Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

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BigEd
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Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by BigEd » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:00 pm

Any ideas - or even anecdotes - about the last sightings of BBC Micros being used, or being operational, in schools? (I'm thinking UK, but stories from around the world would be amusing.)

I'm often surprised at how someone as young as say 30 might recollect using Beebs in school. I dare say that's my mental arithmetic at fault though.

Were Beebs in schools into the 90's? How late?

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by danielj » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:05 pm

Used all the way up until I left in 1992 at my old school. Finally bought it in 1994 iirc when the entire network got taken out by a thunderstorm. All replaced with PCs at that point...

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by SarahWalker » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:06 pm

We definitely still had a BBC per classroom when I left primary school, in 1998, and they were still being actively used. There were Beebs at my secondary school, for at least the first couple of years, though I don't remember ever using them; though Arcs were still in use at that point. We did later use a BBC for data logging in A-level physics in college, that would have been about 2003/4.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by BigEd » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:08 pm

Wow, thanks, so much later than I expected!

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by hoglet » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:39 pm

BigEd wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:08 pm
Wow, thanks, so much later than I expected!
I'll check with Liz, but I remember going in to her school once and they still had a roomful of BBCs. That would have been about 2003 I think.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by hoglet » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:35 pm

hoglet wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:39 pm
BigEd wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:08 pm
Wow, thanks, so much later than I expected!
I'll check with Liz, but I remember going in to her school once and they still had a roomful of BBCs. That would have been about 2003 I think.
Hmm, seems I was mistaken and the 2003 visit wasn't to a room of BBC. As far as Liz remembers, they got rid of the BBCs around 1995.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by BigEd » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:49 pm

Don't tell me you've started hallucinating Beebs now? Or then...

(For myself, I was able to get a Beeb fairly early in their life, Christmas '82 IIRC, but I was already well out of school by then. In my day the secondary school had a single teletype linked to the university which I think I used only once as some kind of special favour. I might have kept a paper tape for a while but it's lost now. And there were weekly shuttles of pencil-marked punch cards for the Computer Studies course. Not that I'm old or anything - things were changing quite rapidly at the time.)

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by CMcDougall » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:33 pm

My secondary school stopped using them 1992, then had stupid macs that needed a 31/2" disc to boot :lol:

also had one Arc , but only played Lander demo thing on that
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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by 1024MAK » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:50 pm

If you pop over to my very first post, I give some details of how I got my hands on the first Acorn machines that were bought by me. These were former school machines and came with a written letter/receipt. I still have the letter/receipt somewhere (I must dig it out one day). I don’t know when the school stopped using these BBC B and Master 128 machines, but the dates on the electrical PAT test labels were not that old. So that makes the guesstimate of the date of last use appropriately 2007.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by danielj » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:33 pm

Actually, that reminds me, I nobbled a master which had just been retired from use when I was doing teacher training in 1998!

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by BeebMaster » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:12 pm

I can't beat any of the dates already given but at my secondary school, the Beeb computer room (mostly Master ET, some Master 128 and 1 BBC B) was replaced in 1992/3 for a different room with A5000s. I left school in 1995 and I think the biology BBC B was still in use by then. It had had (probably from the time the main Beeb room was decommissioned) a floppy disc drive added, and I was involved in the conversion to disc (which involved cutting several K of the program) of a tape-based bit of BASIC software to guess or decide the classification of a member of the animal kingdom based on answering questions (how many legs etc).

In May 2002 I took possession of the CDT Master 128 (although I don't ever remember seeing it in CDT!), now my Station 1, which had apparently only recently been de-commissioned.

When visiting a friend in around 2001/2002 in Shropshire, who had gone into teaching, I remember him reading from some LEA or central government circular or official advice or somesuch along the lines of "schools should now be thinking of replacing their BBC Micros".

I reckon there are still Beebs in use in schools even now.
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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by flaxcottage » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:29 pm

Do BBC emulators count? My last school was using those for teaching Music, BBC Basic programming and A-Level Computing machine code in 2013. The school also used HP41CX emulators for teaching and practising RPN (there was even a real one used as well) right up to 2014.
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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by BigEd » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:59 pm

Using BBC Basic to teach machine code - that's interesting!

