Magazine article Technology & Learning

Back Where We Started

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Back Where We Started

Article excerpt

In September 1980, Tech & Learning first began its publishing life as Classroom Computer News. Looking back to 35 years ago, we have to marvel at the changes we've seen and ask, where did it all begin? The first issue included the following news bites:

* The expected purchase of 600 Bell & Howell microcomputers during the 1980-1981 school year for Gulf Texas Multiregional Processing Center.

* A graduate program in computers and education started at Lesley College that included courses in hardware, programming, and curriculum development.

* Apple's plan to offer common stock. At that point it had annual sales of approximately $175 million.

In 1981, computers in schools were mostly Commodore Pets, Apples, Ti99s, Ataris, and TRS80s (aka Trash 80s). There were computing machines that allowed you to do arithmetic, program them to count, put your name on the screen, and more--if you knew basic code to make it happen.

David Warlick (page 28) points out the lack of software for learning. He says, "Apparently, it was believed that the green glow from those cathode ray tubes, washing over our children's faces, would make them smarter." He thanks his algebra teachers for the ability to understand how to program the microcomputers so he could create programs.

It would take a year or so until Radio Shack offered free classes to any educator interested in programming. Beyond that, making computer use universal was unheard of. Eventually, Radio Shack produced Scripsit, the first word processor with upper and lower ease letters. By 1984 it had two networks that together would daisy-chain the machines together to load the program. With Scripsit, students could write, edit, and print their compositions. Imagine!

Companies then started developing educational software. …

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