The most basic 1980 Sinclair ZX81 had just 1KB of memory and no ‘off’ switch. You could buy it in WH Smiths for £69.95. However, the unit ushered in an era of home computing and was key to the development of the careers of many of the British programmers who have shaped our digital present. Indeed, some have cited these early machines’ limited technological capacity as a spur to creativity — according to Sir Clive Sinclair, the ZX81 was a “lean and efficient” machine compared to most contemporary (profligate) examples.
Coding the Curriculum
As of September 2014, every child over the age of five will find a new topic compulsory in their curriculum: coding. According to education secretary Michael Gove, 2014 is the “Year of Code”, with half a million pounds set aside to train teachers how to work in the medium and to pass on those skills. In January, Google and the Raspberry Pi Foundation also announced an initiative to gift 15,000 of the latter’s micro-computers to British school children.