15 May 2009

Digital Planet investigates the history of the PC

The Open University and Digital Planet, BBC World Service’s Weekly Technology programme, have joined forces to produce six special co-produced editions of the programme.

The next programme will be broadcast on Tuesday 26 May and will feature the history of the PC. It will involve a trip to the newly opened PC gallery at the Bletchley Park History of Computing Museum, and an interview with Pixelh8, a musician who has written music using the sounds of old computers housed at the museum.

Hosted by Gareth Mitchell, Digital Planet brings the clearest, sharpest guide to developments in our connected world to a worldwide audience via radio, digital and online.

Dr Tony Hirst from the Department of Communication and Systems at The Open University and academic advisor for the series said: “With the spread of digital technologies across the world, we are increasingly seeing some of the most innovative applications of new devices and technologies in African schools and South American LAN Houses.

"Our partnership with Digital Planet will allow us to see how technology is being used and re-purposed in the wider world, and maybe rethink how we use those same technologies in our own everyday lives.

"There is no escaping the fact that we are now living on a digital planet. The next few years will see the explosive growth of location aware devices and the internet of things. By reporting on stories with Digital Planet, first hand, from the corners of the world, we will better appreciate just how far-reaching the digital world has become.

"I'm particularly excited about the role that we at the OU can play in this partnership. With the open2.net team, we are exploring how we can use map based websites to provide additional content around the Digital Planet programmes, showing just how far reaching across the globe the reported stories are. We're hoping to engage Digital Planet's global audience too, and get them to contribute content back to our supporting website, and maybe into the programme itself."

"I'm also hoping that the international scope of the programme will mean that we are able to capture some stories that will be of to interest OU students across a wide variety of courses, from web technologies to technology management, geography and ecology to international development. Who knows, we may even be able to get a Digital Planet news feed directly into some of those courses?"

Digital Planet can be listened to in the UK via BBC Online, DAB Digital Radio, Virgin Media Channel 906, Sky Digital Channel 0115 and Freeview Channel 710. The programme is also available as a free podcast downloadable from the BBC.

Editor’s Notes

Digital Planet is an Open University/BBC co- production for the BBC World Service. The first of a series of six co-productions will broadcast at 10.30am GMT on Tuesday January 27 2009.

Editor for the BBC is Deborah Cohen.

Multiplatform Commissioning Executive for the BBC is Catherine McCarthy. The Open University Academic Consultant is Dr Tony Hirst. The Broadcast Learning Executive for The Open University is Dr Janet Sumner.

The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.

The BBC exists to enrich people’s lives with great programmes and services on television, radio and online that inform, educate and entertain. Its vision is to be the most creative, trusted organization in the world. BBC reporters and correspondents at home and abroad can be called on for expert coverage across a huge range of subject areas. With over 70 foreign bureaux, the BBC has the largest newsgathering operation in the world. BBC World Service provides international news, analysis and information in English and 31 other languages.

Related Courses and programmes from The Open University:-
- TU120 Beyond Google, working with information online
- T183 Design and the Web
- T189 Digital Photography; creating and sharing better images
- T184 Robotics and the meaning of life; A practical guide to things that think
- T187 Vandalism in Cyberspace

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