The seminar “History of Computers in Education” was held in Ioannina between 26-29 March 2012.
The aim of the seminar was to review from a historical perspective the uses of computers in education and how they have transformed the educational process through concrete examples.
The seminar was embedded within a research project addressing the history of calculating and computing machines with the purpose of contributing towards the design and development of teaching and learning materials to help elementary and middle school students to develop awareness with respect to:
a) the role of science and technology in society and to appreciate their distinction and inter-relationships
b) the inter-relationships among operation, manufacture and use of the artifact
One particular aspect of the history of computing was highlighted: the use of the computer as a scientific instrument. The electronic digital computer was invented to do science, and its applications range from physics to mathematics to biology to the humanities. What has been the impact of computing on the practice of science? Is the computer different from other scientific instruments? Is computer simulation a valid form of scientific experiment? Can computer models be viewed as surrogate theories? How does the computer change the way scientists approach the notions of proof, expertise, and discovery?
This seminar examined scientific articles, participants' memoirs, and works by historians, sociologists, and anthropologists of science providing multiple perspectives on the use of computers in diverse fields of physical, biological, and social sciences and the humanities.
The participants were mainly graduate students, postdoctoral students and staff from the departments of education of the Universities of Athens and Ioannina.
Prof Dave Hill of Middlesex University was also present as the main discussant of the seminar.