History, the History of Computers, and the History
of Computers in Education
1780 - Early public schools adopt the teacher/manager model with
the teacher as the primary manger of instruction and assessment in a
1946 - First vacuum tube-based computers developed; universities
in computer development effort; technology used in war effort.
1951 - Little technology used in schools, primarily TV; baby boom
begins with resulting increases in class size; first-generation Univac
computer delivered to the US census bureau.
1954 - General Electric is the first business to order a computer.
Early rock and roll music, based on the rhythm and blues tradition, gains
a little in popularity.
1955 - IBM's first commercial computer is sold; the cold war
results in use of technology in aircraft design and in weapons control.
Russia developing the technology for the first spacecraft.
1956 - Eisenhower elected president; Elvis Presley records "Hound
Dog"; school overcrowding growing; school dropout rate rapidly declining
toward zero; schools still based on the teacher/manager model in
individual teacher-controlled classrooms; the cold war continues with
technology playing an important role and is intensified when Russia
sends up their Sputnik space vehicle to demonstrate their lead in
1958 - As cold war continues, National Defense Education Act brings
some new money and some new technology into schools, but primarily in
vocational education. Mainframe host computers are not widely accepted in
schools that are still using the si ngle classroom, teacher/manager method
of delivering information to students.
1959 - Transistor-based computers in use; the cold war continues
with public support for the development of technology needed for space
1960 - COBOL business-oriented, high-level programming language
created; Kennedy elected president with campaign promises to put more
money into education; crime rate doubles in one decade; Gary Powers shot
down in hi-tech spy airplane; 70,000 invo lved in civil-rights
1962 - Airlines begin to use a computerized reservation system.
President Kennedy diverts more money into education. The cold war
continues and results in a confrontation with Russia as hi-tech spy planes
discover missiles in Cuba; George Wallace campaigns for governor of
Georgia pledging segregation forever.
1963 - Vocational Education Act passes with new money supporting
the use of technology in schools; however, the mainframe and minicomputers
in use at this time are using batch processing methods that do not fit
well with the single teacher-as-manag er-of-learning methods in use in
most schools; BASIC, a simple high-level programming language is
developed, mostly for use in universities to train programmers; IBM 360
family of computers is developed; most computers still using host methods
with punche d cards as the primary input device; line printers are still
the primary output device; the cold war and the competitive space
exploration effort continues with President Kennedy's call for the science
to be developed that could put a man on the moon.
1964 - Johnson elected president; the Beatles rapidly rise to
stardom; Bob Dylan writes songs that give voice to the protest movement;
the Gulf of Tonkin incident results in the first confrontation between the
US and the government of North Vietnam ; the civil rights movement grows
including a one-day civil-right protest absence of 464,000 students in New
York; China explodes a test Atomic bomb.
1965 - Elementary and Secondary Education Act brings new money into
schools for technology. mainframes and minicomputers are put into place
in some schools, but most are used for administration or for school
counseling (databases for information a bout and for students); the cold
war continues as President Johnson expands the war, with 125,000 American
troops in Vietnam; ; hi-tech weapons are used in bombings of North
Vietnam; 50,000 Americans killed in traffic accidents.
1967 - High-level programming languages such as Fortran are being
taught are in universities. School vocational training programs begin to
include computer maintenance; Stokely Carmichael declares a need for SNCC
to move from civil rights to black power; Mohammed Ali refuses army
induction for religious reasons bringing national attention to both the
black power movement and the anti-Vietnam movement; student strikes on
many campuses related to protest over both civil rights and the policy in
Viet nam; acid rock and protest rock grow in popularity; centers of
dissidence like Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco develop; anti-war protests
grow, especially on college campuses; 380,000 US troops in Vietnam.
1968 - Nixon elected president; riots in many cities break out over
civil rights issues; the cold war continues with a rapid expansion of the
war in Vietnam 9,419 dead in Vietnam; some programs designed to bring
money for technology into schools ar e canceled; host computers are not
widely adopted in schools because they are seen as appropriate for use
with the teacher/manager model of learning (they don't fit into the single
classroom, but instead are accessed remotely by sending batches of data).<
BR> 1969 - Neil Armstrong arrives on the moon; the Woodstock rock
concert in upstate New York draws hundreds of thousands; the cold war and
the war in Vietnam continues; many students, religious leaders, civil
rights leaders, and ordinary citizens begi n to speak out against the war
1970 - Pascal created; the US bombs Cambodia; Kent State antiwar
students killed by Army reserve troops; mainframes and minicomputers in
use in some schools, but very little use in the delivery of
1971 - Intel's first microprocessor developed; the first
microcomputers (PCs) are developed; mainframes and minicomputers are in
wide use in business; a few software companies begin to develop mainframe
and minicomputer- based instructional program s; 18-year old given the
1972 - Five men working for President Nixon's re-election caught in
the Democratic party's headquarters in the Watergate hotel complex; Nixon
re-elected president and orders the bombing of North Vietnam.
