Computers Appear in Schools


A few pioneering teachers had begun experimenting with early computers like the Commodore PET (right) in the late 1970s.

But at government level it was clear that the new technology was going to be important and moves were in place to get computers into all classrooms. 

The first initiative was a half-price offer in which the Department for Transport and Industry (DTI) paid half if the school could raise the other half.

I was teaching in a Primary School (5 - 11 years) in Peterborough, UK, at the time and, as a result of the initiative we received one BBC computer, complete with tape recorder and three boxes of casstette tapes, exactly like the one in the picture below. In our school, it was shared between 500 children so we mounted it on a trolley and each class had it for one week each term! But it was a start.

Children using their new BBC Model B computer in a school near Morpeth in 1983
(this photo is placed temporarily, awaiting permission)

£300 million
By the late 1980s, the UK government had poured over £300 million into several initiatives designed to develop computer use in schools. It was an amazing decade and it culminated in the creation of the National Curriculum in 1989.

The next section is Part 2 - Computers in Education, so do read on . . 

Next: Part 2: computers in Education


© Brian Smith 2015