by Rosetta McLeod with Colin Burgess aged 12

Recently, I read a report on using micro computers in education which made the point that the computer has the power to develop and fulfil the human brain’s creative impulse. The writer went on to say that while adults might stop and question the desirability of such power, children have no such reservations. Children, in fact, lacking the adult’s awe of computers and possessing highly active imaginations, can teach adults a great deal.

Constructive use of micros in an educational sense centres around three way communication — communication in all directions between the adult, child and computer. While the adult should direct and control the use of educational programs, (and will no doubt overcome computer-awe in the process), the child will not only learn from experience but also teach the supervising adult!

Colin Burgess, a 12 year old pupil of mine, wrote the following diary entries for a week. I wonder how many Dads can identify with Colin’s portrayal of his father?

My New Home Computer (With acknowledgements to Mission Impossible)


I was up in my bedroom trying to teach Hammy (my hamster) to do somersaults, with no results, when I heard my Dad come in. He started rabbling on about microchips and keeping up with modern times. That’s all I heard!


I went into town in the morning and bought a comic and some jokes. My Dad got home and he was carrying a computer magazine. VERY SUSPICIOUS!!!!!!!


I lay in bed until 12 o’clock. I got up and ate some breakfast. My Dad came through to the living room and did his morning workout, with Jane Fonda. What a bore.


I went to school. Got an A for science homework. In science we did an experiment with bunsen burners.


I came home and found my Dad had bought a home computer. I questioned him about it and he said, ‘Don’t bother me now, I’m up to my neck in Peeks and Pokes.’ He then went on: ‘You’re supposed to get 64K RAM with this. I haven’t seen a sheep yet’!!!

I hope I get a shot at it soon.


After I explained ROMS, RAMS, PEEKs and POKEs to my Dad he wished he’d stayed with his war comics. I think ‘MY’ computer is just amazing.


My Dad has given up with the computer. I’ve got a game called ‘Giggling Penguin Invaders From Outer Space in the Vicinity of Ursa Minor’. I played the game several times. In my last game I had 99,999,999,785, Points when a 250 point penguin waddled into my sights and then... the power failed. I was sick!