Written by Tilly Blyth, Curator of Computing and Information
Today Nesta and the Science Museum are publishing a report on the legacy of the BBC Micro. Based on research at the BBC’s Written Archives Centre and the online public questionnaire we ran back in March 2012, the report looks at the legacy of computer and the BBC’s broader Computer Literacy Project. We received 372 responses to the questionnaire, with many people leaving detailed responses about their experiences of using computers in the 1980s and the influence it had on their subsequent careers paths.
Despite the BBC Micro being remembered as a schools machine, the report shows that the Computer Literacy Project initially aimed to improve adult computer literacy in the home. It was supported by a range of materials, distributed across a multitude of channels, and enabled local networks to deliver learning directly to many different audiences.
The report also highlights how the Computer Literacy Project had significant economic benefits, creating an increasingly skilled population and stimulating a high technology innovation cluster aroundCambridge. It suggests that any new initiatives which aim to increase computer literacy, such as the Raspberry Pi, should include the need for a strong vision for computer literacy, leadership to coordinate activities, and a desire to create change in the home as well as schools.