I've had a great afternoon today. The reason for that has been simple - I've taught the most enjoyable ICT lesson, ever, twice! - to two separate classes. And I've still got another class to teach it to before the end of the week.
I've created a half term of ICT based around the history of computer and video games to tie into our ongoing history work looking at events over the past 100 years (as the school was celebrating it's centenary last year), and today I introduced it with a presentation showing a whole range of computer and video games systems ranging for the Binatone TV game (1976) through to the Wii (2006), stopping along the way with the Spectrum, the Atari, the BBC 'b', the original NES, gameboy, master system and megadrive to name just a few.
The kids loved it! They were asking questions and making comments left, right and centre.
- "Did you have one of those?"
- "My dad's got one like that"
- "That looks cool!"
They were totally amazed when I showed them a 'real' ZXSpectrum, (I've created a temporary 'museum of computer and video game systems' in the classroom with examples from my attic, as well as from other members of staff too) and let them hold it and press the rubbery keys too.
But, that wasn't the best bit. The best part of the lesson was when I plugged in my 34 year old Binatone to the television and switched it on. The comforting plinks, plonks, beeps and bleeps began, and I saw my old favourite - tennis - on the screen again for the first time in longer than I like to remember.
The classes were amazed with the paddle controllers - just a single dial to turn to make a stick rise and fall on the screen, but they were hooked! I played a game with one of them (I won of course!) and was transported back to my childhood; sat on the floor in the front room, Binatone and wires across the carpet, paddle in hand, challenging my brother. I could almost smell the Angel Delight being made in the kitchen!
And then I thought afterwards, would a playstation, an XBox, or a Wii still be working in 34 years? I somehow doubt it. It's all about build quality, and 34 years ago it counted for something when you designed and made a product that would last.