Computers from your school years!

So I'm curious... What kind of computers do you remember using in school? Lets discuss!

The ones I remember specifically are:

3rd Grade, 1999: We had two computers in our classroom: An Apple IIe with a green screen and a 5 1/4" floppy, and an IBM PS/2 with an internal CD-ROM drive (with a caddy), running some version of Windows 3.x. My report card from 3rd grade had a comment of "Nick has been a great help with the computers." Ha! The computer lab was stocked with Compaq DeskPro's (EN's if I remember correctly) running Windows 98.

6th Grade, 2002: The school had a Mac computer lab, and a PC computer lab. The Mac lab had a mixture of original tray-loading iMac G3's, and slot-loading DV G3's running OS9. The teacher had a PowerMac G3 with a massive CRT studio display. The library was stocked with Gateway E3200 desktops, and teachers had their choice of the iMac or Gateway for their desks. One tech teacher that taught typing had a classroom full of old school Vectra VL Tower's with Pentium's. Ran Windows 95. We played Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, and SimTower when we finished our assignments.

7th Grade, 2003: By this point, all the tray-loading Macs were replaced with slot loading 450-500Mhz models and upgraded to OSX. The teacher got a new G4 iMac and an external FireWire DVD Burner.

8th Grade, 2004: The PC lab was upgraded to brand new Gateway 310x or 510x models running Windows 2000 Professional. This lab was very different than the Mac lab, which was like a normal classroom. The PC lab had a raised white tile floor and was always freezing. Definitely was the school's original server room.

What about your memories?

-Nick

Comments

  • When I was in third grade, our school didn't even have computers. Personal computing was just coming out of the realm of science fiction. I remember around that time seeing a room full of washing machine sized computing devices at some medical center on some kind of field trip. And some kind of green-screen typesetting system at the small town newspaper interfacing with a machine that made metal slugs to go in the printing press. Somewhere I still have the metal slug with my name on it. I think it was my second grade teacher's husband who worked at some computer center so she always had piles of continuous feed greenbar paper for us to draw on - and mysterious "8080" code printed on the other side.

    Google? No, a set of encyclopedias, a small town 3-room local library, and two parents with rocks for brains were my entire source of knowledge. If I wanted to know something beyond that I had to figure it out my damn self.

    I guess it was middle school when I first saw some Apple II computers.

    In high school, it was mostly Apple IIe, IIgs, and Tandy 1000s (barf). Not that any of the monkey fucks there had any idea what to do with them. I do recall helping setting up some brand new IBM PS/2s for the employees. Those monochrome VGA screens were really sharp.

    Really did not even learn much about "computers" in public school, most of what I knew I learned myself.

    At any rate, having seen all these advances and appreciating what it was like before, is why it irks me when the "whats a computer?" kind of people want to dumb it down and throw it all away.

  • edited January 2019

    Coming from a much later era, my elementary schools had IBM NetVista desktops with Williamette P4s (some were celerons) and 256 or 512 MB of RAM, running Windows XP Pro SP2/3 unbearably slow. I remember being very impatient and attempting to launch IE when the OS was loading services, causing me to open over 100 browser windows frequently. Some of them had win2k/me stickers affixed to them, and I thought they should have ordered 2000 licences to save us all some grief. They had Office 2003, Tux Paint and Kid Pix going from memory.

    The 4 or 5 eMac G4s with Tiger weren't bad though, but I had trouble adjusting to the quirks of OS X, like closing programs by their windows then by the toolbar.

    The school did nurture my hobby somewhat, by way of letting me take apart some beige box hanging around the computer room, "donating" their copy of Works 95 to me, and a ~800-page book in the library that talked about the up-and-coming "Katmai" processor, 95 OSR2's built-in scanner acquisition software, how the 486 is obsolete etc.

    We eventually got some newer ThinkCentres, ThinkPads and SMARTboards to prepare ourselves for a new decade. The boards couldn't be calibrated for shit, and one of the ThinkPads blue screened during a math class. And the machines were still slow!

    High school: we transitioned from Mac Minis and iMacs to Dell SFFs and beaten-up ThinkPad T5XXs running Windows 10. A few classes were disrupted by Windows updates and we lost our Adobe CS6 and some old port of a '90s basic CAD program to be replaced with Photoshop Express, a UWP monstrosity that is in the same league as MS Paint.

