On Thursday, 13 June, we arrived at William Howard School, Cumbria with an array of historical hardware from the 1970s, through to present day, by giving students hands on access to these machines, we were able to offer them a working timeline of the evolution of technology over the last 5 decades and tell the story of how the UK adopted this new technology.
Some of the students that had took part in the Oxford Coding Challenge earlier in the year, were keen to spend the morning getting to grips with 1980s coding on 8-bit technology from the era, tackling problem solving challenges.
And our Head of Design Technology nearly exploded when she saw the C5. So next year we’re kidnapping the whole Show for two days.
I contacted Gary via Twitter with the full expectation that he would not be interested in travelling so far north to us. The usual response to our request for visits is that we are so close to the Scots border that the journey is not cost-effective. Often people send us posters and their best wishes.
The students were surprised that we had thought these machines were ‘state of the art’ but took to the challenge of working out what to do – and came up with some truly amazing comments. We discussed the quality of graphics in a game – versus the game play itself. We talked about the importance of the interface.
If we look back at the computing curriculum of the 1980s when the BBC Micro was in use, the the core foundation of the subject was computational thinking and since the introduction of the new computing curriculum from 2014, then we now see things getting back to this ethos.
On the day the range of kit for the students to see was amazing and led to a range of teachers’ personal reminiscences and tales of derring-do from years past.
S. Angland (M.Ed, Head of IT), William Howard School, Brampton, Cumbria