Mediating the microcomputer: The educational character of the 1980s British popular computing boom

Public Underst Sci. 2013 Jul;22(5):546-58. doi: 10.1177/0963662512457904. Epub 2012 Oct 30.


In the early 1980s the computer entered the British home in significant numbers for the first time as many thousands of people purchased their first personal 'microcomputer'. In this paper I explore the educational character of the home computer boom, a response to unease over the impact of new information technologies. Media, government, social movements and computer manufacturers constituted a systematic effort to enhance the public understanding of a new technology that was anticipated to change the world.

Keywords: acquisition of new technologies; history of science; innovation; public understanding of science; representations of science; science communication; studies of science and technology.