History of the Computer

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History of the ComputerAs computers are so much a part of everyday life today, it is hard to imagine being without one, or more of them!  However, it has not always been this way.

I thought that, as many grandparents of today’s children completed their education without a computer to help them, the History of the Computer, could make an interesting research project for the children. 

The following sites should help teachers thinking about exploring the History of the Computer as a classroom project. Some of the sites listed are for teachers and some are suitable for children.

A really interesting historical point is that the word computer was originally used to describe the people who operated the computing machines and not used to describe the machines themselves!

History and Generations of the Computer Video:

The text to speech engine used on the following video does not have perfect pronunciation; however, it is one of the few child-friendly histories available in video.

Timetoast . This site has  a History of the Computer timeline which illustrates the development of the technology, from the first computer onwards. It could perhaps be interesting – as part of a study – for children to ask their grandparents if they were alive when many of the things on the timeline, such as a mouse, were first developed?

Kidsnet. This site has a full section on the history of computing and covers the earliest devices up to the modern day. It is fairly complex to read but has lots of information.

An Illustrated History of the Computer. This offering  has some amazing pictures that could be used to show how things have changed! Page three (which can be found at the above link) illustrates one of the earliest electronic computers, as well as the first Apple computer! However, the text is not suitable for children; from page three onwards, the history of the modern computer is covered and earlier pages cover ancient mathematical devices! If you are looking for a technology development and strategic market, visit for more info.

Computers Over Time, a Video Covering the Development of Computers:

Teaching Ideas . This site also has a collection of resources about computing pioneers that may be of interest.

History of the Computer