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Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the dug-song-playing-dirty-tetris-at-high-volume dept.

Education 632

An anonymous reader writes "What was taught to you about computers in High School? Computer use and computer science in schools are regular headlines, but what 'normal' do we compare it to? It's not a shared reference. A special class with Commodore PETs was set up just after I graduated, and I'm only starting to grey. Everybody younger has had progressive levels of exposure. What was 'normal' for our 40-, 30-, and 20-year olds here? And how well did it work for you, and your classmates?" For that matter, what's it like now — if you're in middle or high school now, or know students who are, what's the tech curriculum like?

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In the US? Not so much... (3, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579315)

Summer school, sure...

In the 80s, went to some summer camp after 2nd grade that had some science and tech classes... apart from getting into trouble by sticking a knife into an electrical outlet and playing lots of Spy Hunter (I was like, a god for a day because I made it to the boats level), that was probably my first into to Logo. But we didn't do anything amazing with it.

Somewhere around 6th grade at an International Catholic school in Thailand they gave us a touch typing class. That was genuinely useful, and accounts tracked our progress over the sessions, which was pretty remarkable given that they were green-screen DOS boxes or something crappy and barely networked. Later on in HS in the US, maybe 9th or 10th grade, they threw us in a short one-time "computer lab" with some typing tutor software, but that was crap.

Around 11th grade (1994), we had some CAD work on Macs in tech ed., but that was only because we were in a special Science & Tech magnet program... don't think that would have been the norm at most high schools.

Also, I used to spend my lunch breaks in the library, playing with the nice 3D graphing calculator on MacOS9. But I was, like, the only one, even in a magnet school.

That was pretty much it. Everything else I learned from my own tinkering at home with a Turbo Pascal book, playing with POVRay, and reading my TI-85 calculator user's manual straight through and programming a crappy Galaga clone. I never felt like I had what it takes to become a fully-fledged CS programmer like my friends who were self-taught into doing awesome demoscene assembly, so I ran off and majored in mechanical and aerospace engineering instead. Engineers seem to get bigger computers to play with anyway :P

Re:In the US? Not so much... (4, Funny)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579485)

Clueless PE teacher for me.

"If you install Doom on one of these computers again, I'll have you expelled. You could have infested every computer in here with a virus."

[the computers were not networked]

1979? (3, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579725)

Fortran 77 and UCSD Pascal on DEC PDP-11/70.

Honeywell teletypes.

Re:In the US? Not so much... (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579599)

Around 11th grade (1994), we had some CAD work on Macs in tech ed., but that was only because we were in a special Science & Tech magnet program... don't think that would have been the norm at most high schools.

I was in High School in the late 90's. It was a really good high school, but not a magnet program. As electives, they had two computer science courses for anyone who was interested, which were actually quite excellent, taught by a very good teacher. I'm pretty sure he was the one who pushed the program. He was the math teacher, with a personal interest and experience in programming.

When I was in both classes, we were learning Turbo Pascal. The year after I completed the courses, they switched to C. I remember he had plans of turning it into an AP program for college credit, but I don't think he managed it before I graduated. Considering there definitely was an AP exam for computer science available, I'm sure quite a few schools around the country offered it, so I wouldn't say the situation in the US was that bad...

1980s equivalent (1)

Narrowband (2602733) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579723)

Mine was good for a high school AP comp sci class in the 80s. We had a lab of IBM PC/2s, linked by Ethernet, but no Internet.

Subject matter was taught in Pascal: searching and sorting algorithms (everything from bubble to various trees to radix), data structures (arrays but then progressing to linked lists, trees, balanced trees... probably hit peak at sparse matrices.) All in all, a really good program, mainly because we had a good teacher who knew his stuff. It set me up pretty well for a CS degree in college.

Re:In the US? Not so much... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579805)

Pretty much the same for me. Our college (NZ schools, 3rd form to 7th form) had 2 computer labs. One had Apple IIs and was almost the computer museum. We learnt LOGO there. There were also some 8" floppy drives and an ancient hard drive drum for them to show us how storage worked. In 4th form, we got about a dozen Commodore Amigas and were taught some word processing, and BASIC programming. I had to show the teacher how to format the floppy disks used to store our data.
That was it for school. Meanwhile, my father bought a ZX81, and I was hooked at home. We then later got both a commodore 128 and a ZX Spectrum. Both were pulled apart and tinkered with before departing to the Central Insitute of Technology where I studied Software Engineering for three years to earn a diploma. I was the only one in my family not to go to university!

Clueless Algebra Teacher Controlled the Lab (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579325)

To even be able to touch the TRS-80s in the computer lab, you had to have at least a C average in Algebra.

Re:Clueless Algebra Teacher Controlled the Lab (2)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579655)

On balance, the internet would be a better place.

Re:Clueless Algebra Teacher Controlled the Lab (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579777)

If only elections were run similarly....

What I've learned about computers in High School (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579327)

Huge machines designed to make calculations.

Re:What I've learned about computers in High Schoo (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579441)

Did you ever see it print out that huge picture of Buzz Aldrin on the moon? The noise was very impressive.

For me it was the mid 80's (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579331)

In the mid 80's in Canada we used Icon's, which were QNX terminals. I learned and watched that if somebody watches over the shoulder of the teacher they could get the root password, and copy all of the system files into a local directory thus buggering up the entire network. It buggered things up so badly the teacher that was the admin could not fix it themselves. It was not me, but a guy I was working on the computers with. Me at the time I was using Pet's and writing in Waterloo Basic. I built my first ISAM system with Waterloo Basic.

loading punch cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579333)

In high school, I learned how to load punch cards into the tray and watched the computer 'process' them.

Re:loading punch cards (1)

suso (153703) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579371)

But when was this? If you learned this in the 60s, then obviously that would have been the right time, but if you were learning this in the 80s, then it says quite a different thing about your high school.

Re:loading punch cards (0)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579711)

But when was this? If you learned this in the 60s, then obviously that would have been the right time, but if you were learning this in the 80s, then it says quite a different thing about your high school.

SFH = Sherlock Fucking Holmes

programming (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579335)

in high school (I graduated in '89) as a freshman I was able to take the senior level programming class where we did fortran and cobol via remote sessions to a server at UF. Freshmen thru Juniors had programming in TRS-80 BASIC, which I had been doing for a while already so I was able to pass out of those classes.

