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Education Networking Hardware News

Looking Back From the 1980s At Computers In Education 269

xzvf writes "As someone who went to high school in the '80s, this newsletter from 1980 (PDF) is a blast from the past. An interview with Microsoft talks up its BASIC language product and predicts voice control of computers in five years. Advertisements for Compute magazine, which was about to go monthly, and an article about a computer 'network' in Minnesota that connects some fax machine-looking terminal to a central computer over telephone lines. Lots of Atari, TI and RadioShack news too. It's a reminder from 30 years ago that we are still not using technology effectively in education."
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Looking Back From the 1980s At Computers In Education

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 18, 2010 @06:45PM (#31192424)

    Back in the 1980s, we had such a bright outlook for the future of computing.

    It sure hasn't turned out like we expected. Just take our software platforms today, for instance. On one hand, our most popular mobile devices (namely the iPhone and soon the iPad) are extremely locked up and restricted, with the vendor telling you EXACTLY which applications you're allowed to run.

    Otherwise, we end up targeting the web. Sure, the web is good for some things, but back in the '80s we would have laughed at anyone who said that 25 years down the road, we'd be writing serious, million-line applications hosted in a SGML document, with logic written in a scripting language that's worse than Perl.

    Hell, even Mac OS X hasn't evolved much past what NeXTSTEP was in the late 1980s. Windows is only slightly better than it was then. UNIX-like systems are mostly the same. We're even using the same windows system we used back then, and it really hasn't evolved all that much, either.

    Of course, then there's all the DRM shit we have floating around.

    I think we peaked somewhere in the 1970s, when Smalltalk and UNIX became somewhat mature. Then we fucked up, basically disregarded those much better technologies, and ended up in the pig trough that we're in today.

  • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:07PM (#31192668) Homepage

    Every time I'm presented with a formula I'm doing mental tricks plugging in values for X & Y trying to visualize it. Computers could help here.

    then you want the KDE EDU packages, which include about 2 or 3 x/y mathematical graphing applications.

    i just put some kids in front of the kde edu packages when they and their mum came to visit. couldn't get the daughter off my computer: she played with KStars, we looked for constellations; she played with KTurtle, blopping big red lines over the screen; she guessed the capital cities and flags of some nations for about 2 minutes, but her eyes lit up when she saw the chemistry program, because she had been asking her mum for a periodic table chart for ages, to help her with her chemistry lessons.

    the tools are there, but they're by no means "complete". they complement existing science and other educational courses in patchy and sporadic areas, and could do with a lot more. but - that's the thing about free software: people don't know it exists, because there's no money spent on advertising it, because it's free, and the people who wrote it don't charge for it, don't make any money, so don't receive any money to pay for advertising...

  • Re:Ahh voice control (Score:2, Informative)

    by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:25PM (#31192900)
    We have voice control now. It's just annoying, and practically speaking, I don't think current generations want to talk to their computers.
  • by NoMaster ( 142776 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:10PM (#31194592) Homepage Journal

    How to build your own ZX80/ZX81 [btopenworld.com].

    Probably a bit less kit-like than you're after, but eminently doable. Burning the eprom is probably the 'hardest' part; the rest is just painstaking detail. I've been meaning to build one for a few years now but originally work, and now study, keep getting in the way.

  • Re:Effectively? (Score:2, Informative)

    by tauron0 ( 1058438 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @11:16PM (#31195186)

    Yes they had. Wow, education must be getting pretty bad.

  • by jms ( 11418 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:13AM (#31195870)

    Check out the black Bell and Howell branded Apple II on the cover. Apple was having trouble selling Apple IIs to schools, because the computer needed to have an interlock to power it down when you opened the cover to meet purchasing requirements. B&H manufactured a special Apple II with the required power interlock, a black case, black keyboard, a B&H logo in place of the Apple logo, and a B&H sticker on the bottom covering over the Apple sticker. The disk drives were also black.

    There was an optional back attachment that provided a couple of additional power plugs, three line level audio inputs, and I think a video output. There was also a joystick socket on the right side of the case.

    I got one of these because my dad knew a Bell and Howell distributor and bought it from him. Unfortunately mine is missing the space bar. Try and find a black Apple II space bar. Talk about unobtainium!

  • Re:Effectively? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kral_Blbec ( 1201285 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:13AM (#31196092)
    If you are using columns, then you are already far beyond what post people use Word for. Most people I know would just use spaces to line everything up.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford