I am a retired teacher of Computing and ICT. I started in the late 60s with C&G319 assembler and moved on via FORTRAN 4, IBM 1130 BASIC with input via pre-punched cards and error messages in Portugese. Students had to know the hole codes and remove chads with the tip of a biro after writing the characters with a pen along the top of the card. After school I took the piles of cards to Southampton Technical College and processed them on the 1130 (8K of magnetic core storage!) Later I moved to Cambridgeshire and we used a Data General computer at CCAT with communication via a teletype, very large 300 baud modem and papertape.
I then got a PET and linked it up to the teletype and employed a secretary to type the students' programs from coding sheets. This was in the 70s. Our next move was to a small set of Ohio Scientific Super boards and an early Epson dot-matrix printer. At this time I was teaching programming to most of the students at age 14. We even at a CSE examination which mixed Maths and Programming called "BASIC mathematics" and another called "Computer Programming."
When the BBC Micro came out I joined the training team in Cambridgeshire and helped train teachers in its use.
In 1984 I moved to Leicestershire and was the first in the county to have a BBC micro with a disc drive. I was teaching 'A' level and Computing and and lower level programming full time. This was the 'best' period of my teaching of programming. I had keen and able students and we were making great use of the input/output features of the Beeb. Controlling devices by voice commands and getting artificial speech output. After the BBCs we moved onto ATARI STs with the chance to program great games and simulations with the improved graphics.
With the introduction of Networked PCs out went programming in came MS Office for all. The Students lost interest as they were all forced to follow a CLAIT course (Word, XL, Publisher, Access) with the bare minimum of time. It was very examination focused and no spare time for interesting things such as programming and control.
I was still able to teach 16-19 year olds GNVQ ICT but starting programming at 16 from nothing was hard for many of them. Most students enjoyed using VB6 and macros in XL and loved the hardware module when they were took PCs apart and added to/upgraded them. (This was later dropped because of the difficulty in finding teachers who could understand the requirements.)
The final straw was when it was decided to stop ICT teachers teaching ICT. The legal requirement was split up and was to be an 'covered' within other subject areas. (Very little extra training provided and mainly ignored.)
I've recently bought an Arduino and have been having great fun with breadboard, soldering-iron and and getting the things to work with cut down C.
I am so pleased with this project and hope that many more younger students (and teachers) will be able to gain access to the world of programming. Getting the teachers trained to use a different OS will be very difficult. The package supplied will need to connect-up, plug-in and go. Good documentation will be essential as well as local helpers willing to offer advice and help. We have to bring back the FUN.
[Edit: mod edit to improve readability - our forum software doesn't automatically add paragraph breaks between paragraphs