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VIC-20 is a People Pleaser at Scales School (1986)

VIC-20 is a People Pleaser at Scales School (1986)

©1986, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (1986). VIC-20 is a People Pleaser at Scales School. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.




My CV shows this article appearing in the NCUG Magazine in 1986, but I remember going to Scales School and writing the article early in my days at NCUG. That would date it to 1982 or early 1983. I remember preparing the piece for a newspaper—probably the Nashville Tennessean, and I seem to remember once having had a clipping—but it’s nowhere to be found now. Perhaps I disremember.


Vic Kids 1

Students at Scales School Using VIC-20 Computers


VIC-20 is a People Pleaser at Scales School

By Dallas Denny


On April 14 the VIC-20s were going at Scales Elementary School in Brentwood, Tennessee, near Nashville. Members of the Nashville Commodore Users Group lined the walls of the cafeteria, each manning a VIC, and explained various aspects of the rainbow machine to fascinated members of the Parent-Teacher Association. One Machine played music, another spoke with the help of a Votrax Type ‘n’ Talk speech synthesizer, a third drew beautiful Super Expander graphics, and a fourth showed how helpful the VIC can be in keeping track of information like grades and attendance. One user had written a program that told where to look in the sky at any time to find satellites.

Another VIC was used to demonstrate the capabilities of the VIC 1541 disk drive and the VIC 1525E graphic printer. The librarian of the users group showed sample after sample from the group’s growing library of public domain programs.

Meanwhile, the students of Scales Elementary proudly showed their parents and neighbors programs that they had themselves written using Human Engineered Software’s Turtle Graphics cartridge. For, you see, VIC-20s were not strangers to scales school before April 14. Using money donated by the Parents Club, 12 VICs and datassettes were purchased in January. Since then two more VICs joined the ranks, and there are plans to purchase even more.

Vic Teacher

Scales School Teacher Marie Pearce

Marie Pearce is chairperson of the Computer Literacy Committee at Scales. “We felt the VIC-20 met our objectives better than competing brands.

“The primary objective of the committee was that as many students as possible be able to have hands-on experience with a computer. Other considerations were availability of educational software and a local dealer who would provide start-up and continuing support.

“Some of the teachers, especially of the first and second grades, felt strongly that both upper and lower case characters were needed. We liked the keyboard of the VIC. feel that typing is an important skill in today’s world.

“Students in K-6 use the VIC. We have 12 Turtle Graphics cartridges, and the children write and de-bug their own programs.”

Ms. Pearce said the students love the VICs. “And not only the students! The husband of one of the teachers was so impressed that he went out and bought one for each of his three children. Several of the teachers and some of the parents have bought VICs also.”

The Nashville Commodore users group was formerly the Nashville Vic Users Group. “We felt we needed a broader base,” said the group’s president, Dave Rushing. “A lot of our members have already purchased Commodore 64’s. There are many more similarities than differences in the various Commodore computers. I’d like to have a 64 myself. The VIC in my family belongs to my son, Devin. His grandparents bought it for him. I’m lucky to get to use it.

“One of the group’s main purposes is to provide any assistance we can to the educational system. We were happy to show off our VICs. My hat is off to Brad Powers, a member of our group who has a son at Scales, for helping to arrange the show, and to the members of the Parent’s Club of Scales School for all the hard work it took to raise the necessary money.”