I'm all in favour of emulators, but I'm not sure they quite scratch the itch that led me to ask the question. (For similar vague and unarticulated reasons, I wouldn't quite count use of Archimedes either, even if they did have red function keys. Perhaps, as ever, it's the 6502 which has my attention!)
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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Commie_User » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:04 pm

We had one lonely BBC B at our secondary school, to my knowledge until I left in '96.

Fewer and fewer people used it and I don't think even the staff did when I was the last one I remember operating the thing. I can't imagine it lasted long after I left. By the end, I'm the only one I remember using the Archimedes too. Even the staff told me I wouldn't want to use it much as there was so little software for it.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Kazzie » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:36 pm

Not exactly in the classroom, but my brother used the Archimedes we rescued from school and dot matrix printer to do some of his GCSE English coursework. This would have been circa 2003.
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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Richard Russell » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:57 pm

BeebMaster wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:12 pm
I reckon there are still Beebs in use in schools even now.
Even if not "in schools" there are certainly Beebs used "by schools" because both the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park and the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge have 'classrooms' with several working machines that schools send parties of kids to use.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by OneSwitch » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:29 am

Not quite the same, but at a Day Centre for disabled adults I used to work at we used a BBC Micro until 2001, maybe 2002. It was for accessibility purposes with this software to play games, try Yes/No, and pick lottery numbers:

https://bbc.godbolt.org/?autoboot&disc= ... RE2017.ssd

I remember picking up lots of BBC Micros from a local primary school around 1997-1999. Also picked up quite a few from the archives department at the BBC White City (lots had all sorts of weird and wonderful upgrades). Had about 10 cub monitors at one stage.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by chinnyhill10 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:15 am

My BBC Master came out of a 6th form Physics lab in 1995. 3 of us went down there and took one each, the rest went in a skip.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Andy1979 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:31 am

Secondary school computer room was a mix of A3000s and BBC Masters/Micros until about 1992/3 I think. Remember being 'taught' to program in BASIC in lieu of maths for a few weeks, which I absolutely loved. Given I'd already been doing that since I was 9yrs old it was fun to try and expand the simple exercises we were given.

By the time I started my GCSE in Information Systems in 1994 they'd replaced all the 8 bit machines with A3020s. When I was in the 6th form they replaced the lot with RM Windows boxes and gave us Internet access.

Our school's weather station was still using a pair (for redundancy) of BBC Masters up until at least 1999, monitoring wind speed and direction 24/7 through the analogue ports.

Think my old primary school shifted to Arcs in the early-90s too, given they could run most of the old educational software plus newer titles.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by LordVaderUK » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:54 am

chinnyhill10 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:15 am
My BBC Master came out of a 6th form Physics lab in 1995. 3 of us went down there and took one each, the rest went in a skip.
This made my heart break just a little bit... :cry: At least three more enlightened students saved three!

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by gidandridge » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:59 pm

LordVaderUK wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:54 am
chinnyhill10 wrote: ↑
Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:15 am
My BBC Master came out of a 6th form Physics lab in 1995. 3 of us went down there and took one each, the rest went in a skip.

This made my heart break just a little bit... :cry: At least three more enlightened students saved three!
I echo that - the words BBC Micros and Skip should never be seen together. :cry:

My very first Job was as an I.T. Technician for a School. My job was to run and maintain the school's network of RM Nimbus Clone PC's. Before I took the job they had moved all the old BBC's into a spare classroom and let them gather dust.

Being a bit of a BBC fan I set them all up and asked the school for some budget to buy some technical lego and some interfaces that connected to the user port. These allowed you to build lego 'robots' and then program and control them using the Beebs. The request was approved and I set them all working again. :D

They were still in use when I left for the 'big smoke' around 1993.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by gslug » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:32 am

My secondary school was full of Apricot PCs, but there was still a Master in the library, used for keeping track of book loans, and a B+ 64K in design tech, with a bunch of relays attached to the user port. Never saw the latter used, but I brought it and the relay box, Cub and dual drives for I think £10 when they decided to get rid in about 1994/95. They also sold me an Arc 310 with various podules and a HDD around the same time. I think that came form music, although it didn't have a MIDI podule. I've still got the B+, but the Arc was nowhere to be seen when I cleared my parent's house a few years ago, though I still have my original 310.

