Students at Geelong Grammar preparatory campus in Toorak learning to program Valiant Turtle robot. Photo taken by Liddy Nevile.
In this photograph the students have moved out of the classroom and into the yard to physically test the programming path for the robot Valiant Turtle. In the early 1980s, the emergence of personal computers saw young children interact with computers, some playing with letters on keyboards and others programming screen objects and robots.This digital image forms part of the Sunrise Collection which includes educational robots, software and multimedia recordings of teachers and students exploring new possibilities with computer programming. 'Computational thinking' in a constructionist environment was emerging in Victoria throughout the 1980s and 90s.


The Sunrise Collection is comprised of microcomputer and robotics hardware and software as well as audio-visual and print materials that document their use as educational technologies by students and teachers in schools and other education settings during the 1980s and early 1990s. Although a very small number of Australian schools had explored computing as part of their educational offerings in the 1970s, it was during the 1980s, driven by technological innovation in microcomputing and developments in computer education policies and funding, that computers and computing became a common feature of Australian schools. In this historical context, three features of the Sunrise Collection establish its significance.

First, the collection preserves some key technical hardware that was actually deployed in educational settings during this nascent period of computer education in Australia. Second, the collection documents how teachers, students and other stakeholders responded to and reflected upon their engagement with these technologies at the time. The images in particular capture the early experience of computers for students from a diversity of educational environments; Geelong Grammar preparatory school, MLC, Yooralla, Princes Hill Secondary School and Victorian Aboriginal Educational Association run camps. Third, the collection documents the development and implementation of a particular exploratory and progressive approach to educational computing in Australia. This 'Sunrise' approach challenged policy makers and educators to think of computers as presenting an opportunity to radically reform practices of learning and teaching rather than simply being a new technology to be integrated into existing practice.

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