How did I learn about ICT in school?
In primary, that’ll be “not at all”… nada, nowt, nothing, zero. Then again, I went to secondary in 1983, and the idea of home computing was only just emerging with the advent of the ZX80 and 81, and then the ZX Spectrum (see also Commodore’s Vic 20, and then 64), all of which bringing us nicely up to, you guessed it, 1983. These machines did indeed change the face of computing/ICT for myself and a good portion of my friends. But, usually not in the ways respective parents felt they might… out went BASIC programming and in came vast swathes of games, quickly filling C90s. While record companies shouted “home taping is killing music” we stopped taping music and went straight into taping games.
Nevertheless, secondary brought us into contact with the BBC B and some more BASIC programming. Yet, the joys of infinitely looping your name and very slowly programming what was yet to become the mighty Snake became secondary to those guilty pleasures of pirating games and feeling like the Dandy Highwayman Adam Ant sang about the year or so before.
What does this tell you about my ICT learning at school? Well, pretty much all that happened… it didn’t. The hallowed hall of BBC-Bs was a small room with maybe six or eight machines. Classes of 30+ were let loose from time to time, but with a vexed teacher and a list of instructions that were sure to fail through rigid complexity and complex rigidity. All my/our other access to computers was far more interesting, compelling and exciting, but lacked any teaching. We learned, however, everything from fine motor skills to reproduction and forgery; early tape-to-tape recording to brief codes that broke or replaced security; and, unlikely as it may sound, a sense of morality that remains to this day.