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This is a question IT Support

Our IT support guy has been in the job since 1979, and never misses an opportunity to pick up a mouse and say "Hello computer" into it, Star Trek-style. Tell us your tales from the IT support cupboard, either from within or without.

(, Thu 24 Sep 2009, 12:45)
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Many many moons ago....
.... I was a teacher, and worked for a progressive County Council who in their foresight had bought and delivered spanking new BBC Model B Micros, monitor screens and tape-players for all the schools in the county. As this was back in 1982, I said whatever the equivalent of YAY was, as this was a new-fangled invention I wanted to know more about!

However. It soon became apparent that nobody knew how to use the things, what to use them for, and being busy teachers pre-national curriculum, nobody had the time to learn. And the older ones had no inclination either - nor video recorders to tape the overnight lessons from BBC2.

So the progressive council advertised amongst its teaching staff for those who would be prepared to do the BBC/OU course which, of course, the BBC Micro was introduced for. The lucky acceptees were to be subsidised and given video recorders (still a relatively expensive item at that time). I applied and was accepted, YAY again.

Months later on completing the course and learning to amend the few existing educational programs to suit particular classroom environments and writing a few new ones, I and my colleagues proceeded to go round all the schools in the county to set the systems up and teach the teachers what to do. With some considerable degree of success as hardly any of the schools had bothered to take the things out of the box before we got there.

However, one school surprised us all. A rural location, with a lovely little-old-lady headmistress, on the phone she happily told us the computer was the most useful thing the council had ever sent her, and yes we could come to see her use it.

Believe me, the lot of us descended on that tiny school. By this time we were fed up of spending our time dusting off the boxes, getting injured by the packing staples and finding somewhere to dispose of all the polystyrene packaging instead of showing the kids that if they kicked the bricks in a certain order to spell words, their name would come up on the screen in flashing & alternating bright colours. (yes, times were very different then, that was a real incentive, honestly).

We arrived, eager to see this enthusiastic little old dear's set-up. She greeted us at the school entrance and told us that the building was so small and had so few pupils, all the children were taught in one big open plan area in the hall, under different groups according to age.

Then we saw the BBC Micro, in use.

In its box.

Propping her office door open.

She said it was the only thing she had ever found that was heavy or strong enough to stop the hinge on the fire-door to her office from closing shut, and she wanted the door open because with all the empty classrooms and all the pupils in the hall, she felt isolated from them. And this, honestly, was said to us without a hint of irony or sarcasm.
(, Fri 25 Sep 2009, 18:16, Reply)

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