Re:programming (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579747)

In summer school during middle school we were introduced to basic on a teletype hooked up to some mainframe. It was good exposure, though taught me little, as a high school freshman we were taught how to break apart a problem into steps and then express them clearly. We did not touch a computer or six weeks, this to me is when I learned to program, we then learned to compile and link in fortan and developed some rudimentary programs. This was followed with some programming in basic on the apple, and some programming for embedded devices,

not much at all (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579341)

There are a couple exceptions, cad and electronics we got to use some old beaters, otherwise what we were thought about computers was that all these brand new powermac's were silly expensive and you are not to touch them, though they made a point to brag about how many they had in the library.

Re:not much at all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579573)

I went to high school in California's beautiful Imperial valley and graduated in the late '90's. Though we had a computer lab, it was used only for shit like typing papers. The only "technical" class we had was called "Technical Exploration" and had a set of "modules" which was a brief lesson in a particular aspect of technology. One Module, for example, featured a robot arm and the user had to type an algorithm which could command it to pick something up. Another module was making a simple page in HTML. Another featured a toy magnetic monorail.

Since we had the class after lunch, I went to them high as fuck most of the time. The teacher was a dimwitted milquetoast of a suckup and one of us would get high in the restroom, then come back and pass the pipe to another, who would go to the restroom, and in half an hour the entire class had asked for restroom breaks one after the other and he never caught on. My friend and I did the A/V module on acid, which was kinda cool. Everybody had to choose a different partner for every module, with the exception of two faggots (seriously, they both were known faggots in the drama program and one of them reeked of perfume) who for some reason were allowed to be partners for every module. We also found a way to cheat during the tests, but the teacher caught on after the whole class started getting 100's on every quiz.

It's worth mentioning that, since it was a chosen elective, there were no females in the class. Now my old high school has a robotics team and all that other cool shit I never had. What a downer.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Great early experience. (2)

suso (153703) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579349)

Honestly the best school/computer experience I had was in Elementary school in the early 80s. It was actually quite early in computer education history for a school to have a computer in every room and computer labs, but our little country school in northern Indiana had them (Apple IIs and Atari 400/800s) and we had a couple sessions each week were we would try different programs and just experience them. They even had us writing short programs as early as 2nd grade. All the computer classes I took after that in high school and at the college level were woefully out of date and had teachers/professors who either didn't know what they were talking about or who were teaching 20 year old technologies. So if you want to compare computer education now to something before, the bar isn't very high as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Great early experience. (3, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579641)

We had a different kind of computer lab. When I was in 2nd grade or so (1992) we had a computer bus. It was a school bus converted to a lab with around 25 apple ]['s on it and would travel to all the elementary schools in the district (district had around 3000 kids total at the time give or take I believe) We would mainly use it to do math games at the time and the greatest days of the school year were when we got to play oragon trail. I got my first dos based system the next year and started learning the ins and outs.

When we hit middleschool (96) they had just done an upgrade to their network running the latest and greatest compaqs loaded with windows 95. non green screens? to most in the school this was unheard of as the majority would have only used the machines in the previously mentioned computer bus up until this point. The only problem with this was that it was new. The teachers had no idea what they were doing there was 1 "computer guy" at the school and no real management other than 3rd party support. Thats where the geeks came in. myself and a few others who were messing around for a few years at this point had more access to the machines than the principal of the school. We were given full access to everything because we were "so smart" because we could install a printer driver or "log in". It was great learning the ins and outs of an entire network as up until this point I had only had my single machine to hold me over.

Than around the time the original imac came out, someone convinced the school to order those to replace our highschools perfectly fine dell network. It turned into a disaster att he time because they only replaced maybe a dozen of the 40 or so machines in the labs. It would not have been too big of a deal but around this point in time they were becoming more strict about who had any access to the network and the new computer people were, well computer people and wanted to do everything their way. A mixed environment, around that period of time was not a pleasent experience, the printer was always out of order and had memory overloads (who thought sending 40 computers work to a printer with 400K of memory at the same time was a good idea, ill never know) Wireless was new technology being touted as the future for everything IP6 was coming to the masses within the next 2 years...10 years ago.

so other than sparking my interest with the apple ][ in 1st or 2nd grade, I along with the other 4 or 5 geeks pretty much taught my teachers about comptuers, not the other way around

we made an html 3 webpages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579353)

And super computers ran at 1ghz

A Computer Essentials class... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579355)

It should have been called Microsoft Essentials. Or rather, Microsoft Word Essentials. All we did was copy things out of a book and print documents. Literally.

I also had a 'computer science' class that focused on programming in Visual Basic where the teacher didn't even know what functions were. "Those are way beyond my level," he said.

In my day... (5, Funny)

pinroot (166809) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579373)

I graduated in 1973. What did I learn about computers there? Nothing at all.

You damn kids get off my lawn...

Re:In my day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579673)

I also graduated in 1973. Several years self-taught in BASIC on a remotely-locate HP time-shared computer.

I was taught (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579375)

-How to make it say hello in Basic once, or use a goto command to make it repeat forever.
-How to hit ctrl+c to make it stop
-How to use basic commands like catalog ("cat", eventually this because "dir"), list, run, save, and print.
-The difference between a KoalaPad [wikipedia.org] and a mouse.
-And eventually how to play Zork and Oregon Trail.

1975 Graduate. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579377)

Old fart, you figure it out from the date. ;-)

We... (3, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579379)

...were taught BASIC and 6502 Assembly.

Machines used: the year before I got into compsci at the highschool - a PDP11
First semester doing compsci: TRS80 model IV machines.
Second semester: we got a bunch of Apple IIe machines, which is how we got the assembly programming done.

Prerequisites were pre-algebra or algebra1 taken concurrently.


High School Now... (4, Interesting)

MisterMonday (2555300) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579393)

I'm currently a junior at high school, and really, the tech curriculum can't even be called that in my opinion. The best, and most in-depth, course at my school is Computer Science A AP (There used to be a B, but that was cancelled). I'm in it right now, and I basically sleep through all the classes. While it's true that for anyone who hasn't at any prior programming experience it's a bit more of a challenge, I only had a bare-bones introduction to C (not even a lot of pointer stuff, I had stop going to classes early), and even the object oriented stuff is not that hard. Granted, it's still early in the year. But in comparison, the rest of the tech curriculum is just Word Processing 101 and Microsoft Office. There's very little in the way of how computers work or how to program (Comp Sci AP is the only programming class). And it's a little depressing when you hear someone in your class say, "Wow, X person built a computer by himself," and you respond, "That's not too hard if he just bought the parts and put it together," and their next line is "But it's really hard. He must have programmed it himself and stuff." I think half the problem today is insufficient technology education in schools, which is why the "Tech Guy" stereotype even exists. And don't even get me started on the terrible security of my school district...

Computers in High School (1)

mferero (516941) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579395)

As a Junior (in 1976), I got to program in BASIC by timesharing into the Dartmouth computers, where BASIC was invented! There was also some lecture on what computers were and could do, but the majority of time was spent in a local college lab programming. Senior year I got to code FORTRAN on punched cards in my Calculus class. Our teacher had a deal with a different local college that allowed us time on their IBM mainframe (maybe a 360 . . .). Actually really enjoyed both experiences, but that did not translate over in College. I became a computer professional after being in the "real world".

Taught plenty (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579401)

Middle School(early 90s): All sorts of stuff with Apple IIes and Power PCs. School bought an Apple QuickTake when it came out, so we did digital graphics design and digital photography
High School(late 90s): Networking, C++, PC and Mac troubleshooting... took every opportunity to learn about computers, and was granted many of them

"What was taught to you about computers in HS?" (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579409)

That electronic computers were huge "electronic brains" used by goverment and a few big companies.

IBM PS/2 model 25 and 30's (2)

dj245 (732906) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579411)

We had IBM model PS/2 model 25's and 30's. They are basically the same machine, but the model 30 was a beige box while the model 25 had an integral monitor. Both had the fantastic model M keyboard.

Above all else, I learned that you need to hire the ferry to cross the river. Fording the river is a fool's game.

AP Computer Science anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579413)

Early 20s here. In High School we had a class called AP Computer Science. We used Java and even used a modern IDE - Eclipse. In retrospect C++ might have been a better language to start with, developing in a linux environment. But hey it was pretty good for public education.

Re: languages for learning (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579597)

Ick, C++ is not a good language to learn with... in all the classes I've taken using C++, we spent more time debugging memory allocation and stack overflows than actually doing what we were supposed to.

Java was/is still pretty crappy, but at least it pretty much behaves as documented, and standard documentation is more readily available.

By all means, learn some C and assembly to help bridge to the low level stuff. But C++ is such a mess. My University would teach the CS curriculum in other languages and then offered a 2-credit C++ elective to dump all the "practical" shit on you if you wanted it... I think that's probably the best way.

typing (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579419)

96-2000. The only computer-related course we had at my high school was a typing class, run by the driving instructor. I think the program we were using must have been an old version of word perfect, because it had the blue background and white text. It always felt horribly outdated there.

Mid-70's (2)

minkie (814488) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579421)

I graduated from a pretty typical suburban NJ high school in 1977. We had an HP 9810 (http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=51), and also a ARS-33 connected to a time-shared BASIC system a few towns away. I got to play with them my junior and senior years. That was my first introduction to any sort of computer. It was, or course, also my first introduction to computer games (hunt the wumpus, lunar landrer, and some kind of Star Trek thing where you got to explore the galaxy and blow up klingons with photon torpedos.

I was also lucky to spend the summer between my last two years of high school at a program run by Stevens Tech, where I was exposed to FORTRAN and PDP-10 assembler (both via punch cards).

Re:Mid-70's (1)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579823)

I went to high school near Hampton, VA. In 1978 we had an acoustic modem and a printer terminal and could hook into the mainframe at NASA Langley. So, we actually had some exposure back then. No classes were built around it though. So, what we learned was completely on our own.

Computers In High School.... (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579431)

I learned to write programs in pascal for my first class.... The next class.... I learned hyper card and director because the teacher was getting ready to retire.

Just the basics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579433)

When I went to highschool (I'm 25 years old) we had macs running Mac OS 8.6 (I think).

We learned how to touch type at around 25 words per minute, how to copy files around, and how to use word processors and spreadsheets (basic SUM() formula usage, etc).

Talking to my niece and other teenagers here in Australia, it sounds like these days they also learn email, browsing the internet/using google to do research, and they also learn basic HTML (really basic, don't even learn CSS), and basic graphic design as well.

I would like to see basic common sense security added to the list (minimum password complexities, logging out when you're done, malware awareness). I dunno, maybe they do teach that.

To me that seems about right. As long as you know enough to use google as part of your studying, and can write a resume and email it to a potential employer, then you've got it all covered. It's nice to see they also dip their toes into a few other areas like HTML and graphic design, just incase the kids take a liking to it and can decide if that is a good career path for them.

'98 grad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579449)

My one and only "computer class" was taught by an effeminate choir teacher.

It was an "independent study" where the students could do "whatever"

I taught myself Java.

I got a 'C' because I missed two classes (for school functions). The kids who played games the whole time got 'As'.

Other than that? Computers were treated like glorified typewriters. Only think taught was typing.


some was taught but future coders were self-taught (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579463)

i was born in 1972, schooled in southern california.
grew up with IBM punchcards all over the house.
in 6th grade we had an apple ][ in the classroom,
but as i recall only as a treat: if you finished work early you could play Prince of Persia.
but even then a very small group of us would hang out in the library after school or at lunch
and teach ourselves basic. there was no concept of teaching us how to program in school.

by the time i reached 12th grade, there was a 'computer literacy' class offered,
i think they taught programming on TRS-80s, but even my friends who were in it
were way beyond what was covered in the class.
by then i was aspiring to be part of the amiga demo scene,
so i did an independent study to teach myself 680x0 assembly.
my teacher did a great job - he knew he had no way to really grade my progress,
so he helped me evaluate it myself. mad props for that.

i'm now a programmer, and pretty much all the core programmers i know
have a similar story - computers were around in high-school,
but really they taught themselves.

it's funny now - i look around facebook and see all these people i know
who had less than zero interest in computers when i knew them in their youth,
and are now product managers or otherwise have 'software' in their title.
i wonder if that sucks for them.

little to nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579467)

There was no "computer use" taught at my school but yet they had a computer programming class 1-3 (python) and Comp Sic. (ap - java).
If anything was needed to be done computer wise by your teachers they told u how, and well lets just say that my history teacher (70+) is amazed by flat TV's even they are considered standard now.
The shocking thing was i took jrotc all 4 years and they had a better curriculum about computer use and computer saftey (not really virus just not giving all your info out)
hell even jrotc had a better english curriculum (not that it helped me much i still suck with spelling and grammar) The years where 2006-2010
In college there is a General computer class, Windows 7 office 2007-2010 internet explorer use, but they started it from the ground up, like as if all students where Amish and where exploring the out side world "ok class today we are gona learn how to use the power button!" some IT guys might be going "my clients need to take this class NOW"
other than that i saw nothing really in the "general" area of computers of high school, then again we had windows 98-2000 and PPC imacs untill 2 years after i graduated

1974, New Zealand (2)

gadfium (318941) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579469)

I don't think we were taught anything about computers in class, but there was a computer programming club. We used PORTRAN, which is a cut-down version of FORTRAN - I think it stands for Port-a-punch FORTRAN. The cards were sent away to a computer a few hundred km away, and a syntax error listing came back by the following week. It wasn't exactly a productive environment, so we competed to see who could get the most different errors in a single program.

8 bit era (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579475)

In elementary school in Connecticut, we had commodore 64s and messed about with logo. The high school's computer lab had Franklin ACE clones. My family had an Apple IIe.

In middle school (in VirginiaI programmed basic on an Atari --might have been an 800, did word processing stuff on Apple IIe s. In High school, we did desktop publishing with a few mac pluses, and a SE. I didn't go to the school with the "supercomputer".

I'm 40, so it's been a while (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579479)

I used an Apple IIe in elementary about 1983-1984 (5th and 6th grades), had IBM compatibles on DOS in middle school (7th and 8th about 1985-1987) then IBM PCs in high school, Windows 2.0, upgraded to 3.0 senior year. I had the win 3.0 floppies (they had so many at school they threw them out) up until a couple years ago. Got 3.0 running on my home XT, but it was dog slow, but then everything was on the XT, except for games tied to the system clock, press "turbo" and 8MHz made all the games unplayable. CGA sucked, they had CGA on all but 2 at school, and EGA on the two "new" compters. Hercules for me at home. Faster, clearer, and any color you want, as long as it's amber.

C and/or Pascal (1)

pyzondar (1234980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579483)

The 2nd and 3rd year of high school, we had about 3 hours a week of computer science. Basically we were given tasks that we could solve in either Pascal or C (which all the cool kids preferred). The mandatory assignments were quite basic, but we were allowed to do our own projects in the time we had left after doing the mandatory stuff. So a couple of us made a multiplayer 2d space shooter, quite a fun project.

All in all it was my favorite class. But I did go the science/electro program, '99 graduate in Sweden.

Quake (1)

ultimajji (1485655) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579491)

I was a student of a hungarian high school, we didn't learn anything about computers, we played Quake on LAN once a week.

Re:Quake (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579537)

Quake and CS, with a handy alt-tab when the teacher started his walk around class

computer club formed in 1978 (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579509)

With chemistry / physics teacher we formed a computer club, sold things & bought a TRS-80. I used it to do Z-80 assemby language programming. Things I learned then have served me to this day. Not until about 10 years later did the school buy machines and have a formal computer class.

My first year of university was the last year students were still using punched cards on a Burroughs mainframe, 1982-1983. The next year they had replaced it with a Honeywell system that had CRT terminals, and we science and engineering students could use an IBM PC XT. I did many numericla methods solutions with Turbo Pascal.

One of the first CS classes in high school (1)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579513)

In 1979, I entered an experimental new class in a Houston high school that taught BASIC programming. No Commodore PETs for us (although I saved up my McPay and bought one of my own); we could only afford a big teletype terminal and a paper tape machine so we could save our programs on spools of punched tape.

In 1980, before I could complete that class, my family moved to a very small town in the innards of Deep East Texas where I was literally the only person in town with a computer of any kind. The student advisor finally decided that a statistics class was the closest thing she could get me into that was kind of like computer programming. I actually won the science fair with a cheap-assed video game I wrote that let you fire missiles at approaching targets. Hey, when all you've got to work with is 8K you don't write Space Invaders!

Re:One of the first CS classes in high school (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579735)

my family moved to a very small town in the innards of Deep East Texas where I was literally the only person in town with a computer of any kind.


Underwood typewriters (2)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579519)

Computers were unheard-of in school in the mid-70's, at least in the small town where I grew up, but I did take Typing Class where I learned what I believe is the single most valuable skill that school taught me: how to type properly.

When I took Typing Class I was the only boy in a class of about 20-odd girls. I wanted to learn how to type because I thought it would be a useful skill but, frankly, the idea of typing on a computer never actually crossed my mind. I learned to type on a big Underwood manual typewriter. Toward the end of the class that I was in, the school got one electric typewriter, which was apparently a new technology at the time. It was a special reward to be allowed to use the electric typewriter in Typing Class.

In addition to how to type, a skill that I've used every day of my life, Typing Class also taught me a number of other useful things, like how to correctly fold a letter to fit it into an envelope (which a surprising number of people don't know how to do), and how to do basic filing and the like, all of which have come in handy since I have my own small business and need to be able to do things like that.

As for computers, I learned that on my own. I knew some guys that had Apple computers, and I purchased a Commodore 64 of my own in 1982 since it was much cheaper than an Apple II. My thought at that time was that I would buy a C64 and see if I liked having a computer and if so, I would buy a "good one", i.e. an Apple II, afterward. Once I discovered the capabilities of the Commodore 64, I never did buy that Apple. My next purchase after that was a Commodore 128, followed by an Amiga, followed by a series of MS-DOS machines, and today I have several desktops and laptops, all of which run on Linux.

Re:Underwood typewriters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579717)

A close parallel to my story except I bought the Atari 800 to start, worked my way up through the Atari line, to MS DOS then Windows computers and finally landed on Planet Linux.

All we had were IBM... (4, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579521)

.....Selectric typewriters. (Class of 1978 represent!)

I'd tell you to get off my lawn, but it went underwater when Pangea split up.

Hehehe (1)

antant007 (1702214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579527)

I'm graduating this year and so far I've taken ap comp sci (more or less Java with a touch on algorithms) and a computer and network technology course taught by a guy with a unix beard. I'm very lucky to go to the school I do, it's a public non-charter school but it's in a fairly affluent area and we're one of the top schools in my state.

I did the teaching (1)

klaiber (117439) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579533)

Showing my age here, but when I was in high school, I did the teaching. Mostly to fellow students, but I did have two of the math & physics teachers in my "class" off and on. I taught Pascal on an Apple II. A little later, the high school down the road from mine actually set up proper programming classes (teaching Basic on Commodore computers). A bunch of work colleagues who are about my own age had similar experiences -- few high schools were set up to teach anything about computers at the time, so the nerds amongst us got to see the "other side" of teaching.

My experience (1)

Niris (1443675) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579543)

Well, I'm currently 24 so it's been a couple years, but for my junior and senior year I was able to attend a magnet school part time called CART [cart.org] .
During my junior year I took the Cisco networking course, then for my senior year I took the computer science class that went over programming in Java. We didn't do anything too in depth, but it was enough to get me interested in computer science, and now I'm almost done with my bachelor's degree. At the regular school I would have been restricted to our Office course.

Nothing (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579553)

I don't think computers were ever mentioned when i was at secondary school (in Britain) in the early 70s.

My first contact with computers was at tech college in about 77, where i learnt a little bit of (i think) BASIC programming - using paper tape and a teletype, dialling in to the local university's mainframe.

At my high school in the mid 80's (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579557)

We had a classroom full of Commodore PET 4032s, and another class with Commodore 64s. We learned programming using Waterloo Structured BASIC on the PETs and COMAL on the C64s. My last year there the school got a few ICON [wikipedia.org] computers which ran QNX and came with a bunch of programming languages, and that's when I taught myself C. I've loved C ever since.

Old PCs and Pascal (1)

ndykman (659315) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579565)

Basically, I was lucky. Introduction to programming and AP computing science on IBM PCjrs with Turbo Pascal. It was great start.

Late 80's to early 90's (1)

Little Brother (122447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579567)

I started Elementary school in the late eighties. I went to a university laboratory school, so we had a bit better technology than some of the surrounding schools. We had a computer lab with multiple Apple II e systems, and an Apple II GS. Each classroom had Apple II e systems as well, but not enough for the whole class. During my fifth grade year, the school purchased several Pentium I computers which were slowly deployed, starting with the lowest grades, and working their way up, much to the annoyance of the fifth and sixth graders. Only one of these computers made it into my classroom, and it was for the teacher's station. The teacher's station had the computer, a laserdisk player, and a large CRT television that could display from either the computer or the laserdisk.

I remember some of the lessons about the technology itself, but mostly we used the technology for educational games, number munchers, Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, Carmen Sandiago, etc. I remember learning about floppy disks while they were still floppy, and thinking that the 3.5 floppies were what people were talking about when they said "hard disk" until my brothers (older) corrected me. I remember being told to always touch something metal before touching a computer, to ground myself.

Middle school it was completely back to Apple II E computers. I took a "programming" class, and was quite disapointed that all I learned was Apple II e BASIC, and nothing more complicated than simple arathmatic and printing out a block graphic we first drew on graph paper, then wrote the code on paper, then typed the code in. It was boring as hell.

My high school had pentium class computers in each classroom, although often just one. There were still some 386 computers in the hall outside the language arts (English) wing that were used for word processing only. I was in yearbook, and I was the most tech savvy person there, and I networked the OS 8 macs together (localtalk) and later oversaw the conversion of files when the yearbook upgraded from OS 8 with Adulus Pagemaker to Pentium class computers with Adobe Pagemaker.

LIke many here I imagine, I learned most of what I learned about computers at home, not at school, but there was technology instruction at my schools, even if it was fairly rudimentary.

To each his own. (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579569)

We were supposed to learn how to make folders and type in word.

I learned that it was a lot of fun to delete/rename my classmates documents once they saved them. It was so fun when they panicked when all their 'work' vanished as soon as they were done with it. (0 security on the network)

Elementry thru High School (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579571)

We were taught how to type and follow directions to go onto a web page. Though by junior high it was assumed to knew what the heck we were doing and over 90% did, I was one of the few who still didn't and we had to rely on the people next to us to get anything done. This didn't apply so much during high school as everyone knew the basics of navigating the internet and word by than.

Thats the extent they taught most people. I took some computer classes such as digital drawing which taught adobe illustrator than a computer class which should have taught us hardware but instead since a lot of people didn't know anything besides me and about 4 other people in the class I ended up playing Doom II and Counter Strike a lot.

So yeah k-12 doesn't teach much in terms of computer use. You are kind of expected to learn on your own even in computer courses it seems as there are too many people who don't know anything so the classes go at a very slow pace.

And for reference I am in my mid 20's.

Graduated HS in 1991 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579581)

When I was in grade school we had Apple II's and Texas Instruments 99/4A's. In Junior High we had TRS-80s, and in High School we had Apple IIGS's and IBM PC's. We started programming BASIC in grade school (well, BASIC and LOGO), continued in junior high, and by high school we were doing Turbo Pascal. In college I learned assembly language for the first time, and learned all the languages that I used for my first job (C/C++, COBOL, assembler, etc.)

I'm actually teaching a group of junior high kids right now, and we're using BASIC. BASIC is great as an introductory language. You can chop everything up into little digestible units. We'll probably eventually move on to something more modern, like javascript, but I wanted to get the concepts across before dealing with a language with a lot of ceremony, and BASIC has almost no ceremony.

Geezer Speaking (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579583)

I was in High School in the 80s, and I don't remember learning much other than typing. However, one thing I do remember learning is to be comfortable with computers so that later, in college, I soaked up every computer class I could before dropping out because I was offered a job that paid better than what I could expect upon graduation.

I'm still in that job, and am still comfortable with computers.

30 years old this year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579585)

We had 2 IIe's for most of the time. When I hit highschool. They only had a typing class.

