shirro
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Re: Girls and computers

Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:12 am

Girls and Computers by Rebecca Murphey

and Hacker News comments

An experience not unlike many people here I imagine. I am going to buy a Pi for my nieces as soon as someone will sell me one.

SeanD
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Re: Girls and computers

Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:29 am

As you say likely a story that is similar to some of the people here.

A very well written article and if it was not for the fact that she calls hit out that could have been written by a he.  As I said on the other thread on the subject of gender in computing the only differences are created by prejudice on behalf of those around kids not buy kids themselves.  Being an inquisitive 5 year old in 1982 was all you had to be if you could get access to the technology which is what the RPi is all about.

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SN
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Re: Girls and computers

Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:39 am

Its funny when you look back how you got hooked into this whole thing.

When I was in my 3rd year at Secondary School early 1979, something, and I'm damned if I can remember exactly what triggered it, when picking my O-Level Options for the next two years, I picked Computer Studies alongside Technical Drawing – up to that point I wanted to be a Draughtsman.  I think it was one the first years our Secondary School had laid on Computer Studies as an O-Level Subject and the teacher, well actually primarily he was a PE Teacher, had some kind of interest/training in Computers.

And off we went in September 1979 on the School Bus to the local Council Computer Department to see a REAL COMPUTER – big clunky Orange Mainframes with lots of winky lights and spinning reel-to-real tapes.  Marvellous!  And then we had a trip to the local College to see their REAL COMPUTERS – this was the place were we sent our CESIL (good god does anyone remember that language) coding sheets – there were a few teletypes and one, just one VDU (another barely used term), and I got lucky to have a go on the VDU!

By the winter of 1980 I think we had a couple of TRS80's at school on which most kids did their course work, but my dad had had a word with the people who worked in the building next door to where he worked – looking back it was some kind of data processing shop.

And so I was sneaked in one evening a week, to sit in the semi-darkness at a glowing green screen and type in and run my four BASIC programs for my course work.  And so I got my Grade A at O-Level Computer Studies and that might have been it as our school had no A-Level Computer Studies Course.  But in November 1981 my dad shelled out the princely sum of £70 for a ZX81, and as they say, the rest is history…

Footnote: Go to http://www.obelisk.demon.co.uk/cesil/ for an accurate description of how I first coded at school - I did the whole coding sheet, send it away, and browse your output the next week thing
Steve N – binatone mk4->intellivision->zx81->spectrum->cbm64->cpc6128->520stfm->pc->raspi ?

JonB
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Re: Girls and computers

Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:04 am

CESIL, yeah I remember it, what a laugh. 14 instruction set machine language with high level input / print instructions. Ran on ICL mainframes. Like you, I did the local authority "Trip to the Mainframe"; gods, it was cold in there. I remember the operator had a thick wooly jumper on. It seemed really cool that he was sat in front of a terminal but it hadn't dawned on me that he really only swapped the disks out of the washing machine drives on demand; not sure if he did anything else. Would have bored me stupid.

Coding sheets sent to the local 6th form to be typed into a teletype machine and ran as a batch job; turnaround 7 days. Taught you to get it right, to think about the algorithm before hacking. Not something you'll get across to today's youngsters as it is all instant gratification.

Gosh, I'm sounding real old now!

Now to the topic - I haven't read the article but my girls (9 and 11) are very interested in the Pi and programming it. I tried to introduce them to BBC BASIC and Spectrum BASIC, but they have not really been that interested to persevere. Thay have a Fignition (FORTH SBC) which they've typed some stuff into, but it is largely not used now. Will the Pi capture their imagination? I doubt it, but I hope so.

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meltwater
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Re: Girls and computers

Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:25 am

The RPi probably has a harder job than the spectrum did, since there is a lot more out there which competes for attention.  Fingers crossed they will get hooked though.
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[email protected]
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Re: Girls and computers

Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:41 am

JonB said:


Now to the topic - I haven't read the article but my girls (9 and 11) are very interested in the Pi and programming it. I tried to introduce them to BBC BASIC and Spectrum BASIC, but they have not really been that interested to persevere. Thay have a Fignition (FORTH SBC) which they've typed some stuff into, but it is largely not used now. Will the Pi capture their imagination? I doubt it, but I hope so.



How about a BASIC with Turtle Graphics?

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tech_monkey
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Re: Girls and computers

Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:33 pm

I remember those punch cards. Also remember at technical college they had a manual version. Looked like a metal spike with a handle. So you could code literary by hand. It was for a CNC milling machine. By my second year it was obsolete, it had a new shiny box where the card reader once was. You just downloaded the program into the box. Stick your oasis block (green stuff used in flower shops) on the plate and fingers crossed watched as green bits flew off and produced your design.
http://www.casatech.eu

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