The orginal Acorn/BBC team. Photo by Hayley Blackledge.
The Official 30th Anniversary of the BBC Micro and Computer Literacy Project
Beeb@30 was a very special anniversary celebration hosted at ARM's headquarters in Cambridge. It was held on March 25th 2012 and presented in association with the Centre for Computing History.
The Computer Literacy Project was a BBC-led initiative to improve computing education in Britain. A new series entitled The Computer Programme was planned for 1982, and the corporation wanted their own machine to accompany it.
A number of British computing firms were approached to produce a machine to the BBC’s own specification. The contract was awarded to Acorn Computers, whose own Atom replacement machine, the Proton, was adapted to satisfy the criteria.
The resulting BBC Micro became the machine of choice for schools up and down the country, backed by the then Conservative government’s own desire to make Britain lead the world in computer education.
Thirty years on, the BBC Micro is fondly remembered as being the computer that started a generation of careers in IT. It also begs the question - what did the Computer Literacy Project achieve, and how does it compare to how computing is taught now?
Beeb@30 was be a celebration with a twist, with the people who made it happen just over thirty years ago - the entire Acorn Computers team, pretty much. Also present was television presenter Chris Serle and Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton.
As it was a party, we also had live music, wine, and a BBC Micro cake!