From the "Get off my Lawn" Crowd (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579591)

I graduated from HS in 1971. In those ancient times, most people knew computers as big machines with lots of blinking lights that were subject to paranoia [youtube.com] and megalomania [youtube.com] . So no high-school classes in computing!

Fahrenheit to Celcius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579603)

and almost failed to doing animation instead

Texas Public school here. (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579605)

My school had a basic keyboarding class where they tried to get students to learn how to type, despite being a rather skilled typist. I just couldn't make myself sit down and type rows of nonsense or do daily exercises, I only ever did just enough to pass and that was it. In that class they also taught you the very basics, like this is a monitor, this is the tower etc. This was a requirement for graduation and everyone had to take it and pass.

My school also had several elective classes, with computers an A+ class, where at the end you were expected to take the A+ exam and pass it. A CCNA class that was two years, or four semester in total of study. Though you weren't expected to take the exam at the end. We also had the 'network repair' class where students basically worked on the schools network and computers. The A+ class was a requirement for this class.

I learned a lot about computers while I was in highschool, I took the A+ class and it was mostly a breeze for me as I knew just about everything prior to the class, but I did learn a bit of book learning that you typically don't run into just working on computers. I also tried to take the CCNA classes but I couldn't get enough interest to actually form the classes, so I took the Network Repair class instead and during the class I did CCNA work and during my A+ classes I did repair work. All in all my schools education on computers was fantastic for anyone who was interested.

That said the class sizes were relatively small and made up typically of most people you expected how ever we had a few outliers here and there. Talking to other people here in Texas though my school was the exception rather than the rule when it came to computer education though.

Nothing. (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579645)

I'm 22, from Australia.

In school we used computers for everyday stuff: documents, presentations research, etc. But from what I can remember we were never taught anything about them at all.

Ah, yes, the high school HP 2114A Mini computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579669)

I learned that computers had memory made of little loops of ferrite, BASIC was loaded from a paper tape, you took your computer cards home and marked your program on them with a pencil (My dad had the wood shop at work make a special box for my computer cards. I still have it on the shelf beside me.) and, what was even more amazing, plain high school students could call Hewlett Packard and ask for more information about the 2114A mini computer and get a thick book with the complete schematics, and sections on how to program in assembly code (which you could translate into machine code yourself), Fortran and BASIC. God, I wish I still had that book. Of course, now my watch has more capacity and runs faster code than the old 2114A but did we ever have fun with that machine. I wrote tiny heuristic programs that would plain tiny games starting with just the rules and go on to beat the human players after they had learned how the human player moved.

(The school never let us try running any of the machine code programs we wrote. They were afraid we would damage the machine. So, yes, the heuristic programs were written in BASIC and loaded into the machine on pencil marked optically read cards.)

We did Computing without Computers (1)

Grumpinuts (1272216) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579679)

In Scotland in the mid/late 70's you could do computing as part of a maths course, so we all signed up as "Computers Were The Future".... Got taught Fortran by the simple expedient of handwriting code on gridded paper. These were then gathered up and posted once a week to the county computing centre where they were transferred to punch cards, the job ran, and the program listing and output printed and mailed back to us. Whole process took 2-3 weeks and if you missed a quote mark or comma and the job bombed, you had to rewrite the offending page, resubmit the following week and so on. One time I was about 8 weeks trying to get the one 20 line program to run.

Taught Computers? Pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579685)

There was no introduction to computers in schools for me. They didn't teach you anything. I was a 1989 birth and when I got to elementary school they didn't allow you to use computers until grade four and by that time everyone was proficient enough to not need instruction. They just told us the location of the file we were working on, and what program to open it with, and let us go.

Graduated 2004, public school Virginia (1)

watermark (913726) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579689)

Grade 1-5, had a computer lab with games. They all had some version of DOS, one was some old Mac. We went once a week, but really only played games.

Grade 6-8 had labs, but were only used for typing/research. Nothing taught beyond how to use a search engine and Word.

High school had typing, programming (c++/java), web design, computer graphics (photoshop), and Oracle. I hear these offerings are rare, even for the area. The programming was taught by a math teacher who was semi-competent. Typing did what it was supposed to, I couldn't touch type, then I could. Web design, Oracle, and Computer Graphics were a joke of the highest level. Retrospectively, I think the Oracle class was more training for a salesman than anything worth my time. Web design tried to teach Dreamweaver and Flash...instead of anything worthwhile. Computer graphics didn't really teach anything, they said here's photoshop, now make something.

Touch Typing (1)

sk999 (846068) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579691)

My high schools days predated computers, but I still acquired what is perhaps the most valuable skill needed by a progammer - touch typing. Except I learned on a manual typewriter, which penalizes mistakes harshly. People with CRT displays have it easy.

In my day... (1)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579695)

My high school was fortunate enough to have a great math teacher that taught college level calculus. Her classroom still had a giant slide rule mounted above the blackboard (this gives you an idea of how long ago it was), but she also realized, even back then, how important computers would come to be. In the back of the classroom there sat an ASR-33 Teletype, complete with paper tape punch and reader. It connection to some mainframe at, I believe, Penn State through a 110 baud connection. I spent untold hours after school in that classroom learning Basic. The programs had to be typed in my hand; if you wanted to save it for later you dumped it out to the paper tape punch.

Middle School Comp Lit (1)

Gary Perkins (1518751) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579697)

Around 7th or 8th grade, we had a computer keyboarding and computer literacy class. I think I took both in 7th grade together, whereas they usually wanted students to complete keyboarding *before* computer literacy... I could two finger at that point faster than most of the others who'd completed keyboarding. It was what I would expect comp lit to be now -- the first semester focused on the history of computing, as well as the internals, all the way down to the bits and registers. The second semester was a somewhat limited computer math with BASIC programming. In high school, you could take a computer math course to learn logic and procedures in Pascal, followed by computer science which focused on real world problems. It was a very comprehensive course structure for its time, I thought. This was all in the early 90's. I have no idea what's taught now, but since I still run into waaay too many people who haven't a clue, I guess they dropped a lot of it.

