The Discursive Construction of ‘Educational Computing’ in the UK, 1979-1989
The scope of the computer’s educational potential is seen by many to be limited only by technical considerations. As the processing speeds and memory capacities of computerised technologies have steadily increased so too have the educational claims made on their behalf. This chapter explores how the computer came to be so strongly ‘configured’ as educational during its integration into mainstream British society and culture. At the end of the 1980s, the political construction of IT for educational purposes culminated with the government’s moves to dictate ‘the general principles which must be reflected in the curriculum of all pupils’ via the National Curriculum. Government policy and rhetoric alone do not account for the societal shaping of the computer in the UK throughout this time. Marketing computers in the UK as educational tools soon proved a popular option for IT firms, reflected in the associated emergence of numerous ‘software houses’ being set up to develop and produce ‘educational’ programs.