Oral Histories and Occasional Writings:

What I learned FOR, WITH, ABOUT, or THROUGH computing…

This section of the Open Educative Systems Blog is for you to tell readers about your experiences with using computers to learn and to teach. It will begin with oral histories collected at the Vintage Computer Festival – West, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, USA on 7 & 8 August, 2021. (Coming soon)

Please add your stories in the message section below (scroll down).

Just to prime your pump, immediately below are some of the questions we are asking exhibitors and attendees at the Festival. Feel free to respond to these any of these questions or make up your own. We will review your messages and publish everything that is fit to print. Be sure to tell us whether you want your name associated with your comments or prefer anonymous quotes.

Oral History Interview: 

What I have learned about, from and through computing and computers.


Hello, I’m _____________. I’m a volunteer oral historian for LO*OP Center, Inc.

LO*OP Center, Inc. is researching how computing has impacted individual learning over the years. We want to understand when and what kind of contact you have had with this technology, what you learned from that contact, and how you recommend others might use it to enhance their own learning goals. It will be helpful to hear what you have learned, in general, about computers and computing, what you have learned about other aspects of your life as a result of your contact with computers and what, if anything, you have learned through computers as a medium as compared with books, videos and live teachers or coaches. Would you be interested in telling us a little about your experience?  Don’t worry, we’ll go over those topics again during the interview. Getting the bare bones will take about 10 minutes but you can tell as many stories as you’d like. It’s ok to interrupt the interview and get together later.

Preliminary Information about Interviewee


Written notes or audio recording or video recording ok? (Circle and say choice)

Use name or keep anonymous?  (Circle and say choice)

Today’s Location/event:

Interviewee name:

Contact info for later:

Gender identity (optional):

Approximate age today (0-5, 6-12, 13-22, 23-65, 66 or more):

Permission granted to use direct quotes, audio recording, video: (Circle and say choice)

(If under 18, get permission from parent/guardian or keep anonymous)

Send copy of interview to:

Other restrictions or withholds:

If you say something you don’t want published, just say so and we’ll redact it from the interview.

Semi-Structured Interview Questions

Please tell me about your first contact with computers.

Age at first contact:

Circumstances (home, school, friend, hobby, workplace, etc.)

Attitude about computers before first contact

Attitude about computers after first contact

Activities (games, programming, school drill, testing, email, work application, personal application, streaming movies or sports events, reading text, other)

Was it fun, drudgery, or something else?

Did you want more contact? Were you hooked, neutral or put off?

What happened next?

Let’s jump ahead to today…

What’s your relationship with computing today?

About how long has it been since your first contact?

What “smart” electronic devices do you use today? (Computers, tablets, smart phones, smart speakers or appliances, home surveillance systems, self-driving cars, industrial robots, others)

Please tell us, briefly, some of the most important things you have learned about computers and computing.

What do you think you have learned about yourself?

Has computing helped you learn about the rest of the world, beyond computing? How so? What?

Have you used computers as tools to learn formal academic subjects like math or history? What was the situation?

Do you think computers belong in school/university classrooms? Why or why not?

Have you used computing to help you learn independently, outside of school or university? How did/does that work out for you?

Beyond searching the Internet for answers to factual questions, what role do you foresee for computing in education in the future?

Is there anything else you want to tell us about, anything you wish we had asked?

This has been really interesting. Thank you very much. We’ll be back in touch with you in about 6 to 8 weeks. It may be a year before we have a final report. Shall we email it to you? What address: