[vcf-midatlantic] Vintage Computer Federation at Lehigh Valley FAST 2016
hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Thu Sep 15 12:20:15 EDT 2016
Thanks from me for your excellent report on your own activities and
exhibit. Your exhibit is good vintage-computing outreach. Can you also
report on the other exhibits there? I am (and others I correspond with
are) interested in how children today are presented with STEM
technology, by the various groups that support (and sell) STEM; and how
the kids themselves present their own efforts and school-sponsored
projects. We compare that, with how we old-people learned about
computing and electronics, in our youth.
The vintage-computing connection to STEM in my opinion is this. In the
vintage era of the 1960's and 70's, "STEM" was represented as "the space
race", and it was mostly a federal/schools program on education
fundamentals. There were few products to offer, not many computers.
Apple and the Apple II were the educational "push", but that came later.
And the "personal computer revolution" as group events, was mostly a
product of adults in locally-formed clubs, that met in homes or in
public spaces (libraries, museums, etc.). Kids were not a big part of
either of these, until the video gaming rise (and fall) in the later
NONE of this was particularly "competitive" as in contests between
groups to perform any kind of tasks or games, with scoring and
regional/national contests. Efforts to nationalize computer clubs,
didn't pan out. Later there were top-down organizations, around Apple or
IBM or other specific product lines; and most supporting magazines or
publications or conventions, or BBS's or email lists.
STEM of course, in the schools and as supported by national groups and
international corporations, is quite a contrast. The common point is
that these circumstances - STEM in schools, what became vintage personal
computing groups - is how these introduced "computing" technology to
youngsters. We vintage-computing owners look back at vintage computers
and remember our involvement, and our machines. I have no doubt that
some STEM participants, will look back at their experiences and products
used, with the same sort of "vintage" interests.
But more relevant today to us, is when STEM participants - still kids -
come to vintage computing events and exhibits, and evaluate "our"
technology based on their STEM competitions and events. They will expect
the kinds of "computing" they have experienced; and will have no
experience with some of our earliest vintage computers which we display
Todd's report, in my opinion, gives us a glimpse into the present (and
the future) of vintage computing.
The kid's attraction to printers, for instance, is that they are loud,
use paper, and move paper around - not that they would actually READ any
papery-bloggy-texty things not on a screen! And of course, the parents
have their own expectations and histories, directly related to vintage
computing, but likely influenced by their kid's participation in STEM.
Todd and his colleagues, reported on both, thanks!
(Sorry if that appears long-winded. But these are not simple concepts or
even widely-held point of view. It takes time to explain such things.
And frankly, it's a little frustrating to me, when I post such remarks.
Why? Because I get little response. If there's no reaction, I assume I'm
either off-base, boring, overwhelming, or irrelevant to those reading
this list. So let me know if what I say, means anything to those reading
it. Thank you.)
Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
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