    And here I am in college, where all student-facing machines are Dell Latitudes or ThinkPad T500s running Windows 10 (ugh). It takes me up to 6 minutes to sign into the domain, and then there are quite a few startup items and some office extensions which make it slow as well. The staff look down on the Windows 10 and macOS-using zombies in their offices where Windows 7 reigns.

    Oddly enough, out of hundreds of student-owned laptops I saw, only two other people are not running macOS or Windows 10 (one with 8.1 and another with 7). I brought my T60 with win2k and my friend thought my 4:3 screen was weird. Lots of them also use Office 365 (when there are legit office 2016 licences for under 40 CAD on Amazon! where has the brain trust gone?)

  • In elementary school, we had a bunch of IBM PS/2 model 25's running DOS in the computer lab and a couple of Apple's (No idea on the specifics) in the library to play things like Oregon trail on. Then when I was in first or second grade, they started running electric and networking for the new machines which were Compaq deskpro's running this new fangled OS called Windows 95.

    Middle school was pretty much the same. Compaq Deskpro's running 95.

    High school started out the same. Compaq deskpro's with a mix of 95 and 98 SE. There were also some that had 2000, but it was rare. Toward the end, they had upgraded to Dell Optiplex GX150's (I think, can't fully remember the model. But it was the ones with the clam shell case) running XP.

    College had newer Dell Optiplex's all running XP in the beginning and by the time I graduated, they had been upgraded to Windows 7 and most of those same machines now are running Windows 10. Student laptops were varied. I used to keep a database listing everything I saw so I could look at the trends more objectively:

    So lots of mac's and Dell's running Vista. I think I was the only one crazy enough to run Windows 8 at that time before I graduated.

  • @win32 said:
    Coming from a much later era, my elementary schools had IBM NetVista desktops with Williamette P4s (some were celerons) and 256 or 512 MB of RAM, running Windows XP Pro SP2/3 unbearably slow. I remember being very impatient and attempting to launch IE when the OS was loading services, causing me to open over 100 browser windows frequently. Some of them had win2k/me stickers affixed to them, and I thought they should have ordered 2000 licences to save us all some grief. They had Office 2003, Tux Paint and Kid Pix going from memory.

    The 4 or 5 eMac G4s with Tiger weren't bad though, but I had trouble adjusting to the quirks of OS X, like closing programs by their windows then by the toolbar.

    The school did nurture my hobby somewhat, by way of letting me take apart some beige box hanging around the computer room, "donating" their copy of Works 95 to me, and a ~800-page book in the library that talked about the up-and-coming "Katmai" processor, 95 OSR2's built-in scanner acquisition software, how the 486 is obsolete etc.

    We eventually got some newer ThinkCentres, ThinkPads and SMARTboards to prepare ourselves for a new decade. The boards couldn't be calibrated for shit, and one of the ThinkPads blue screened during a math class. And the machines were still slow!

    High school: we transitioned from Mac Minis and iMacs to Dell SFFs and beaten-up ThinkPad T5XXs running Windows 10. A few classes were disrupted by Windows updates and we lost our Adobe CS6 and some old port of a '90s basic CAD program to be replaced with Photoshop Express, a UWP monstrosity that is in the same league as MS Paint.

    And here I am in college, where all student-facing machines are Dell Latitudes or ThinkPad T500s running Windows 10 (ugh). It takes me up to 6 minutes to sign into the domain, and then there are quite a few startup items and some office extensions which make it slow as well. The staff look down on the Windows 10 and macOS-using zombies in their offices where Windows 7 reigns.

    Oddly enough, out of hundreds of student-owned laptops I saw, only two other people are not running macOS or Windows 10 (one with 8.1 and another with 7). I brought my T60 with win2k and my friend thought my 4:3 screen was weird. Lots of them also use Office 365 (when there are legit office 2016 licences for under 40 CAD on Amazon! where has the brain trust gone?)

    Old thread, but are they still using Windows 7 in your college's offices? M$ stopped supporting it five months ago.

