Microelectronics Education Programme

Microelectronics Education Programme

Microelectronics Education Programme

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The UK Government's Microelectronics Education Programme ran from 1980 to 1986. It was conceived and planned by a Labour government and set up under a Conservative government during Mrs Thatcher's era. Its aim was to explore how computers could be used in schools in the UK. This was a controversial time for Conservative school policies.

The programme was administered by the Council for Educational Technology in London, but the directorate operated, unusually, from a semi-detached house on the Coach Lane Campus of the then Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University).

The director of the programme was Richard Fothergill, a man of vision and passion for the concept of bringing computers to schools. He was supported by a deputy director, a specialist in control technology and a cross curriculum specialist. All were teachers. The information collection and dissemination was carried out by an information officer who used an early form of Teletext (called Prestel) and email (called Telecom Gold) to disseminate news of materials and training opportunities. Each member of staff created correspondence on a handheld wordprocessor, a Microwriter, designed by Cy Endfield.

Educational materials were initially devised by teachers for teachers, financed by the Department of Education and Science of England, Northern Ireland and Wales. It was common to see written on various books and leaflets that the aims of the programme were to 'promote, within the school curriculum, the study...
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