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Everyone reading this likely remembers a time without the enormous amount of technology present in our lives. Perhaps some remember a time where there were no personal devices like cell phones and others only remember the massive departure from MySpace to Facebook. An incredible shift has happened in our world and we don't really address it. In fact in the classroom we seem to avoid the topic. Our students who have never known a world without YouTube, ubiquitous cell phones, and Wikipedia are likely to never know what it was like and what was gained or lost with the addition of technology to every part of our lives.
There are few places in the world that have been a part of this shift more so than the Santa Clara Valley, also known as Silicon Valley. The list of companies that started there or moved there encompasses every aspect of the technology revolution. So it is fitting that the Computer History Museum should be there as well.
When I toured this, it was awe inspiring and informative all at once. To see original technology for me was similar to seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. What I found most interesting was how intricate older technology was before small ICs (example: Apollo Guidance Computer) and how large it had to be to accommodate it. Much of these room sized computers and technology could fit inside your pocket in their current forms.
Now, considering many of my readers are not in California, you might consider this interesting but not particularly helpful. However, the museum's website is filled with even more information than the museum itself. The Exhibits page about topics like semiconductors, Pong, ENIAC, Google, Homebrew Computer club, and more brings up a wealth of resources and the timeline page is full of history and innovations woven into our technological story.
As technology becomes more and more a part of our lives, it integrates itself into our science and math, but also our history and humanity. This website and museum are a great way to begin to share that legacy with your students and perhaps come to accept it as a part of our student's education.