In 1988, University of Virginia professor E.D. Hirsch published Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. In this best-selling book, he argued that progressivist education had let down America’s students by neglecting knowledge in the form of a shared body of information. The book included a list of 5,000 facts, dates, famous people, works of literature, and concepts that he believed every American should know. His book and the list have proven to be quite popular (Core Knowledge Foundation, 2020, link).
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is now a well-established part of our culture. This culture includes a large number of computer-related facts, dates, famous people, software (computer programs), hardware (physical machines and devices), and concepts that have become integral to our culture. Today’s teachers and their students need to become familiar with many of them.
Initially, I thought it would be relatively easy to create a useful and reasonably comprehensive list somewhat paralleling Hirsch’s list. However, I was overly optimistic. This and the next IAE Newsletters offer my current list. These newsletters will be an appendix in my new book tentatively titled ICTing and Mathing Across the History Curriculum.
While my list is certainly long enough to start the reader thinking about the overall task, I am quite sure that it is missing many important people and terms. Moreover, I have not attempted to make a guess at the age level or grade level when it would be appropriate to introduce the various items on my list to students. I suggest that you talk with your students and other young people about this list. Ask them for the vocabulary they use in talking with their friends about social networking, computer games, computer uses in schools and at-home schooling, and so on. Please feel free to use the Comments feature at the end of this newsletter to suggest additions to my list.
Albrecht, Robert (Bob) (1930-). Computer in education pioneer and prolific author who began teaching computer programming to high school students in 1962. He was a 1972 founder of People’s Computer Company, a non-profit organization devoted to educational, recreational, personal, and public uses of computers. He was the founder and editor of the People's Computer Company journal, 1972-1977. In 1975, was co-founder with Dennis Allison of Dr. Dobb’s Journal, a professional journal of software tools for advanced computer programmers. In 1977, was co-founder with Don Inman of Calculators/Computers Magazine. In 1979, Albrecht terminated this periodical and offered its subscription land advertisers list, as well as some articles awaiting publication, to David Moursund. This helped encourage Moursund to create the International Council for Computers in Education. In approximately 1980, Albrecht was co-founder with Ramon Zamora of ComputerTown, USA, a community computer literacy project funded by the National Science Foundation (ERIC, 1982, link.)
Allen, Paul (1953-2018). Co-founder with Bill Gates of Microsoft, and founder of the Allen Institutes for Brain Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Cell Science; philanthropist. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Babbage, Charles (1791-1871). British inventor who designed the Difference Engine and the Analytic Engine, the world’s first digital computers. (Britannica, 2020, link.)
Berners-Lee, Tim (1955-). Invented the Web in 1989, and was one of Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.’ Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, a global web standards organization he founded in 1994. (World Wide Web Foundation, 2020, link.)
Bezos, Jeffrey Preston (1964- ). CEO and president of Amazon, the multi-national technology company that he founded in 1994. Entrepreneur and philanthropist. Amazon owns a number of companies whose products include Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Echo devices. Amazon sells products from its own companies and serves as a retail mail-order distribution
Braun, Ludwig (1926-1998). A pioneer in the field of computers in education who had a very long and distinguished career in this field. Best known for his development of 17 computer simulation games in biology, physics, and social studies. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation beginning in 1967. Distribution was achieved through the Digital Equipment Corporation, which disseminated teacher manuals, resource manuals, and student manuals to over 600 teachers and 25,000 students in 400 secondary schools during the 1972-73 school year. (Visich & Braun, 1974, link; Moursund, 2016, link).
Brin, Sergey (1973-). Co-founder of Google with Larry Page on September 4, 1998. Google is the world’s most widely used Web search engine. Google provides a number of services and products such as email (Gmail), cloud storage (Google Drive), language translation (Google Translate), video sharing (YouTube), and maps (Google maps).
“Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford University in Stanford, California. The project initially involved an unofficial “third founder”, Scott Hassan, the original lead programmer who wrote much of the code for the original Google Search engine, but he left before Google was officially founded as a company; Hassan went on to pursue a career in robotics and founded the company Willow Garage in 2006.” (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Cerf, Vinton (1943-). “Vinton G. Cerf is vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. He contributes to global policy development and continued spread of the Internet. Widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet.” (Google Research, n.d., link.)
Cuban, Larry (1934- ). Professor of Education at Stanford University and very prolific writer with a broad range of education experiences. His major research interests focus on the history of curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, school reform, and the uses of technology in classrooms. (Sustainability, n.d., link.)
Engelbart, Douglass (1925-2013). Known for his work on the invention of the computer mouse, bitmapped graphic display screens, and hypertext. His work in these three areas contributed to Web-users routine experiences when using the Web. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Gates, William (Bill) (1955-). Microsoft Corporation co-founder, with Paul Allen; co-founder with his wife Melinda of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Entrepreneur and philanthropist. (Biography, 2020, link.)
Microsoft develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2020, link.)
Hollerith, Herman (1860-1929). Considered to be the father of modern automatic computation, he founded the company that was to become IBM. To process the 1890 U.S. census data, he selected the punched card as the basis for storing and processing information, and he built the first punched-card tabulating and sorting machines as well as the first key punch. Hollerith's designs dominated the computing landscape for almost 100 years. (da Cruz, 3/10/2020 link.)
Hopper, Grace Murray (1906-1992). Computer pioneer and programming languages developer who began her programming career in 1944; Navy Rear Admiral, professor, speaker. In 1949, she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in Philadelphia as senior mathematician. The company was soon acquired by Remington Rand. As head programmer for Remington Rand, she worked on the UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer). In 1952, her programming team developed the first computer language “compiler” called A-0. (Yale News, 2/10/2017, link.)
Jacquard, Joseph-Marie (1752-1834). French inventor of the Jacquard loom, which served as the impetus for the technological revolution of the textile industry. The punch cards he created to operate his loom machine were later used for many years in data processing, both before and after the development of electronic digital computers. (Britannica, 2020, link.)
Jobs, Steve (1955–2011). Very innovative computer entrepreneur. He and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple, Inc., in 1976. Jobs served as chairman until 1985. He bought Pixar from Lucasfilm in 1986 and served as CEO for its first ten years, then returned to Apple in 1997 as CEO. Some important Apple products include the iPhone, iPad, Apple watch, Macintosh computer, MacBook laptop computer, and Apple TV. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Kay, Alan Curtis (1940-). Known for his 1972 proposed Dynabook (a laptop computer for children), his work on object-oriented programming and the programming language Smalltalk, and his work on graphical user interfaces. (Wikipedia, 2020, link; Moursund; 2018, link.) The first commercially-produced laptop computer was the 1981 Osborne 1 (Bellis, 10/4/2019, link.)
Kemeny, John (1926-1992). “… mathematician, computer scientist, and educator best known for co-developing the BASIC programming language in 1964 with Thomas E. Kurtz. Kemeny served as the 13th President of Dartmouth College from 1970 to 1981, and pioneered the use of computers in college education.” (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Kilby, Jack St. Clair (1923-2005). While working as a newly hired engineer at Texas Instruments, he invented the first hybrid integrated circuit in the summer of 1959. He received a 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work. He is also known for being a co-inventor of the handheld calculator and thermal printer. (Wikipedia; 2020, link.)
Kurzweil, Ray (1948-). Inventor and futurist working in the fields of optical character recognition and text-to-speech (reading for the blind), electronic keyboard instruments, and the futuristic concept named the Singularity for a time in the future when computers will have become more intelligent than people. (Wikipedia, 2020, link; Kurzweil Music Systems, n.d., link.)
