The public has been offered a privilege to examine an archive that motivated a generation of coders after the release of computing history. The Computer Literacy Project saw the introduction of the BBC as well as other programs which familiarized viewers with computing principles.
The computing history comprised interviews with big innovators such as Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak. It is the hope of BBC that the 1980s archive will inspire today’s youngsters to engage more in computing. The release of the archive enables viewers to search all the programmes of the project.
It will also be possible for viewers to watch any of the 267 programmes and explore the topics on the basis of the topic or text search. They will also have an opportunity to run all the 166 micro programmes of the BBC that were used on-screen. Most importantly, viewers will discover the history of the Computer Literacy Project.
BBC’s chief technology and product officer, Matthew Postgate, says that the archive provides an intriguing and nostalgic insight on significant milestones in the computing history. He adds that even though the hardware has changed, the principles still apply making it an exceptional teaching and learning resource that will motivate the new generation of computer users.
In a bid to get more people to coding, the BBC had in 2016 launched a mini-computer micro bit to about one million school children in the UK. The project drew motivation from the launching of the BBC Micro four decades ago.
Computer historians view the machine as a bridge between the earliest home computers and the PCs that appeared in the 1990s. After its introduction in the market almost 60% and 85% of primary schools and secondary schools respectively adopted it.
The additional ten-part TV series was set to be broadcast in January 1982 but faced delays for close to a month because of the high demand to buy the Micro. Prof Steve Furber who is the principal designer of the BBC Micro says that it is crucial for the current generation that has grown up with all-pervasive technology to realize that this has not always been the case.
Prof Furber adds that the 1980s saw the development of computers from the machine rooms where it was controlled by a few people in white coats to enhance accessibility in homes and schools. The BBC Micro enabled access to a computer and also provided easy access into the inner workings; a concept that has lost meaning in the present sophisticated technology.