A brief history of ICT

The World Wide Web

Information and Communication Technology

This article deals with the history of IC. As ICT is becoming more and more part and parcel of teaching, it would be interesting to see how ICT has developed through the last decades.

This article aims at helping teachers have a general idea of the history of ICT, from the invention of the first computer up to now. We will also try to peep into the future to see how ICT will look like in the next few decades.

A brief history of ICT

The history of ICT


The term “computer” comes from the Latin “computus” and “computare”. Both Latin words mean to determine by mathematical means or by numerical methods. The English verb “compute” has the same meaning.

Basically, a computer is a programmable electronic device that performs mathematical calculations and logical operations, especially one that can process, store and retrieve large amounts of information very quickly. Personal computers are also employed for manipulating text or graphics, accessing the Internet, or playing games or media.

The main components of a computer are:

  1. a Central Processing Unit (CPU),
  2. a monitor,
  3. a Keyboard,
  4. and a mouse.

Originally the first computers were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers.

First computer invented

The US-built ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was the first electronic programmable computer built in the US.

Later, computers have become smaller and much more powerful.

The Internet

The Internet was invented as a result of researches conducted in the early 1960s by visionary people like J.C.R. Licklider of MIT. The latter saw the added value of allowing computers to share information on research and development in scientific and military fields. That’s why, he proposed a global network of computers in 1962, and moved over to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in late 1962 to head the work to develop it.

The Web

While many people use the terms Internet and the Web interchangeably, they are in fact not synonymous. The Internet is a huge network that connects millions of computers together worldwide. Computers in this network can communicate with any other computer as long as they are connected to the Internet. The Web or the World Wide Web (WWW), however, is a way of accessing information over the medium of the Internet. It is an information space or a model that is built on top of the Internet where documents and other web resources are identified by URLs (Uniform Resource Locator), informally termed a web address. This space is interlinked by hypertext links, and can be accessed via the Internet.

The World Wide Web was invented by English scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. He wrote the first web browser in 1990 while employed at CERN in Switzerland.

Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0

What’s the difference between Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0?

They represent the evolution of the Web in the last two decades. Here is a summary of their features.

Web 1.0

Web 1.0 was the first stage of the World Wide Web’s evolution. Basically, content creators provided content for the vast majority of users who were only consumers or readers of that content.

One-to-many relationship

One-to-many relationship

The most important features of Web 1.0 were as follows:

  • It was a read only web
  • It was based on HTML which is a basic computer language.
  • It was characterized by static pages (there is no interactivity between users and websites).
  • It was also characterized by slow connection speed.
  • The software was very expensive, generally on CDs or DVDs to be installed.
Web 2.0

Web 2.0 was the next evolution of the Web. It is more sophisticated and is characterized by its social aspect. Unlike Web 1.0, Web 2.0 is a many-to-many relationship.

Many-to-many relationship

Many-to-many relationship

Here are the features of Web 2.0:

  • It is a read-and-write web.
  • It is based on more sophisticated computer languages (PHP, Mysql, Java Script…)
  • The pages are dynamic pages, which means that there is the possibility of interactivity between users and the web.
  • It is characterized by speed.
  • The software is more accessible. It is online or downloadable.
Web 3.0

Web 3.0 is an evolution of the Web as an extension of Web 2.0. It is also called the Semantic Web. It is characterized by connective intelligence, connecting data, concepts, applications, and ultimately people.

Here are its features:

  • Read, write and execute web.
  • Users are served more intelligently.
  • Personalized information.
  • Machine comprehension.
  • Cloud Technology.
  • Everything is connected.
  • Immersion.

ICT for education

Many educators saw in ICT the potential of raising the quality of teaching and learning. Here is what it can offer to education:

  • Universal access to high quality education.
  • Teachers’ professional development.
  • Efficient education management in terms of governance and administration.
  • Promotion of  equity in education.

For teachers, ICT offers a mine of content, material, and ideas.

What can ICT offer to teachers?

What can ICT offer to teachers?

Examples of ICT tools

ICT can offer different Web tools:

  • websites
  • wikis
  • blogs
  • forums
  • applications

And the list is not exhaustive.

What’s next?

The future of ICT is promising. The web will develop even more possibilities.

Web 4.0

Web 4. or the symbiotic web will lead to an interaction between humans and machines in symbiosis. Machines would be clever on reading the contents of the web and react fast by providing superior quality content.

Web 5.0:

Web 5.0 or the emotional web is a version that is still developed underground. The web will interact with users and will be able to recognize their emotions. So far the web is neutral as far as emotions are concerned. This will probably change in the future.

More about the history of ICT by Tim Berners-Lee

Video: Tim Berners-Lee

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