Watching some videos about computing and its history is an interesting proposal. It is not difficult to find some videos on the internet aimed at all sort of audiences, from children and teenagers to adults. The website www.youtube.com is the easiest option. Here are some interesting examples:
This is a didactic cartoon video for children that shows the evolution of computers. It is from the series “Historia de las cosas” developed by The Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC). Its duration is 5:13 minutes.
This is a TV show called “Arrobines” and in it they ask questions about computing to children in Primary Education. This program took part of the Internet and Family Project of CTIC Foundation (Center for the Development of Information and Communication Technologies). It was an activity made by the Principality of Asturias for the Internet Day (2008 edition).
This is a documentary called “the computer” in the series “Modern Marvels” in the history channel. This link is the first of the three parts in this documentary. It is aimed at teenagers and adults and it is only 45 minutes long.
On the other hand, you can watch a movie where computing has some relevance in it. For example:
- Billion-Dollar Brain. Released in 1967. Directed by Ken Russell this film reflects the part that the first computers played in the Cold War.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey. Released in 1968 and directed by Stanley Kubrick. This sci-fi movie deals with themes such as human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life. It is based on the homonymous novel by Arthur C. Clarke. We can highlight the computer character HAL 9000 which takes care of the spacecraft Discovery. The name of the computer stands for Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer and according to the director, its names does not come from the letters IBM, placed one position behind in the alphabet.
- Blade Runner. Released in 1982 and directed by Ridley Scott. It shows the use of technology in a future society.
- The Net. Released in 1995 and directed by Irwin Winkler. This thriller is about a program that can have access to secret data base.
- The Matrix trilogy. They were released between 1999 and 2003 and they were directed by the Wachowski brothers. In these sci-fi movies we can see a future where all human beings are being enslaved by machines and the artificial intelligence has been created.
Questions to solve
Apart from watching the videos and movies, we propose some questions which can be answered individually or in a group. These questions will give you a clue about what you will see in the visit to the Museum of Computing. Most of them can be answered using the Internet.
- How do you call it, computador or ordenador?
- Nowadays we use the computer in all our devices: desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet or e-book. But what exactly is a computer?
- Who invented the computer?
- Bill Gates (Microsoft)
- Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Apple)
- The USA government
- None of the above
- From its invention, computers have had a keyboard and a screen so they can operate. True or false?
- Which language can a computer “understand”?
- Binary language, formed by 0s and 1s
- Greek and Latin
- Which is the given name to e-mails that we do not want?
- Who was the first person who used bug as an informatics error?
- Do you know any woman who played an important role in the computing history?
- What is a captcha? Which famous test and British mathematician are behind this name?
- When was the computer mouse invented? Do you know the name of the first computer in using it?
- Did you know that in order to build a computer, materials that are harmful to our health and to the environment are used? Do you know the name of these materials?
- What do we have to do with the parts of the computer that are obsolete?
- Nothing, they destroy themselves
- Throw them to the bin
- Take them to recycling point
- Throw them into the glass container
- Have you ever heard about electronic waste? Do you know which countries receive this kind of waste?
- What is the connection between Lord Byron and informatics?
- What will I learn in my visit to the Museum of Computing?
- A lot of names and important dates
- How computer programs are encrypted and written
- What to do with an old computer
- History about technology innovation, success and failures of relevant characters in the world of computing and my part in this story.
- All of the above
- In which project from the United States was what we call today the internet created? In which year was the Internet globally used?
The reflection, a previous step in all cognitive development.
It would be interesting to make a chronological diagram where all the relevant periods in the history of computing are shown. We could point out the following dates: before 1800, 1800-1900. 1900-1950, 1950-2000, 2000 until today. In this diagram you can highlight the dates that are important to you like your birthday, your parents’ birthday or the invention of the computer. Afterwards, you can include some of the most relevant inventions like: the newspaper, electricity, photography, the telephone, the radio, the car, the plane or the television. You can add the first space flights as well.
This chronological diagram can be completed with everything you consider important or what can be important to the history of computing. Once the visit is finished, we will check it.