Thank you, Mommy

This Mother’s Day, I want to reflect on a pivotal point in my life. At some point in the early 80s, my mother had the foresight to bring home our first computer for my older brother and I.  It was a Commodore Vic-20.  Back then, I did not know that a little 8-bit computer would open up new possibilities for me.  This unique gift would create a defining moment and become the sown seed of a continuing harvest.

CBMVIC20P8[1]

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

My mom is an educator. As you can imagine with most children of English teachers, I believe that literacy is the master key to all doors.  Today, there are more doors than basic literacy can open. Fluency in new domains of knowledge are needed.  The Vic-20 helped me to develop information-computer-technology (ICT) literacy before there ever was such a thing.

For my brother and I, we had to learn it on our own.  That meant spending countless hours in public libraries reading computer books and magazines and learning how to write and debug programs.  Inspired by movies like War Games (1983) and Weird Science (1985), we literally thought we could make a computer do anything.

For my daughter, I am taking a cue from my mother.  This past week, I purchased a robotics kit for my heiress. This summer marks the beginning of our adventure in discovering machine technology, science, robotics, computer programming, and yes, literacy.

Like the Vic-20, robotics will be a foreign language for her to discover and learn.  She is a little younger than I was when I first started computing.  That only means she will gain more experience than I did. Also, like the Vic-20, the robot is not the gift.  It is the discoveries acquired in the journey of learning that will bequeath new knowledge and opportunities. Perhaps, the Iron Man movies will influence her creative genius as the movies of my youth did for me.

For my Mom, I say “thank you!”  You make great things possible and impossible things easy.  Have a peaceful Mother’s Day.

 

Resources:

Microsoft Robotics Developers Studio

Microsoft Robotics Developer Center

CodePlex Open Source Project Community

Microsoft DreamSpark for High School Students

Microsoft MIX10 Scott Guthrie’s Keynote 
(Check out the Windows Phone 7/Robotic Cannon Demo towards the end, roughly at 105:00)