The humble computer mouse celebrates its 40th anniversary today.

On 9 December 1968 hi-tech visionary Douglas Engelbart first used one to demonstrate novel ways of working with computers.

The first mouse that Dr Engelbart used in the demo at the Fall Joint Computer Conference (FJCC) was made of wood and had one button.

Much of the technology shown off in the demo inspired the creation of the hardware and software now widely used.

Our first computer was a BBC in about 1986. After placing the tape into the recorder, and waiting 20 minutes we were delighted to play ping pong  on screen (can’t recall the game’s name). Later we played Philosopher’s Quest and Granny’s Garden.           quest                              granny     I had an instinctive feeling that digital technology would be of crucial importance to the learning of those children with whom I was most concerned: those who struggled with formal teaching (as well as to my own children). Even the drill and practice software made learning more immediate than traditional teaching (the computer never gritted its teeth in the face of continued difficulty) and those very early simulations allowed young people to play a little. When my sons graduated to ‘The Sims’ and a program that simulated a hospital theatre I knew we were on to something – even though I was not particularly interested in entering these worlds.

And how things have changed. Roll on Education 3.0!