  • @Conrad said:
    Old thread, but are they still using Windows 7 in your college's offices? M$ stopped supporting it five months ago.

    In February they were. In fact there was one POS machine still running XP when I left in March.

    Oh and I forgot to say that there were some student-facing laptops (ThinkPad T500s) that ran Windows 7 after all; they were just hidden away in the "experimental" teaching room that kinda looked like a daycare playroom.

    And also early this year, they finally started purchasing Latitude/Precision laptops with NVMe SSDs as opposed to HDDs. Thus, Windows 10 finally became nice to use with the exception of missing tray icons (blank spaces where they're supposed to be).

  • In elementary school we had Dell OptiPlex GX110s with Windows 98. When I moved to middle school, it was a mixture of machines. A couple had Windows 2000 on them, but most were some sort of Dells in the darker cases with XP Pro and CRT monitors. Throughout high school we still had Dells with Windows XP, albeit a bit newer. I graduated in 2013.

    Fast forward to 2020: I started a new job in May in the same district I grew up in. Most of the buildings are exactly the same, and some of my old teachers still work there.

    Some of the desktop computer labs we had are now filled with Windows laptops, or older Windows desktops that were converted into ChromeOS labs. The graphics labs and honors computer labs (networking and programming classes) are Windows 10 desktops. Many of the classrooms have Chromebook carts, but only our middle school is 1:1.

    (I kind of dislike the direction the new IT manager has taken with regards to the laptops and mass rollout of Chromebooks, but I'm not going to bring that up just yet until I've settled in for a while longer)

  • In my primary school, there was these iMac G3s in every classroom yet the secretary office PCs with Windows NT 4. In secondary school, Dell computers with the great Windows 2000 and even still had that OS not long after I left school in 2007. Of course they were upgraded to XP and then 7 as time went on, and 10 after that.

    As with computers still using 7 despite its end of support, library computers still have it yet they were in the process of being upgraded to 10 at some point. Last time I checked was in March.

  • One trend I've noticed is that Apple was dominant in the educational market between the 1980s and 2000s, but now is non-existent.

    ChromeOS market share in the U.S. was up to 6% earlier this year, yet it was only 2% in Canada. There doesn't seem to be widespread education usage of Chromebooks in Canada like there is in the U.S.

  • @win32 said:
    One trend I've noticed is that Apple was dominant in the educational market between the 1980s and 2000s, but now is non-existent.

    Much like how offices were populated with Macs at that time too, until up to the early 90s or something. How times have changed, eh?

  • Most schools used the Acorn

  • On our first visit to the computer class room happened sometine in the early 90's. It was filled with Mac 512K or SE, running OS 6 or similar. I remember playing around the keyboard because the Mac was off, so nothing could happen. I didn't know Macs had a software power button on their keyboard. The teacher had to turn the machine off, as I couldn't find the shutdown command ;)

    Later in the 90's we had regular computer lessons (learning Office programs) on some kind of Pentium I running NT 4.0.

    During professional training – that was around 2003 – it was NT 4.0 again, running on Pentium II machines manufactured by a local supplier. Quite unspectacular, but efficient ;)

  • @Bry89 said:
    Much like how offices were populated with Macs at that time too, until up to the early 90s or something. How times have changed, eh?

    All of the information I've seen points to IBM PC-compatible dominance during the 1980s in business. Though Apple has always been prominent in creative industries.

    One reason that has been given for dropping Macs from schools was that the OS was not commonly used in office environments nor in homes (back when some American district dropped Apple around the PPC/Intel transition), thus not adequately preparing students for the computing environments of the "real world".

  • That would make less sense, because Apple had adopted Unix in Mac OS X by then, and Unix-like OSes are very much used in the "real world". Recently, most schools I know have undone 40 years of progress and adopted Chromebooks. Which, as far as I know, are not being used much in the business world.

