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Computer History

 
The material below has been created using templates provided at:
http://webquest.sdsu.edu/templates/lesson-template1.htm#Task
and at
http://www.slideshare.net/JimFolk/webquest-template

A
"Time-Travel"
Adventure Through
The History
of
  Computers!

A WebQuest for Young and Old Alike!

Designed by

Michael Schoonover
miklskon@gmail.com

 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F077869-0042, Jugend-Computerschule mit IBM-PC.jpg

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page

Introduction:


Computers are practically everywhere now-a-days, and they have become so very much a part of our society's very fabric, that it might be hard for some to imagine a time when there were no such things as "computers," at all, or at least what we now call "Personal Computers!" If you are  - say - of thirty years of age or younger, you were actually born into the age of the Personal Computer, and chances are you probably had one in your home from your earliest remembrances.  However, if you are, perchance, and maybe older than 35 or 40 years of age, then you probably DO remember a time when Personal Computers were just a dream or a speculation in some science fiction book or movie, and the only "real" computers in operation were located at large universities or perhaps very select businesses.

In t WebQuest, we want to play the part of a distant Time-traveler, and journey back to the earliest days of the development of what we now quite commonly call "a computer." Then, as our journey will progress, we will follow the evolution of this marvelous technology all the way back to our present time in history as we now know it! Fortunately, we do not have to travel all over the nation or the world to take this journey, as all this information we will need is readily available within just a few clicks of your computer mouse and a few entries with your keyboard! Are you ready to explore the history of computers? Let's go!


The Task:

Upon our return from our Time-Traveling Adventure, we should have a much better appreciation for just how the modern Personal Computer has come to be!  You should understand many of the obstacles the earliest inventors and engineers had to overcome for the computer to finally become a reality in our homes and businesses alike! 

Along the way, be sure to pay very special attention to how each "generation" of computer evolution utilized the technology that might have been available to them at the time they were living. When we finally return to our present-day, you should be able to compare some of the earliest speeds and capacities of earlier computers to what we have available in our homes, classrooms and businesses today!


Your final presentation will simply be an oral report your group will present to the class using a Microsoft WORD document.  This document will be presented by your group using the SMART board, and should capture the attention of the whole class.

You will want to include at least these 10 items in your report:

1. Written text to guide you through your presentation,

2. A time-line of some kind to illustrate the evolution of computers,

3. Lots of pictures and images of different computers developed along your time-line,

4. Explanations of the technology used at the time, and perhaps how each generation of technology improved on previous generations of technology, but also came with their own sets of problems,

5. Who were the major players in this stream of technological development, and what roles might they have played in these developments? i.e. conceptual designers, engineers, manufacturers, sales and marketing and promoting?

6. How much these computers actually cost to build and operate in real dollars at the time, and how might they have been marketed, sold and distributed to the buyers,

7. Power consumption and number of staff needed to operate them,

8. The actual speeds and capacities of each of these computers,

9. How they were actually used at the time, and by whom were they used,

10. If any of these earlier computers still exist and are they still in working condition,

Finally, your team will summarize what each one of you personally learned on your Time-Traveling journey, and what you all found to be the most important lessons you learned along the way in your WebQuest.



The Process:

1. To accomplish the above tasks, you will want to work in teams of 3 to 5 students.

2. All members of the team should evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their team members, and select a Team Leader who will help direct the other team members.

3. Before assigning specific tasks and responsibilities to each team member, together as a group, you will all want to first get the broad scope of your project.  All team members should spend some personal time reading-up and exploring the subject for themselves, and then you can all come back together to plan your time-traveling trip into Computer History!

4. You may choose to "send" each member of your group into a different "time-period," or developmental stage of computer history, or you may decide to visit each of these "time-periods" together as a group, dividing up tasks and responsibilities among each of your team members - - -  this is totally your decision.

5. Once you have decided how your team will approach your trip, you should then carefully chart your "Time-Traveling" course.  What time period should you begin in? What time periods should you stop at along the way? Do you want to pre-plan these stops, or will you just let each experience guide your team into the next logical step and time period?  Again, these kinds of decisions are totally up to your individual teams.

6. When you have finally decided on just how your group will approach your journey and task, it would probably be wise to pass your plan past one of your instructors, just to make sure it is realistic and actually workable. He or she may have some helpful suggestions you may want to consider before you actually embark upon your Time-Travels.

7.  In your preparations for your Time-Traveling journey, you will want to assemble your organizational tools for the trip.  You will also want to creatively plan on how you will utilize some of the organization and presentation tools with which you have become familiar in previous WebQuests, i.e. flowcharts, summary tables, concept maps, or other filing-systems used to assemble, organize and present your final reports.

8.  There are several resources you will want to become familiar with before you finalize your plans and embark on your journey.

a.) Your teachers / instructors will be presenting several videos relating to Computer History in general, and the history of Personal Computers in particular.

"Creation of the Computer,"
"Computers," and
"The History and Evolution of Computers" all presented by The History Channel,
will be among the videos we will view together as a class.

"Triumph of the Nerds" will also provide a context for the modern Personal Computer.

b.) Everyone should visit the Wikipedia site, and browse through a good number of Computer History related articles.

c.) There are several great websites dedicated totally to the history of the development of computers. A simple search using Google, Yahoo, or other online search engines will render a considerable amount of useful material in this regard.

d.) Using the above resources to provide the broad, general outline, each team should easily be able to zero-in on specific mile-stones in the evolution and development of computers.

9. In this WebQuest, all teams will be encouraged to collaborate with other teams in the sharing of both resources and knowledge. Even though we have divided our class into several separate teams, we never want to forget that our class is one team as a whole. Look for ways to both help and benefit from each others talents, abilities and discoveries!






Evaluation:  

You will be graded both as a team and as contributing individuals.  No one will be penalized for the actions, or inaction, of other members of your team as long as everyone did their best to help bring the team together and uphold and perform their own responsibilities.  Realize that group experiences such as these can be as much of an exercise in learning to work and motivate each other in and through any given project, as it might be a learning experience about computer history itself!

Beginning

1

Developing

2

Accomplished

3

Exemplary

4

Score

 

Stated Objective or Performance

 

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

 

 

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

 

 

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

 

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.
Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.



Conclusion:

Upon completion of your Time-Traveling WebQuest into Computer History, you should have obtained a healthy appreciation for the many and vast contributions of literally hundreds of years of human learning and development that have all together contributed and made possible the Personal Computers we have at our disposal today.. Chances are, you will also have learned how to work with others in your team in ways that together helped you all accomplish much more than you ever could have accomplished alone.  And hopefully, you will have further developed both your information and people skills along the way.



Credits & References:

List here the sources of any images, music or text that you're using. Provide links back to the original source. Say thanks to anyone who provided resources or help. List any books and other analog media that you used as information sources as well.


Last updated on August 15, 1999. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page
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