Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Sir Tim Berners-Lee - Inventor of the World Wide Web

Sir Tim Berners-Lee 

It's really hard to imagine life without the web now. In 1989 British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web - the way that interconnected computers share information, link it together and present it to us.

Berners-Lee is British and along with his many technical hours he was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Tim changed the world dramatically and has gained a place in tech history. Tim Berners-Lee's birthday is June 8th so we thought we'd take a look at how you can tell your kids about him.

"This is for Everyone"
Interesting Fact: Sir Tim was involved in the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics, hosted in London, England. He tweeted the message "This is for everyone." - a message about the World Wide Web and the need to keep it open for future generations.

Kids today grow up knowing they can 'just google it' and understand the concept of clickable links as soon as they can read, or even earlier. When I talk about how I used to have to visit the library to find things out it has the same effect on my kids as my Dad's stories of walking miles through the snow to get to school had on me at their age! It's hard for them to even imagine a world where you didn't have instant access to information.

Berners-Lee has long had an Answers for Young People web page that answers questions that children may have about him and his invention. That's a good place to start for older kids.

There are also several children's books that feature Sir Tim as a famous inventor.

For younger kids I'm pleased to see that Berners-Lee features in a new Cat in the Hat Learner's Library book, I wish that one had been available when my kids were learning to read, they did have others in the series.

For independent early readers there's a a History Heroes biography about Tim Berners-Lee. A good choice for kids who enjoy non-fiction and a good opportunity to fill them in on some important tech history.
For older kids there's an Inspirational Lives book about Sir Tim which is packed with information about his life. It also has pictures and fun facts to appeal to a young audience.

For a kid-friendly video, try the following animation (I'd already written the bit about my Dad's stories of walking to school in the snow before I watched this!)

Teens might be interested in Sir Tim's own version of how he came to invent the World-Wide Web. He really does a great job of conveying what it was like to be a geek kid of his era.  

There's lots more info about Sir Tim on Wikipedia for those interested in the details. 

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