  • I moved quite a bit when I was a kid, so I went between multiple school districts

    In my early years of elementary school, I don’t really remember there being computers, at least we never used them if there were

    When I switched school districts for the first time, the elementary school I went to then had a mix of Commodores, Ataris and Apple IIs (and/or other BASIC based systems) in the computer lab and I believe the classrooms had IBM PS/2s (but I don’t remember ever using them), there was ons Windows PC (Win95 I think, brand unknown) that was the only computer in the school with Internet access (dial-up)

    I then moved and switched school districts again, this time to a Mac centric district, the majority of them being Power Macintosh 5400 AIOs, though later there were also a mix of “Molar Macs” and iMacs added just before I started, then later as I went into middle school, as well as iBook mobile labs, there was also a computer lab that had a mix of older Macs along with some Non-Mac Apples (looked more like an Apple museum than a computer lab)

    By the time I was in high school most of the Macs were running Mac OS 9.0 ~ 9.2 and were just starting to get some iMacs running OS X (though OS X was already out for a few years beforehand as I was still in middle school, student use Macs just didn’t run it yet)

    When I was a Junior in high school, I elected to go to a vocational school, which used Compaqs/HPs and IBM ThinkCentres running a mix of Win98 and WinXP (they were just phasing out the Compaqs running Win98 with HPs and IBMs running XP, my lab ended up getting the old Compaqs as they were phased out) running the Novell Netware client

  • edited June 15

    @win32 said:
    One reason that has been given for dropping Macs from schools was that the OS was not commonly used in office environments nor in homes (back when some American district dropped Apple around the PPC/Intel transition), thus not adequately preparing students for the computing environments of the "real world".

    Which is very ironic considering they now are ditching Windows/Office for another platform that nobody in the real world uses: ChromeOS.

  • @nick99nack said:

    @win32 said:
    One reason that has been given for dropping Macs from schools was that the OS was not commonly used in office environments nor in homes (back when some American district dropped Apple around the PPC/Intel transition), thus not adequately preparing students for the computing environments of the "real world".

    Which is very ironic considering they now are ditching Windows/Office for another platform that nobody in the real world uses: ChromeOS

    It prepares them for the real world where people do everything in the browser and the underlying OS doesn't really matter anymore. And that browser is usually Chrome.

  • @BlueSun said:
    It prepares them for the real world where people do everything in the browser and the underlying OS doesn't really matter anymore. And that browser is usually Chrome.

    Maybe at home, but the vast majority of businesses (at least the ones I've worked in) still use regular applications, along with Windows and Office products. Even when applying for jobs, a large percentage of them specifically ask for experience using MS Office products.

  • Yeah, but that's changing all the time... Office can be used in the browser and more and more business apps are moving to web based. There's still a lot of them that require IE, but those will eventually be updated. Corporate is glacial.... they move at a snails pace.

    But any new / modern business is pretty much guaranteed to be using web based apps.

  • I don't recall seeing any computers for student use before sixth grade, around 1991. These were Apple II and IIe in a computer lab. I think they were probably ancient by this point. This school was sixth and seventh grade, so I didn't see anything newer for student use until 8th grade, which was junior high. The junior library high had some PC Jr and one XT with a 5154 monitor, all booted from floppy. I remember playing a sherlock holmes "booter" and when I tried to copy it with diskcopy, it would come up with a message saying how you went to jail for pirating software. I think I was able to copy it with copyiipc eventually so we could use it on more than one computer. The school also have a brand new computer lab with IBM PS/1 consultant or advisor or something like that. I remember them being 486 SX 25 and they teacher was so excited about them because 486 was the fastest thing you could buy, so she said. Of course they were the slowest 486 you could get, but they worked great for what we were doing. They had windows 3.1 and Works and the teacher even had a laser printer of some sort. There was also an "industrial tech" class and we had some computers at various stations, I remember a 386 DX DTK branded computer running autocad R12 for DOS. Some of the teachers of various classes had a computer in their classroom, but it wasn't too common. I recall one teacher had Microsoft Word for DOS, which I didn't know existed, I had only seen the windows version of Word, everyone I knew used wordperfect for DOS (and I had wordstar, because I was poor and it was cheap at a garage sale). Near the end of the school year, I remember the library getting an upgrade. Dell had just decided to stop selling in stores, and the Sam's Club had a pair of display model Pentiums, one 60 and one 66 that the school got for cheap. I remember they had to call dell to figure out how to get out of the demo software that started up automatically. We never got to use these, at least not while I was there. There was a home ec classroom that had a lot of macs, I wasn't a mac person, and I'm still not, but looking at photos online, I'm pretty sure they were Mac LC. they had a separate monitor and a little thin computer that sat under it.

