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PBS LearningMedia Celebrates Computer Science Education Week

December 14, 2015 - Posted in Education

This week, PBS LearningMedia is celebrating Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code (12/7-13) by sharing resources about CS, coding and thought leadership in the tech space.

Who Invented the First Real Computer?

If you search for definitions of the word “computer” from different eras, you’ll see how we have defined it has changed over time. Today, computer use as we know it is so prevalent that many cannot imagine life without them. So who invented the first real computer?

There are more than a dozen contenders to consider, all designers of unique, remarkable machines, from British mathematician Charles Babbage’s analytical engine to American physicist John Mauchly and engineer Presper Eckert’s ENIAC, the first all-electronic computer controlled by a program. With facts and timelines clouded by intrigue, controversy and contradiction, debate has raged in courtrooms and classrooms for decades. The answer of “who invented the computer” may surprise your students: WATCH:

How about a Career in Computer Animation!

You know the popular DreamWorks movies “Toy Story,” “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and others, but do you know how they got made? Introduce your students to Rex Grignon, head of character animation at DreamWorks, and the field of computer animation with this video and activity from the PBS series “Roadtrip Nation”!

For Grignon, working in film was a last-minute career detour. In high school, he thought he would be an engineer like his dad, so he took math and science classes, but he would spend weekends making his own short films. When he heard about a college nearby that taught film production, he applied and was accepted. Once there, he became interested in computer animation, which combined science and art — perfect for his varied background and Interests. No career decision is absolute, he says, adding that you have to be open to what comes your way—his path and its many detours is proof. WATCH:

Supported by ETV, PBS LearningMedia offers teachers more than 100,000 videos, images, interactives, lesson plans and articles drawn from critically acclaimed PBS programs and from expert content contributors like The National Archives and NASA. Educators in South Carolina are invited to sign up at


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