1974 - President Nixon resigns and is given a full pardon by his
successor, President Ford; a gasoline embargo creates lines at gas
stations; Patty Hurst kidnapped; Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's lifetime
home run record; Apple I computer is sold in
1975 - Some Apple 1 PCs are donated to schools; some schools have
adopted mainframes and minicomputers and refuse to consider PCs; four
Nixon administration official convicted in Watergate cover up; The war in
Vietnam ends and the government of Nor th Vietnam invades and takes over
1976 - Carter elected president; the cold war continues; Iraq holds
hostages, rampant inflation; the Apple I computer gains popularity in
1979 - 15 Million PCs estimated to be in use worldwide; PC-based
spreadsheets developed, mainframes and minicomputers still in wide
1980 - Reagon elected President, the cold war continues with Reagon
declaring Russia to be the "evil empire"; the TI 99 which uses a
television screen as the monitor is the world's most popular PC.
1981 - IBM is the first mainframe manufacturer to develop a PC;
drill and practice CAI gains acceptance in schools; the cold war
continues. The first educational drill and practice programs are
developed for personal computers.
1983 - IBM PC clones proliferate; Sperry Corporation is the second
mainframe manufacturer to develop a PC (actually developed by Mitsubishi
in Japan); the Apple II computer finds widespread acceptance in education
because PCs better fit the teacher /manager model of instructional
delivery (PCs can be used to "support" the ongoing teaching in the single
classroom). Simple simulation programs are developed for personal
1984 - Reagon re-elected; 31 states use 13,000 PCs for career
guidance, but there are still relatively few computers in classrooms; the
Apple Macintosh computer is developed; computer-based tutorials and
learning games are developed by commercial software manufacturers.
1986 - 25 % of high schools use PCs for college and career
guidance, K-8 schools buying mostly Apple II and Macintosh computers, high
schools buying mostly DOS-based clones.
1988 - Bush elected President; 60 % of all workers in the US use
computers, laptops are developed; Gorbachoff proposes an end to the cold
1990 - Multimedia PCs are developed; schools are using videodiscs;
object-oriented multimedia authoring tools are in wide use; Simulations,
educational databases and other types of CAI programs are being delivered
on CD-ROM disks, many with animati on and sound; the US crime increases
dramatically; the cold war ends.
1992 - Clinton elected President; for the first time, police and
prison budgets begin to surpass education budgets; schools are using
Gopher servers to provide students with on-line information.
1994 - Digital video, virtual reality, and 3-D systems capture the
attention of many, but fewer multimedia PCs than basic business PCs are
sold; object-oriented authoring systems such as HyperCard, Hyperstudio,
and Authorware grow in popularity in schools; most US classrooms now have
at least one PC available for instructional delivery, but not all teachers
have access to a computer for instructional preparation.
1995 - The Internet and the world wide web began to catch on as
businesses, schools, and individuals create web pages; most CAI is
delivered on CD-ROM disks and is growing in popularity.
1996 - The Internet is widely discussed as businesses begin to
provide services and advertising using web pages. New graphics and
multimedia tools are developed for the delivery of information and
instruction using the Internet; many schools are rewiring for Internet
access; a few schools install web servers and provide faculty with a way
to create instructional web pages.
1997-2007 - The growth of the internet expands far faster than most
predicted. It soon becomes the world's largest database of
information, graphics, and streaming video making it an invaluable
resource for educators; but marketing-oriented web pages, computer
viruses hidden within downloadable programs and/or graphics, and
spam (widely disseminated email-based sales pitches)
threaten it's usefullness. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo
constantly develop new ways to find information within the ever-growing
number of web pages. Web sites that offer individuals a place
to put personal information become popular, as does internet-based
publishing and discussion forums. Voice recognition slowly enters the computing mainstream, but it's
development is slowed by an unacceptable frequency of errors. Some computers incorporate TV input, but
it is not as common as many predicted. Educational software becomes more
useful and interesting to students as graphics and video are incorporated.
Larger computer storage capacity and the growing prevalence of CD-ROM
and DVD drives in personal computers make it easier for educators to
store large graphic and video and sound files for educational applications.