    By the time I got to highschool, 1994 or so, there was a computer in almost every classroom. The school at a 56k connection to the university and all of the computers had mosaic or even netscape, with the big N that would pop in and out while loading a page. There were still dinoarsaurs too. I recall a typing class I took, and they had old PS/2 of various types some 8086 or 286, running DOS and I remember changing the prompt to say something like "Non-System disk or disk error" and it stayed "broken" for like a week because they didn't know what to do.

  • @BlueSun said:
    Yeah, but that's changing all the time... Office can be used in the browser and more and more business apps are moving to web based. There's still a lot of them that require IE, but those will eventually be updated. Corporate is glacial.... they move at a snails pace.

    But any new / modern business is pretty much guaranteed to be using web based apps.

    I'm surprised there are STILL a lot of corporate intranet sites that require IE in 2020. I thought that stopped. I guess those are the only websites that won't function properly unless you use IE, at this point. I guess businesses is where most of IE's usage comes from these days.

    Seems like that, as well as the requirement of IE for at least legacy applications, is why Windows 10 still comes with IE preinstalled with no option to remove it.

    Didn't most websites outside of corporate intranets basically stop being IE-only around 2006/2007? Funnily enough, many are Chrome-only now.

    Honestly, are there still any applications that refuse to install without IE? And sorry to go off-topic.

  • edited June 17

    Honestly, are there still any applications that refuse to install without IE? And sorry to go off-topic.

    Some recent Adobe CC Master Collection installers will not render properly on a system with only IE8 (background but no text or dialog buttons); I had to upgrade to IE11 to get one such installer to work on a Windows 7 machine.

    Windows 7 is also the first version of Windows since 98 where it was decoupled from the shell. Using "add or remove Windows features" you can tear out the guts of IE 98lite-style, with the only parts remaining for general compatibility purposes.

    Edge also has some level of integration within Windows 10, as only its web components can interface with UWP apps. But again, if you install LTSB/LTSC (or mod your ISO with MSMG toolkit or NTLite, remove the appx package using PowerShell etc.), the frontend of Edge has been obliterated along with Candy Crush and the Windows Store.

  • There's at least one of our intranet web apps that doesn't work with chrome. Though it does work fine in chrome on my machine, it doesn't on anyone else's and I'm really not sure what I've done differently to make it work.

    It was made back in 97 and the original devs are gone. So the current devs are just maintaining it, fixing the odd thing or two here and there, but it really needs a total rewrite. All their new web apps are using more modern code and it works fine in chrome.

    We have a lot of client sites we access and more and more of them require chrome or some more modern browser.

  • My computer class teacher told me the history of computers in my school. It goes like this: At the beginning, there were no computers. Some time later they bought DOS computers and probably a few mac's, but at the time Win 95 came out they decided that mac's were "Too complicated for students" and fully moved to Windows (which remains to this day). So they upgraded to Win 95 PC's and when Win 98 came out they upgraded to that. When XP came out, they upgraded to some IBM computers with XP, as usual. But when Win 7 came out, things started getting a little bit out of control. They decided to NOT upgrade the OS until the next one came along (Win 8), decision that carried some problems. The computers started to randomly disconnect from the internet (for some reason), they became slow over time, Office 2007 was slow, and sometimes they bluescreened randomly. The school finally decided they had had enough, so in 2016 after coming back from spring break, all the old IBM computers were replaced with modern HP PC's with i3's, the current computers they use (some have i5's and 1 has an i7), and upgraded to Windows 10 and Office 2016.
  • I'm not in school, but I do help with technology work for my local school district. They are currently in the process of replacing Windows 7 Enterprise with Windows 10 Enterprise. Most of the machines are Lenovo ThinkCentres from around 2011-2013, but they have gotten a few batches of new AMD Ryzen based ThinkCentres. Those machines are far nicer than the older ones. We have used ThinkCentres for many years now, but we used to also use Dell OptiPlex machines. There are still a few of those floating around.
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