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Mark Simonson

August 27, 2012

Computer age reached Oneonta schools in 1980s

The Daily Star — I took computer science in college.

Truth be told, computer science took me, instead. Those were in the days of making programs with punch cards at the State University College at Oswego. All I can say is, thank goodness I kept the calendar close at hand to withdraw from the course before the deadline. I really didn’t believe I could get quiz and test scores THAT low.

Not one to give up easily after college, I took another shot at computer programming, as I knew there were good paying jobs out there. I was a radio broadcaster, making wages that were comparable to my old computer science test scores, and looking to do better. Computers were tabletop models by then. Bless my instructor at Broome Community College, Ms. Gannett, as she had a good sense of humor over my lack of computer smarts. She started answering my usual barrage of questions with, “She quit.” Eventually, so did I, never coming remotely close to passing test scores.

I applaud those who possess computer programming smarts. Since the 1980s, computers have become simple enough to use so I can easily get photos and text in each week to The Daily Star, among my other jobs.

It was 30 years ago this autumn that the very first classroom computers were introduced in the Oneonta City School District. The Star reported on Monday, Nov. 22, 1982, that the district spent roughly $9,500 to outfit the junior high school with a computer system. A room near the junior high library was converted into a computer center where students began working with eight small computers in October. The senior high school was planning to open a computer center in early 1983.

“It’s a method of teaching,” math teacher James Milavec said. “We use the computer in our remedial programs as well as teaching the students about computers.”

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Mark Simonson

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