Recently I found a friend on FaceBook that I made whilst at primary school and haven't spoken to for over 20 years! Whilst catching up on old times, we started to reminisce to back to when we were little (for anyone who has ever actually met the 6’ me, may find it hard to believe I was once actually ‘’little’’!)
Both of us have very fond memories of Astley C of E Primary School where we both started on the same day in 1984 as wide eyed, frightened 4 year olds. But within days we loved the place and had made firm friends with each other. Check out the website and you will see the building I spent my first few years of education, dating back to the late 1800’s.
Apart from the first friends I made and lunch times spent running through the fields that backed out onto a farm with,at the time, what I thought to be the biggest cows in the history of cows, one of the poignant memories for me was the day the school got its first computer to put into Classroom 3 (that was the top class) for the pupils to use. And on that computer was MSWLogo. Or as I remember it, ‘’Turtle’’. Originally developed by Seymour Papert and Wally Feurzeig, this is a programme to allow children to write and create graphics, anything from a standard box, a picture of a basic chair or patterns.
With simple instructions typed into the programme such as Forward 100, Right 90, Forward 100, Right 90, Forward 100, Right 90, Forward 100, Right 90, before you know it you have a square! Being able to develop further meant more complex drawings using very simple programming. Back then, this was very new to us as well as exciting. We were using a computer to give commands to and there before us, a square appeared.
But that was 25 years ago (ok so i have now just given away my age) and technology has come along leaps and bounds since the days I sat in front of the one and only computer my primary school had to have my turn at creating my square. With software such as Kodu, children now have technology literally at their finger tips and gone are the days of creating a simple square to creating actual games still using simple instructions.
And it doesn't stop there. Technology is growing and expanding all the time, continuously allowing students to interact, think outside of the box (or in my case, a square) and create such things 25 years ago, people only dreamt of. With Kinect for Windows SDK now on it’s way, the possibilities are seemingly endless, especially where learning and education are concerned.
At 3.30pm, the old school bell used to ring marking the end of the day. We would all run down the long driveway to our parents at the old iron gate waiting to take us home for tea and being asked, ‘’So what did you learn at school today?’’
I wonder what today’ student would say?
Great blog Ellie. I was a middle school head then, and at our school a keen teacher and a group of parents were doing exciting things with the kids using logo. For a while then computing in school was all about programming, and Kodu particularly offers today's kids that same excitement brought up to date. Gerald.