Kurtz, Thomas (1928-). Director of Dartmouth College Computing Center, 1959-1975. Co-developer, with John Kemeny, of the BASIC programming language. This language and its implementation on the Dartmouth Time Sharing System was the first commercially successful time-sharing system. Instead of batch-processed programs on punch cards, programmers could use teletype keyboard terminals as they wrote, ran, and debugged their programs. (Wikipedia, 2020, link); IEEE Computer Society, 2020, link.)
Lovelace, Ada (1815-1852). British mathematician and writer, known for her pioneering work in the early 1800’s (especially her ideas on computer programming) on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general-purpose computer the Analytical Engine. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Luehrmann, Arthur (1931-). Author or coauthor or more than 50 educational books about various aspects of computers and programming. He was on the faculty at Dartmouth when time-shared computing using the programming language BASIC was developed by Kemeny and Kurtz. This facility made it possible for Dartmouth to require a course in BASIC for all freshman students, and to integrate use of computers into many of the Dartmouth courses. He was project director for Project COMPUTe, a three-year effort funded by the National Science Foundation to support “writing and publication of course materials that would support educational use of computing in the undergraduate curriculum”, with Thomas Kurtz as the principal investigator. Luehrmann coined the term Computing Literacy in 1972, and was one of the founders of the Computer Literacy Press in 1981. (Moursund, 2020, link; Dartmouth: The 1970s, n.d., link.)
Moore, Gordon (1929-). Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce co-founded NM Electronics in 1968, which later became Intel Corporation. Moore published an article in 1965 describing that the number of components (transistors, resistors, diodes, and capacitors) in a dense integrated circuit had doubled approximately every year and speculating that it would continue to do so for at least the next ten years. In 1975, he revised the forecast rate to approximately every two years. This came to be known as Moore's Law, and it has proved to be relatively accurate for more than 30 years. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Morse, Samuel (1791-1882). Inventor who helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy. He was a co-developer of the Morse code that uses dots and dashes to code letters, digits, and punctuation. This telegraph code of dots and dashes is akin to the binary bit code of 0 and 1 used by today’s computers. (Wikipedia. 2020, link.)
Moursund, David (1936-). University of Oregon professor and the author, co-author, and editor or co-editor of about 75 academic books. First Chair of the U. of O. Computer Science Department, 1969-1975. With his College of Education colleague Keith Acheson, he founded the word’s first doctoral program for computers in education in 1971. He founded the non-profit professional society International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in 1979, and was its CEO for many years. In 2008, he established the non-profit Information Age Education (IAE) organization with a website that offers free books, newsletters, and the IAE-pedia. He has served on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Math Learning Center from its inception in 1976. (Moursund, 2020, link; Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Noyce, Robert (1927-1990). Co-founder with Gordon Moore of Intel in 1968. A few months after Jack Kilby invented the first hybrid integrated circuit in 1959, Noyce independently invented the monolithic integrated circuit while working at Fairchild. This integrated circuit (called the microchip) fueled the personal computer revolution. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Page, Larry (1973-). Co-founder of Google with Sergey Brin on September 4, 1998. Google is the world’s most used Web search engine. Google provides a number of services and products such as email (Gmail), cloud storage (Google Drive), language translation (Google Translate), video sharing (YouTube), and maps (Google maps).
Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford University in Stanford, California. The project initially involved an unofficial "third founder", Scott Hassan, the original lead programmer who wrote much of the code for the original Google Search engine, but he left before Google was officially founded as a company; Hassan went on to pursue a career in robotics and founded the company Willow Garage in 2006. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Papert, Seymour (1928-2016). MIT professor, mathematician, computer scientist with a strong emphasis on artificial intelligence, and educator. In 1967, Wally Feurzeig, Seymour Papert, and Cynthia Solomon designed the Logo programming language. This language, with its turtle that could be programmed to move about a computer screen, has been used by millions of students. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Shannon, Claud (1916-2001). Mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer known as the father of information theory. This area of research is a fundamental component of Information and Communication Technology. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Shockley, William (1910-1989). Manager of a research group at Bell Labs that invented the transistor. The group included John Bardeen and Walter Brattain. The three scientists were jointly awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for “their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect.” (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Suppes, Patrick (1922-2014). Stanford University professor who joined the Philosophy Department in 1950. He made significant contributions to philosophy of science, the theory of measurement, the foundations of quantum mechanics, decision theory, psychology, and educational technology. In the 1960s, Suppes and Richard C. Atkinson (future president of the University of California) conducted experiments in using computers to teach math and reading to school children in the Palo Alto area. In 1967, he founded the Computer Curriculum Corporation, which pioneered the computerized learning movement. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Turing, Alan (1912-1954). Mathematician, computer scientist, logician, and cryptanalyst. He is considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He is well known for his work in deciphering the German Enigma code used in military communications during World War 2. In 1950, he published an influential paper describing a test (now known as the Turing Test) that could be used to help measure progress the field of Artificial Intelligence. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
von Neumann, John (1903-1957). A mathematical genius doing foundational research in game theory and other areas of mathematics. He wrote a seminal paper on the idea that computer programs should be stored in computer memory, so they could be modified by the program that was being run. This became known as the von Neumann architecture and is the basis for virtually all modern computers. (Ranker, 10/3/ 2017, link.) The list of names presented here includes Ray Kurzweil who is noted for many achievements, incuding his iscussion of the technological singularity. However:
The first use of the concept of a "singularity" in the technological context was John von Neumann. Stanislaw Ulam reports a discussion with von Neumann "centered on the accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue". Subsequent authors have echoed this viewpoint. (Wikipedia, 2020, link).
Weizenbaum, Joseph (1923-2008). Considered to be one of the fathers of Artificial Intelligence. In 1966, he published a comparatively simple program called ELIZA (named after a character in George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion), that performed natural language processing to conduct a psychotherapy-type conversation. His influential 1976 book Computer Power and Human Reason displays his ambivalence towards computer technology and lays out his case. (Weizenbaum, 1993, link.)
Wolfram, Stephen (1959-). Known for his work in computer science, mathematics, and theoretical physics. He developed a very widely used Computer Algebra System named Mathematica Wolfram (Screencast & Video Gallery, 2020, link). In 2019, he announced his creation of the Wolfram Language, a computational language (as in computational thinking) designed as an aid to representing and solving problems across the disciplines that humans study. (Wolfram, 5/9/2019, link).
Wozniak, Steve (1950-). Co-founder with Steve Jobs of Apple Inc; electronics engineer, programmer, and philanthropist. “Woz” was the technology leader in developing the Apple 1 in 1975. He was the primary designer of the 1977 Apple II, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputers. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Zuckerberg, Mark (1984- ). Facebook co-founder with three of his Harvard University roommates on 2/4/2004. Zuckerberg is the chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder of Facebook. Legal battles over the ownership of the company continued for years, with two of the initial partners accepting a $65 million settlement in 2008. Over the years, Facebook has purchased more than 70 companies, including Instagram, Atlas, WhatsApp, and Oculus (Ramzeen, 2020, link; Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
I make no claim that this list of names is complete. Readers are strongly urged to make use of the Comments feature at the end of this newsletter to add names to the list. Please include brief information about each person you want to add, with a link to help me locate more information.
I have no expectation that history teachers and others making use of my list will agree with all of my choices, nor that they will learn more about each person on the list. They may or may not decide to add parts of this historical information to their curriculum.
The important idea is to understand that many people have contributed to developing the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities and uses that we now take for granted. This also is true for many other important contributions that have been made by unnamed people over the centuries. For an historic example, there is no one name associated with the first development of reading and writing. A group of people provided us with natural language communication over distance and time, and this certainly has changed our world!
The next newsletter will contain a list more than one hundred terms from the general field of ICT. Here are a few items in the current (draft) list:
Abacus. Arithmetic calculating device invented more than 4,000 years ago. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Air traffic control system. Highly computerized system to coordinate and control air traffic. (Sheffield School of Aeronautics, 11/27/2019, link.)
Chatbot. Computer system that can carry on a conversation (or a chat) with a user in natural language by use of artificial intelligence. (Expert System, 3/17/2020, link.)
Fake news. “False news stories, often of a sensational nature, created to be widely shared or distributed for the purpose of generating revenue, or promoting or discrediting a public figure, political movement, company, etc.” (Dictionary.com, n.d., link.)
Singularity (Technological singularity). “According to the most popular version of the singularity hypothesis, called intelligence explosion, an upgradable intelligent agent will eventually enter a “runaway reaction” of self-improvement cycles, each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an “explosion” in intelligence and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that qualitatively far surpasses all human intelligence.” (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Webcast. A video or audio event transmitted over the Internet. Think in terms of a broadcast over the airwaves versus a broadcast over the Internet. (Lexico, 2020, link.)
Wolfram Alpha. A computational knowledge engine or answer engine developed by Wolfram|Alpha LLC and launched on 5/15/2009. Based on Wolfram Mathematica, a computational toolkit that encompasses computer algebra, symbolic and numerical computation, visualization, and statistics capabilities. (Wikipedia, 2020, link.)
Barham, J.A. (10/16/2018). The 50 most influential living computer scientists. The Best Schools. Retrieved 7/15/2020 from https://thebestschools.org/features/most-influential-computer-scientists/.
Computer Weekly Staff (10/26/2006). IT greats: Top 10 greatest IT people. computerweekly.com. Retrieved 7/25/2020 from https://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240103681/IT-greats-Top-10-greatest-IT-people.
Core Knowledge Foundation (2020). Core knowledge. Retrieved 6/29/2020 from https://www.coreknowledge.org/about-us/.
Hirsch, E.D. (1988). Cultural literacy: What every American needs to know. New York: Vintage.
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (2019). 2019 annual report. Retrieved 7/19/2020 from https://www.iste.org/about/iste-story/annual-report.
Moursund, D. (2019). Women and ICT. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/19/2020 from http://iae-pedia.org/Women_and_ICT.
Moursund, D. (2018a). The fourth R (Second edition). Eugene, OR: Information Age Education. Retrieved 6/24/2020 from http://i-a-e.org/downloads/free-ebooks-by-dave-moursund/307-the-fourth-r-second-edition.html.
Moursund, D. (2018b). La cuarta R (Segunda edición). Eugene, OR: Information Age Education. Retrieved 6/25/2020 from http://iae-pedia.org/La_Cuarta_R_(Segunda_Edici%C3%B3n).
Moursund, D. (2017). History of computers in education. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/25/2020 from http://iae-pedia.org/History_of_Computers_in_Education.
Rinconada, J. (9/6/2019). Most influential people in computer science. Retrieved 7/25/2020 from https://medium.com/@jrinconada/most-influential-people-in-computer-science-59fe9461c51b.
Wikipedia (2020.) List of pioneers in computer science. Retrieved 7/25/2020 from https://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240103681/IT-greats-Top-10-greatest-IT-people.
David Moursund is an Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Oregon, and editor of the IAE Newsletter. His professional career includes founding the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in 1979, serving as ISTE’s executive officer for 19 years, and establishing ISTE’s flagship publication, Learning and Leading with Technology (now published by ISTE as Empowered Learner). He was the major professor or co-major professor for 82 doctoral students. He has presented hundreds of professional talks and workshops. He has authored or coauthored more than 60 academic books and hundreds of articles. Many of these books are available free online. See http://iaepedia.org/David_Moursund_Books .
In 2007, Moursund founded Information Age Education (IAE). IAE provides free online educational materials via its IAE-pedia, IAE Newsletter, IAE Blog, and IAE books. See http://iaepedia.org/Main_Page#IAE_in_a_Nutshell . Information Age Education is now fully integrated into the 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, Advancement of Globally Appropriate Technology and Education (AGATE) that was established in 2016. David Moursund is the Chief Executive Officer of AGATE.
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