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Google Doodle, 1 December 2022

Gerald ‘Jerry’ Lawson

These days, if you are lucky,  when you open your favourite web browser at Google’s home page, you often see an illustration where the red, green, blue and yellow logo should be.  If you are even luckier, it’s not just an illustration, it’s an interactive image.  And on rare days like today (1 December) you feel like you have won the lottery, because the illustration is actually an interactive game-editing tool.

These images used by Google to celebrate lives or special events, are called Google Doodle and there have been many fantastic examples over the past few years.  However, today, the 1st December 2022, would have been the 82nd birthday of Gerald ‘Jerry’ Lawson, and as the pupils of Beechwood Park discovered today, his birthday is a day that deserves a Google Doodle of such brilliance that it truly reflects the achievements of this inspirational man.

As a child of the 1940’s, Jerry was inspired to tinker, to break-and-repair, and to build his own electronics projects. As an African-American, he faced many challenges, but he was inspired by inventor George Washington Carver to develop his own projects that ultimately led to him pursuing a career in electronics.

He developed the very first cartridge-based Fairchild Channel F computer game system (the ‘F’ stood for ‘Fun’!), the sort of which many of you may have played as a child, which was the precursor to the mega-game systems that are now so commonplace in homes today.

All Beechwood’s computing pupils – from Year 4 to Year 7 –  today temporarily set aside the other topics they have been studying in order to learn more about this great man and his legacy, by using today’s fantastic  Google Doodle to build their own 8-bit computer mini-games, and to share them in the same spirit of enjoyment and FUN that Jerry espoused throughout his life.   One Year 7 pupil said: “I am so glad I learned about Jerry, because now I know that someone from the same heritage as my family helped to develop the computer games that have become the incredible ones that we play today.  Without people like Jerry, of African heritage, some of these developments would never have existed”.  Another said, “Would a brilliant day – learning about a computer genius and making games like him by stepping in his footsteps’.

Oh, and if you are feeling nostalgic, then why not have a go at it yourself?”

Drew Buddie
Director of Digital Learning