About the author

If I said my first computer was a ZX81, that would probably give you an idea of my age!  Having scorned any mention of computers as an interesting job, I idly paid my friend’s brother £50 for his old ZX81, only to return it a couple of days later when I found some of the keys would no longer work.  He was able to return it to the shop as defective and get his money that way, while I was now interested enough to go buy my own from new.

Years later, having graduated via the Commodore +4 (not very popular, but came with built in word processing, graphs, spreadsheet and database software: I entered details of all my books and left it running for an hour or two to sort them into alphabetical order) and then the Commodore 64, I met my future husband, along with his PC, got frightened by the complexities of DOS (operating system – what the hell’s that?!) and left computers well alone for a few years, apart from the photosetter at work which ran on command codes and 10″ floppies.

Work as a secretary introduced me to electronic typewriters then a two day course on wordprocessing, and then when I had kids I started studying with the Open University.

My intention was to study something like sociology, or psychology, or languages, but at that time the only shorter course they ran was in maths, so I tried that to see what home study was like.  This involved using mathcad, and I so enjoyed the computing element that the next year I signed up for a new computing course – I was one of the original M206 phrogs, learning Smalltalk by programming frogs, hoverfrogs and scared hoverfrogs, as a way to learn about objects and classes and inheritance.

One computing course led to another, until I realised that I was actually on the way to earning a degree in computing and IT, one of the first named degrees the OU offered, dabbling in C++, Java, SQL, fuzzy logic and neural networks on the way.  I never did get back to the social sciences degree, although I did pick up a few certificates in various topics (study is addictive!).

Meanwhile, a different track of my life led me from childminding to childminding committees, to teaching childminding, until the need to get extra teaching hours in caused a move to teaching ICT skills at Adult Education centres.  A few years ago I trained as a classroom teacher, and now I teach 11-16 year olds the strange subject called ICT, which the government has declared is boring but vital, and no-one really seems to know what to do with.  So I found myself back to the idea that working with computers consists of sitting putting in data, but discovering that it’s also about editing graphics, sound and video, putting together multimedia products and just now starting to be back to where I started: learning to make games and program computers to do what I want them to do.

 

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