In and of itself, a computer is a complex system of components. But it can also be part of a larger system of communication, the internet, that links computer networks around the world.
The Y2K problem is a good example of how systems are interconnected. Will Y2K be TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It)? How can one little glitch in the operating systems of computers possibly cause so many problems? It's because in the world that we live in, computer systems are so interconnected to the daily activities of humans. Is this interdependent world different from the world that your grandparents or great-grandparents lived in? How?
Sample some of the following activities to learn more about computer systems.
The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about computer systems.
Learn about the history of the Apple Computer company from this online museum.
Visit the world of 1s and 0s to understand the binary system which is the language of computers.
Find out how this software company got started and how it works today.
Virtually visit the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940s. John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert designed ENIAC (Electronic Numeric Integrator and Computer) at the end of World War II. The enormous computer cost $500,000 and took up 1800 square feet of space and weighed 30 tons. When it was turned on, it often used up so much electricity that it caused blackouts in Philadelphia. It was an impressive computer, but it had less power and speed than an inexpensive, handheld calculator has today.
Travel to Germany in the 1930s. It is thought that a German engineer named Konrad Zuse produced the first computer. He said, “I was too lazy to calculate, and so I invented the computer.” The German government used Mr. Zuse’s invention to help in its war efforts during World War II.
Visit the Computer History Museum to see a timeline of the development of the personal computer.
Visit Silicon Valley in California. Today’s computers are all about tiny silicon chips that carry billions of electronic messages.
This site features an index that mentions most of the computer pioneers and their inventions. It also notes other important people in computers or computing industry.
This companion site to the PBS documentary helps readers understand how youthful amateurs, hippies and self-proclaimed "nerds" accidentally changed the world with their computer innovations.
Free in person and online workshops and training opportunities for Utah educators.
Charles Babbage was a British inventor and mathematician, as well as a pioneer in the computer science field. He invented the first programmable computer.
Isn't technology grand? These computer gurus have discovered a method (a system) to make scratch and sniff work online.
Learn about the way computers work and how they can be used in everyday life.
Did you realize that the internet has been around since the 1950's? How many internet sites existed in June 1993? How many interent sites existed in March 1999?
"The microprocessor is the heart of any normal computer, whether it is a desktop machine, a server, or a laptop." From this great site, you can find out not only about microprocessors, but also many other computer parts and functions.
- Brown, Marc. Arthur's Computer Disaster. Boston: Little, Brown, 1997.
- Chambers, Catherine. Computer. Des Plaines, Ill.: Heinemann Interactive Library, c1998.
- Drake, Jim. Computers All Around Us. Des Plaines, Ill.: Heinemann Library, c1999.
- Drake, Jim. Computers and Schools. Des Plaines, Ill.: Heinemann Library, c1999.
- Drake, Jim. What Is a Computer? Des Plaines, Ill.: Heinemann Library, c1999.
- Kazunas, Charnan. The Internet for Kids. New York: Children's Press, c1997.
- Kazunas, Charnan. Personal Computers. New York: Children's Press, c1997.
- Parker, Steve. Computers. Austin, Tex.: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 1997.
- Pedersen, Ted. Internet For Kids!: A Beginner's Guide to Surfing the Net. New York: Price Stern Sloan, c1997.
- Toby, Edna. What's a Computer? New York: New Traditions Press, c1998