, when I asked if they knew what a “browser” was, only a couple kids knew. However, I know that they actually *were* surfing the web because of the questions that they asked. It seemed that the browser was a piece of infrastructure that blended into their general computer experience.
- Anywhere from 5-10 kids in each group had heard of Firefox.
- 1-2 kids in each group had heard of “open-source”.
- The kids knew of viruses and phishing. They didn’t understand what they were, but knew that they were bad, and from the internet.
- They thought the Firefox logo was cool. They thought the Mozilla logo was cooler 🙂 Especially the boys. Several started grilling me on the anatomical incorrectness of the dinosaur: “If it’s from the pleocistene family it’d have a bump on it’s head and the nostrils would be in a different place.” I had no response to that. (Dietrich)
I suspect that some of these findings would apply to adults, too. Many people do not really understand what a browser is or what viruses and phishing are.