In 1993... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579705)

I'm 36. We were offered an elective for typing, and another one for computers. For the computer class I learned basic skills such as how to view a document and send it to the printer (e.g. the dos command to stream to LPT1 or whatever it was like back then). We also learned very basic programming using quick basic. This was roughly 1993. I'm a software engineer now, so I guess it was a good start.

More than at University (1)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579707)

In the equivalent of 9th and 10th grades, DOS, Lotus 1-2-3 and Pascal programming. In 11th grade, Pascal again and Scheme, Z80 machine language (not assembly!). In 12th grade, C++ (Object Oriented) and x86 Assembly. in 13th grade, we were set free to explore and learn extra stuff (Java in my case).

BASIC.. actually, Nethack. (1)

Hey_bob (6104) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579713)

In 92-93 high school year, I took the BASIC programming class with my best friend.. we'd been dabbling with BASIC for about 7-8 years at that point (starting with his CoCo3, etc). After the second week, the teacher decided we knew more than what the curriculum was going to cover, so we moved on to playing NetHack for the remainder of the semester.

Those were valuable skills, that I still occasionally use to this day. Tho I've never actually beat the game. :-(

GE Timesharing, 1974 (2)

edibobb (113989) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579731)

In 1974, GE loaned a Telex terminal to our small-town high school. In advanced math class I got to write Basic programs on paper tape. Made a long distance phone call to run the program on a mainframe, usually once a day. Made me quite careful about syntax errors. I was hooked -- in a few years I had a couple of CS degrees.

Now the high school kids use tiny tablets with more storage, memory, and speed than the mainframes of the '70s. They control undersea submersible vehicles via satellite, real time, from the classroom. It's great! Can't way to see what happens in the next 20 or 40 years.

Absolutely nothing. (1)

dkuntz (220364) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579733)

Me? Nothing. I generally taught others how to use their computers, or fixed the computers. My HS only had like 4 Macs, no computer teachers. They weren't even connected via Appletalk/Localtalk

Learned Fortran on #2 Pencil "punchcards" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579739)

In our Algebra class, we learned to program in Fortran.. simple stuff like generating Fibonacci series, etc. We'd fill out the bubble cards with #2 pencils and submit them to a local university for batch processing. Two days later, we'd see the results on fanfold paper.

Modern (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579745)

I graduate not more than a few years ago.

What did I learn about computers in my entire journey from elementary to high school? Typing.

Yeah that's the only thing was typing on a QWERTY keyboard. There was also a technology class that was just messing around with Word/Excel/Powerpoint. Everything else I learned by experience and by just using it all the time, but I'm a technologically oriented person who can tell you what ATA means or the difference between a byte and a bit, or even where the word bit came from.

Most other people from my generation can't.

Technology education in America is absolutely terrible.

Computer Programming Competition (1)

IDidn'tPostThis (749439) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579755)

When I was a senior in high school (1989-1990), we were still using TRS80 Model 3s, not much different than the Model 1s that I used in a summer programming camp 8 years earlier. Myself and two of the other computer inclined students were asked by the teacher for the BASIC programming class if we wanted to represent the school in a BASIC programming competition. Of course, we accepted. Another teacher drove us to the competition. There was a time set aside for the teacher to review the problems with us, discuss algorithms, etc. Our review consisted of "Good luck, I'll be back to pick up the computer you're going to win" And we did come in second place and win a Mac of the period. The first place finishers were Mac people, which probably gave them an edge over the 2 Commodore 64 and Apple IIC/TI 99 4A users since the programming was done on a Mac. Lots of memories

No computers in highschool (1)

sgage (109086) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579757)

I was in highschool in the late 60's, early 70's. Computers were something that IBM had. One thought of HAL, as in "2001". My oldest brother worked for DARPA - my first exposure to computers was logging on to some mainframe somewhere using his TI Silent 700 terminal (printed everything out on thermal paper), using Tenex (I'll never forget the manual, titled 'The Joy of Tenex'). Yes, a 300 bps acoustic coupler got the job done. But I could play Adventure on some computer in Stanford or San Diego, or wherever the heck it was. I also learned to program in C. Those were the days?

Graduated HS in 1987 (3, Informative)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579767)

We had TI-99/4a machines and one IBM compatible in jr high (7th-9th) with a class in BASIC on the TI machines. Once we moved over to the HS building we had access to Apple II machines and compatibles (Franklin ACE) and a couple IBM compatibles. Computer classes were limited to BASIC followed by Pascal, both taught on Apple. There was a short lived computer club that explored special topics such as vector graphic programming and Assembly - also Apple II based. Classes were taught by the math department instructors, or two of them at least. Chances are many of them had never used a computer at that time. In hindsight this set us up quite well for the immediate future and even today I use techniques and concepts I learned in those classes. It was less about the languages we were using and more about the planning and problem solving needed to accomplish a task. I apply similar techniques to problems that I use Powershell or Perl to deal with today. Truthfully most of our time in the "computer lab" was spent hacking around with computers, dot matrix printers, a couple of paddles connected to one of the Apple machines, and bootlegging games. Adventure games and the Atari catalog were the most popular. Somewhere at the bottom of a box in someone's attic is a copy of Jungle Hunt that displays my name in the copyright field. Hex editors were fun.

High School Grad: '86 (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579773)

In Jr. High (81-83), I learned some BASIC programming on Apple II+'s. I had a good time with it. Happened to be a private school.

High School (-86), I seem to remember having had a computer class, but I don't remember a damn thing about it. Did we do PASCAL? I don't remember for sure. I'm pretty sure we had PC's. We had an Apple IIe at home, and I hacked BASIC on that.

So I learned a little bit about variables, flow control... And I guess that's about it. Unless there was PASCAL - in which case I guess I also learned a bit about calling functions. I feel like we must have - because I'm pretty sure I knew about functions when I went to college.

I'd love to see a follow-up on this subject: "What did you learn about programming in college..."

1968 !!! (1)

careysb (566113) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579787)

I went to a high school in NY that was set up as a magnet school for career education; I went for computer programming. We did most of our creative work using FORTRAN 44 on acoustic modem teletypes with paper-punch ribbons for storage. Behind the scenes there was a mainframe somewhere. We also learned about IBM punch cards and some other language (COBOL?) but we didn't do much with that (except for figuring out how to override the punch card machine so that we could punch out EVERY hole in the entire card).

WEll Back in 1985.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579789)

WE were taught they are expensive tools. and because you went outside the class outline you get sent to detention. Also you are told you "DESTROYED" an altair 8800 by making the LED's do a cylon scan. The rincipal and Superintendant does not care that pressing reset will make it return to normal, you DESTROYED IT.

I.E. Teachers are morons, School administrators are bigger morons, and I still hold these beliefs close and dear today.

In high school, nothing unless... (1)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579791)

You took one of the business classes. Then you got to learn how to be an applications jockey for Wordperfect and PFS: First Publisher. There were some simple computer literacy classes during middle school, but it was a semester of "spend 4 45 minute classes during a week listening to lectures and 1 45 minute class actually punching keys". There was a second semester elective class of "computer programming" in Apple BASIC and there were 4 people in that class.

The heaviest use of computing in the high school was the yearbook and newspaper staff trying to get their feet wet with desktop publishing using Pagemaker and the only reason those got done properly is because I plowed through Pagemaker to learn it and ended up teaching the rest of the staff (and I got made Editor senior year...woo me!).

For time reference, I graduated in 1993.

c++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579795)

I took 2 years of C++ in high school. Those classes easily had the greatest impact on my life and career, even counting college classes. I majored in economics, not CS, but my ability to program has been what has gotten me jobs. (I'm 27 now)

Early 70's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579799)

I was at Skyline HS in Mesquite, TX, which was an unusual high school for its time.

We had a "computer lab" that consisted of Wang 600 and Wang 700 programmables with Nixie-tubes for output and toggle switches for input. The 700 had a paper roll for printouts. A couple of us wrote a program to calculate and print prime numbers. We didn't think about the problem of running out of paper, but we found out that when the paper ran out, the print head chewed up the cardboard roll, then the rubber on the roll holder. Nobody ever admitted who did this very expensive damage.

We had an Olivetti programmable (RPN, if I remember correctly), and an ASR33 that we could timeshare to a Burroughs B5500.

Most of us were still using slide rules, and those who had parents in engineering had early HP four-banger calculators.

While none of this was an immediate help, it sparked my interest in computers, primitive as they were. I lusted after the Altair that was advertised in Popular Electronics for a mere $8000, although it was WAY out of my reach.

I eventually managed to get an Apple ][+, and eventually started a degree in Computer Science degree, and became a software developer. What little we had in high school led me to where I am today. Still have my slide rule, though. :)

I learned more in middle school (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579801)

We learned everything from basic PC hardware (back when computers had numbered slots, instead of named ones) to intro programming. But my high schools were much further behind. I learned to type on an electric typewriter, and at my second high school, a fine arts school, all we had was a mac lab with a dot matrix printer, where we learned to use a word processor. It wasn't until I went to college that I really learned how to use a computer (and build or repair one) and 90% of that was self taught.

WOW a quarter century before WOW (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579807)

Trash 80s (smile when you say that, pardner!) in a class network with a "server" that was a giant monitor unibody TRS with 4, count 'em, 4 floppy drives.

We would boot and put our data disk in the server to load and save Basic programs.

BTW, for historians, the classes were called "Data Processing I" and II.

I wrote a command line faker program which accepted "load" commands, paused the proper amount of time, then spit out some rude error message.

To quote Lois Griffen's mom and dad, "At the time, it was the right thing to do."

Later I wrote a program to draw a 3D cube. It just plotted hand-placed points, no 3D calculations involved, just an array of 2D points that looked like a cube, using pixels the size of a human head.

The teacher, coincidentally head of the math department, saw it and was stunned as there was no 3D math built into the Basic.

I had become like Richard Pryor in Superman III, just released earlier that year, doing the impossible with computers and dual coordinates. I chose not to disabuse him of this notion.

UMich AA and Pascal will have to wait for another day.

BASIC and "keyboarding" (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 2 years ago | (#41579809)

I took a couple of classes in high school (mid-to-late-80s)... and they were pretty much on TRS-80 Model 3's and 4's. I already learned a little about BASIC since I had been using it on the Atari/C64 for about 4-5 years at that point. (I would've liked some assembly/low level stuff, but it was self-motivated when they got to a BASIC "concept" I already knew about.) What the low level snooping taught me (between bouts of playing Telengard) helped immensely when I started giving myself infinite lives in games and fiddling with the 68000 (on my shiny, new-to-me used Amiga and Action Replay add-on.)

I was already interested in computers by the time I took any classes on it, so I pretty much was self-taught until college, when I took courses to supplement my love of computers... It's been downhill ever since. :) I finished my intro C language class in college on my Amiga with Lattice C. The campus bookstore had a good deal on it. :)

Most of the "PC" computers were limited to the secretarial classes that my high school taught... so we didn't fiddle with DOS officially. There was an Apple 2 in the Home Economics department that we used to play Gemstone Warrior before school. (I think it was actually used to show cross-stitch patterns). Nothing like playing Gemstone Warrior on a monochrome screen. :) Computers were still a novelty or a niche product when I was growing up. Most people hated them, and most people thought they were toys. I'm 42 now, and my only regret is not focusing my efforts earlier to make my own utilities and games. I used my skills to forward my pathetic gaming capability... :)

It was a while ago. 1971 to be exact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579811)

Our smallish school, my graduating class was only about 125, took the plunge and created a computer cubicle in the back of the math classroom. We had two Teletype Model 33 ASR units, one was connected to a special high speed data line of 110 baud. We timeshared with 36 other schools on a PDP-8E. No online storage. You punched out your code on paper tape on the offline TTY, then when your turn came you loaded it up on the online unit. After debugging your code it was saved by punching out a new copy on paper tape.

We were taught Berkley Basic by the math teacher who was learning it as she was teaching it. There were only about 6 or 8 of us in the class. There was no traditional computer science concepts taught. I'm not sure if computer science as a general educational concept was even around yet. But what I learned that year, and subsequent years before graduating, was enough to get me thirsty for computers. It did a good job as I spent 25 years in the industry before taking a break from life to go off cruising on our boat.

Yeah, and I'm pretty grey, at least what's left of it.

Repeat 1000000000x (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579813)

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

C-64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41579821)

load "O*:" ,8 ,1 - if you had hole punched your 5-1/4"

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