Where Do We Put Computers?

Back in 1989, when the National Curriculum was created, the PC was only nine years old, and you controlled computers by using the keyboard to make choices from menus. 

Apple Macintosh Desktop

In fairness, Xerox had invented the “Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pointer” interface in the 1970s and Apple had implemented it by 1984 (see right) but computers in homes, schools and offices still had no mouse. They were still very new and it was open to debate whether they should be included as a compulsory school subject or not. 

However, those in the know, were aware that that computers were going to be significant in the modern world and that they should be included in the new National Curriculum. But where to put them?

Is it a new subject or part of an old one?
The decision was whether computers were a completely new subject or part of an existing one. And you’ll realise just how new it all was when you see that they were placed inside the subject Design and Technology. They formed “Attainment Target 5”, the other four being Planning, Designing, Making and Evaluating.

There’s one more thing to note. It was not called “The Study of Computers” or “Computing”, it was called “The Use of Information Technology” and became known as “IT Capability".

Years later, when the importance of computers had become obvious to everyone, they were still, legally, part of Design and Technology because it would have taken an Act of Parliament to change it.

Next page: IT Capability

© Brian Smith 2015