Monday, 26 January 2009

Back to Mac

Aah, the joys of viral marketing. Courtesy of the Viral Video Chart I've been reminded of the first time Steve Jobs showed off a Mac, back in 1984.

I was still in school, and within a year or so Berkhamsted had invested in what I believe was the first IT suite in a school.

What were we using? Why, the first Apple Macs, that's what. At home, my parents had invested in a Sinclair ZX80, a ZX81 (they were renting a property to a couple involved in selling them, so I got to see the first generation of home PCs up close long before they made it to market), and then later a Sinclair Spectrum. Finally, I ended up with a BBC B computer, which was a fantastic piece of kit.

Looking back, it's incredible how far we've come in 25 years. I remember having to load up games by playing a cassette tape into the computer. A series of painful squawks and screeches somehow got transformed into games and other applications. 

The total memory of these machines was no more than 16Mb (for the ZX81) and when the Spectrum was released with 256Mb of memory people wondered what anyone could possible want with that amount of memory.

Even back then the sight of a floppy disc pulled from Steve's pocket is enough to make people in the video ooh and aah. 

The pace of technological advancement is progressing at such a pace that it's hard for those of us in education to know where to deploy relevant systems that will deliver measurable benefits to students, parents and our colleagues.

With that in mind, I will be starting an MA in Online and Distance Education at the Open University next week. My first module is entitled Technology Enhanced Learning - Practices and Debates. It's going to look at precisely this sort of question. 

I'm looking forward to learning more, engaging with other practitioners, and sharing my thoughts. I'll keep you posted. 

P.S. After a quarter of a century I'm still a Mac Boy. Old habits die hard.