Brief History of Computer

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Brief History of Computer Powered By Docstoc
					                               COMPUTERS AND YOU
                                 By Susan Winters


Every aspect of modern life is influenced by the computer. Whether we realize it or not,
we use computers many times throughout the day. It is important to understand where all
this technology came from and where it will lead us in the future. You are about to take a
step back into the past in order to better understand the future.

Computer History can be fascinating! It is full of interesting facts, people, and events
occurring throughout time. Your group will be embarking on a mission, if you decide to
accept it (although you really have little choice in the matter). You do have a choice in
the group you choose. Your mission will be to produce an accurate view of the history of
computers in one of several areas. You will work as a group—dividing up the tasks and
then bringing your fact-finding data together to create one final presentation. Include in
your presentation why the events, people, and ideas your group chose are important.
There will be several questions in the evaluation section which the group must answer.

TASK (Choose one)

1.     Catalog the important moments in computer history from 1623 to the present and
       present your findings in a powerpoint presentation to the class. Develop a
       timeline that outlines your groups findings. Use graphics and pictures to illustrate
       your group's computer history.
2.     Research the developments of each of the four computer generations:
       a. 1945-1956,
       b. 1956-1963,
       c. 1964-1971, and
       d. 1971 to present.
       Present your findings in a powerpoint presentation to the class.
3.     Explore the significant contributors to the evolution of computing. You should
       choose five from the following choices:
       a.   Charles Babbage,
       b.   John Atanasoff,
       c.   John Mauchly,
       d.   Blaise Pascal,
       e.   Dr. John Von Neuman,,
       f.   Jacquard,
       g.   Herman Hollerith,
       h.   Jack Kilby,
       i.   Joseph Leibnitz to name a few; you may add others.
       Find a picture of at least 5 famous computer scientists/inventors. Why are they
       “key” people?

4.     Conduct research on the significant female contributors to the evolution of
       computing. You may choose several from the following choices:
       a.   Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace,
       b.   Edith Clarke, Rósa Péter,
       c.   Grace Murray Hopper,
       d.   Alexandra Illmer Forsythe,
       e.   Evelyn Boyd Granville,
       f.   Margaret R. Fox,
       g.   Erna Schneider Hoover,
       h.   Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli,
       i.   Alice Burks,
       j.   Adele Goldstine,
       k.   Joan Margaret Winters (I don’t think we’re related).

       Find a picture of at least 5 famous computer scientists/inventors. Why are they
       “key” people?

5.     Find pictures of the following inventions on the internet:
       a. Napier’s Bones,
       b. The Arithmetic Machine,
       c. The punched card loom,
       d. The Stepped Reckoner,
       e. The Tabulating Machine, and
       f. the Analytical Engine.

       Be sure to include

       a.  the name of the inventor,
       b.  know the year the machine was invented,
       c.  know why the machine was invented,
       d.  discover the purpose of the machine.
                    i. Was it to replace another machine or make a job easier?
                   ii. Did it borrow ideas from previous inventions?
       e. How did it affect society.
                i. Did it lead to other inventions?
               ii. Did people like it and use it?
Was it a success? RESOURCES

Phase 1: Background—something for everyone. The following resources may be used.
You may also use Google to find your own resources. Be creative in exploring the
information so that you can answer questions as fully and insightfully as you can. - computer history, today in the history of computers. - computer history. -virtual computer history museum. - virtual computer history museum. - history of the personal
computer. - comprehensive links to computer history. - a pedagogical and fantasmagorical History of Computers

Charles Babbage this site contains biographical information.
Ada Byron King Countess of Lovelace contains biographical information and pictures.
John W. Mauchly an Exhibition in the Department of Special Collections at the
University of Pennsylvania Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania
A Short History of Computing history of computing report by an eighth grader.
Blaise Pascal French mathematician who invented first calculator

Stonehenge this site contains biographical information and pictures.
Computers: From the Past to the Present lecture presented by Michelle A. Hoyle.
History of Computing/The Abacus - electronic computers made simple.
Dr. John Von Neumann this site contains biographical information.

Computing History Slide Show a great slide show on the history of computing.
Jacquard's Loom this site contains biographical information.
Past Notable Women of Computing & Mathematics a site devoted to notable women of
computing history.
A Chronology of Computer History: a timeline on the history of the computer.
The Virtual Museum of Computing take a peek at this museum and take a look at the

A Brief History of Computer Technology a great site for information.
John Atanasoff a look at this pioneer's life and contributions to the history of the
John Louis von Neumann this site contains information biographical information.
Computer Images great site for ancient computer images.
Charles Babbage this site contains more information on his life.

Phase 2—Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives

1.   Use the above links to collect information about the topic you have chosen.
2.   Read through the files that seem to contain the best information. If you print out the
     files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the
     files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse
     across the passage and copying/pasting it into a word processor other other writing
3.   NOTE: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the
     passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to prove your point and
     copy/paste the URL on the last slide of presentation. Title this slide: Resources.
4.   Be prepared to present your information in your words as part of your presentation.
     Allow an opportunity for each member of your group to be a part of the

Phase 3: Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

1.   You will now create a slide show using PowerPoint to present your findings to the
     class. Make your slides interesting and colorful without being too busy—remember
     the Rule of Six and BE TELEGRAPHIC. Paragraphs of text on a slide will
     definitely reduce your score! Make sure to use pictures and/or appropriate graphics.
     Use the note pages to record your narrative in the first person to go along with the

Phase 4: Real World Feedback

A rubric will be used to evaluate your presentation.


1.   Your group will produce a presentation detailing your important events, people, and
     computers in the history of computers.

2.   Try your luck at who wants to be a millionaire computer history quiz developed by a
     Virginia Tech University alumnus. There is a choice between a computer history
     quiz and a general knowledge quiz. Try the computer history quiz first then you can
     enjoy the general knowledge quiz. Extra credit: What is a hokie? (attach answer to
     power point)?


1.   After finishing this WebQuest, you should have encountered many different facts,
     people, and events in the history of computers. The steps involved should have
     given you a thorough understanding of the history of computers. You should now be
     familiar with many online resources available to you when searching for computer
     history. Constructing a computer history with your group enables a personal
     understanding rather than a remote list of dates and names of computers.

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