A Bit of Computer History

Chandra Thomas- Jones -- cjones@cs.rice.edu
Charles F. Hartman Middle School (HISD)
Subject: Computer Literacy (The History of Computers)
Grade Level: Secondary

PURPOSE: Students will learn about the technological innovations that sparked the different computer generations and the people responsible for these developments that changed the course of computer history.

VOCABULARY: Generation -- a group of computers that are able to perform certain closely related functions.

MATERIALS: Access to Internet, spreadsheet software, textbook (Understanding COMPUTERS Through Applications (optional)) printer, paper, and a pen/pencil

PROCEDURE(S): Divide the class into groups. Over an assigned period of time (about a week), have students research information about the history of computers. On the World Wide Web students should view Computers : From the Past to the Present. Students should all take notes and read Module 10 in the textbook (optional). Conduct a class discussion at the end of the class period.

URL: http://calypso.cs.uregina.ca/Lecture/

QUESTIONS:

1. Describe the technological inventions that characterized each of the first four generations of computers?

2. In what year was the first microcomputer produced?

3. To what generation do microcomputers belong?

4. What occurred in 1979 that blasted the microcomputer marked into the telecommunication age?

5. What was the first multimedia personal computer and in what year was it introduced?

6. What is the difference between ENIAC and EDVAC?

7. Who are the Ancestors of Computer Science?

ASSESSMENT: Using a spreadsheet program, student will be required to create a chart of ten computer related inventions, the inventor, and the country of the inventor. For example: Pascal -- Pascaline -- France.

GENDER ISSUES: Many of the people who made contributions to the development of computers were males. Require students to research information about female, such as Grace Hopper, who have made contributions to the development of computers.