CBC Digital Archives

Kids and their computers

Described as "gigantic brains," computers were once so big they filled entire rooms. It all started with ENIAC, the world's first computer, that cracked and buzzed and weighed 27 tonnes. By the 1960s, ordinary Canadians were fascinated with these new high tech devices: IBMs could set up blind dates, select Christmas presents and mysteriously dispense money. A novel idea until computer technology replaced real people on the job. These days computers continue to revolutionize — this time changing the way people communicate by way of the Internet.

media clip
At nursery school, kids just out of diapers use video display terminals to draw pictures. Similarly, at elementary schools teachers instruct children how to program personal computers. As a result, computer technology invades the home and school. Parents even urge educators to buy more computer terminals. It's because some eager children want to stay late to learn the technology.

In this CBC Television clip, one boy says he likes learning with computers because he can work at his own pace, "instead of like in a class where if somebody gets it wrong then you review it again."
• Canada ranks highly among nations for children's access to computers at home and school. In 2000, close to 90 per cent of 15-year-old children had access to computers. This was above the rate in the United States and just below the rate in countries such as Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden.
• Also in 2000, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian children had use of a computer every day or at least a few times a week.

• Children in Spain, Greece and Germany had to share one computer among 20 students in 2000.
• The first advertised personal computer called Scelbi (scientific, electronic and biological) was created in Milford, Conn., in 1974, and contained one kilobyte of memory.
• In 2003, a powerful home PC had one gigabyte (1 million kilobytes) of RAM (random access memory).
Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Oct. 26, 1982
Guest(s): Jim Crawford, Annie Rock
Reporter: Mary Lou Finlay
Duration: 3:57

Last updated: February 28, 2014

Page consulted on October 31, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Inventing the Internet Age

From early dreams of global information networks to the dominance of the World Wide Web, netwo...

A Lost Heritage: Residential Schools extra cl...

In 1928, a government official predicted Canada would end its "Indian problem" within two gene...

Meet the Macintosh

On Jan. 24, 1984, a new computer company called Apple shook up the world of personal computers...

A Lost Heritage: Canada's Residential Schools

In 1928, a government official predicted Canada would end its "Indian problem" within two gene...

1990: Graduation for Canada's oldest universi...

University of Toronto bestows 100-year-old Selma Plaut with an honorary degree.

Religion in the Classroom

Canada has struggled with the role of religion in public schools throughout the past half-cent...