At sixth form there was a solitary Beeb which was interfaced with a dish for receiving data from a weather satellite. I remember climbing out of a window onto a flat roof to connect it to said dish, unthinkable now! That would have been about 1997.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by OneSwitch » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:13 pm

One more recollection, (not as late as lots of others), is at an RNIB school for the blind. 1998 ish. BBC Micros being used with speech synthesisers for e-mail, word processing and games.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=16483#p227188

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Commie_User » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:21 pm

Maybe this half-counts, but tonight's episode of BACK IN TIME FOR SCHOOL saw today's kids use the BBC in an 80s environment: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m ... -episode-6

It's on Iplayer a while. Torch can download it properly if you want to keep it.

p0706vl8[1].jpg
Interesting to watch the little SOBs maybe play dumb trying to use them. 'Ooo, there's no mouse and you have to wait for the tape to load'. Though I wouldn't have been surprised if tape errors were left on the cutting room floor for obvious brevity.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Andy1979 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:21 am

Commie_User wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:21 pm
Maybe this half-counts, but tonight's episode of BACK IN TIME FOR SCHOOL saw today's kids use the BBC in an 80s environment: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m ... -episode-6

It's on Iplayer a while. Torch can download it properly if you want to keep it.


p0706vl8[1].jpg

Interesting to watch the little SOBs maybe play dumb trying to use them. 'Ooo, there's no mouse and you have to wait for the tape to load'. Though I wouldn't have been surprised if tape errors were left on the cutting room floor for obvious brevity.
Thanks for the tip. Turns out this was actually filmed at my old school! Disappointed to see in one of the clips (not sure if this episode) that they were 'trying' to use Windows 3.1 when we actually would have been using Arcs at that point (three mouse buttons would have blown their minds :lol: )

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Kazzie » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:22 pm

Andy1979 wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:21 am
Commie_User wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:21 pm
Maybe this half-counts, but tonight's episode of BACK IN TIME FOR SCHOOL saw today's kids use the BBC in an 80s environment: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m ... -episode-6

It's on Iplayer a while. Torch can download it properly if you want to keep it.


p0706vl8[1].jpg

Interesting to watch the little SOBs maybe play dumb trying to use them. 'Ooo, there's no mouse and you have to wait for the tape to load'. Though I wouldn't have been surprised if tape errors were left on the cutting room floor for obvious brevity.
Thanks for the tip. Turns out this was actually filmed at my old school! Disappointed to see in one of the clips (not sure if this episode) that they were 'trying' to use Windows 3.1 when we actually would have been using Arcs at that point (three mouse buttons would have blown their minds :lol: )
Sadly, my high school turfed out all it's Acorn machines the summer before I arrived, and all they had was a mix of Windows 95 and 3.11 machines for us. :cry: It was a year or two before they got them all networked again, too.
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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by paulv » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:14 pm

Not a BBC but I have one of a pair of Arc A410/1 machines from Stonar school (Beeb master has the other one) and mine was still in use by the school in 1999 according to the data on the files on the original (now dead) HDD.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:06 pm

Fairly sure my old school got rid of all its Beebs from the computer room and replaced them with RM Nimbuses around 1992 - I don't remember there being any Beebs when I did Computer Science A level around then. There were a couple of A3000s sat discreetly at the back of the room though, mostly used for playing Nevryon and Apocalypse on!

There was definitely the odd Beeb here and there in other classrooms before I left in '94.

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by SteveBagley » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:41 pm

Andy1979 wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:21 am

Thanks for the tip. Turns out this was actually filmed at my old school! Disappointed to see in one of the clips (not sure if this episode) that they were 'trying' to use Windows 3.1 when we actually would have been using Arcs at that point (three mouse buttons would have blown their minds :lol: )
The ‘90s’ episode last week used PC systems, which is probably about right. Certainly, my school got its first PC computer room around 1993, and basically replaced everything with PCs in 96/97 whilst I was in 6th form. The only bit that felt slightly anachronistic was the presence of a PC in the classroom in 1990…

And the use of a dial-up modem, I remember my Uncle's school had a leased line fitted in 1995…

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Re: Date of last (final) use of BBC Micros in classrooms?

Post by Commie_User » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:54 pm

SteveBagley wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:41 pm
The only bit that felt slightly anachronistic was the presence of a PC in the classroom in 1990…
Oh I don't know. It happened. In my Oxfordshire primary school, in the early-mid 80s, some classrooms had their own PC.

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