My first memory of computers came when I was a senior in high school. A computer class was offered, which I took. The teacher (who was one of the most pitiful – in the sense of dumb – teachers I ever remember having) drove to IU each week to take a class which would equip him with the knowledge to teach us.
I remember very little about that class, just very simple games where the cursor was called a “turtle.” I think we would write a program in a language called LOGO, for something really simple like adding 3 to a number. Really, the computer seemed more like a big calculator at the time.
I took a computer class in college – I chose COBOL over the more common intro computer class because I had heard it was easier, and I didn’t know much about computers.
I remember that class being horrible. There were about 300 of us in an auditorium, being “taught” by the professor standing on stage. The class consisted of our writing 6 progressively more difficult programs in COBOL language. For the final program, the teacher said, “I bet none of you will be able to figure this one out!” This was not encouraging.
During the week, we had to go to the computer lab and try to figure out our programs, about 30 of us competing for the attention of a single overworked grad student assigned to help us. I would try to run my program, then go to the printer and wait for my error list to print out (the paper had those holes along the edges). No, I never did get that final program to work.
I was finally introduced to the internet in the summer of 1996, I think, at a teacher workshop. I remember the teacher saying we could find a lot of things on the computer, and I remember her showing us how to type in whitehouse.gov to see all kinds of information about the White House. I thought that seemed so interesting! And with that, I was off … today, I can’t imagine life without computers.
What are your earliest computer memories?