December 11, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Silicon Valley (DVD)

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Silicon Valley (American Experience Series). DVD. 90 min. Prod. by WGBH Educational Foundation. Dist. by PBS Dist. 2013. ISBN 978-1-60883-836-3. $24.99.
Gr 9 Up–The post-World War II era was a dynamic one in all aspects of American life, but perhaps none more so than in the fledgling technology that was impacting both our personal and economic realms. Just as our country’s creativity helped develop innovations to win the war, it continued to thrive, especially in electronics, space exploration, and computerization after the war. After the shock of Russia’s launch of the first Earth satellite, national energy became focused on pushing our domestic research even more. Farmland in the Santa Clara Valley outside San Francisco became ground zero for a number of emerging and expanding companies. This well-crafted program details the manner in which this growth occurred by focusing on Robert Noyce, a young physicist who surrounded himself with dynamic businessmen and creative scientists to light the fire of the electronic explosion that established America as the world’s leader in innovation. Particularly interesting is the manner in which these businesses adopted their unique sense of corporate culture in which creativity rather than traditional business convention was paramount. The producers utilize an incredible variety of vintage photographs and live-action footage, interviews with those who played roles in the movement, as well as commentary by historians to help viewers place the quick-paced revolution into perspective. Chapter/scene selection and English-language subtitles are optional. This stellar program will be quite useful in a number of classroom settings as well as for individual research or casual viewing, especially by those with a curiosity about how today’s technology revolution actually began.–Dwain Thomas, formerly of Lake Park High School, Roselle, IL

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