April 1, 2023

PLATO How an educational computer system from the ’60s shaped the unborn

PLATO How an educational computer system from the ’60s shaped the unborn

Bright plates, a touchscreen, a speech synthesizer, messaging apps, games, and educational software — no, it’s not your sprat’s iPad. This is themid-1970s, and you are using PLATO.

Far from its comparatively primitive coevals of teletypes and punch cards, PLATO was commodity additionalentirely.However, you just might have gotten a chance to make the future, If you were fortunate enough to be near the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign( UIUC) around a half- century agone. numerous of the computing inventions we treat as commonplace started with this system, and indeed moment, some of PLATO’s capabilities have noway been precisely duplicated. moment, we’ll look back on this influential technological testbed and see how you can witness it now.

Don Bitzer was a PhD pupil in electrical engineering at UIUC in 1959, but his eye was on bigger effects than circuitry. “ I’d been reading protrusions that said that 50 percent of the scholars coming out of our high seminaries were functionally illiterate, ” he latterly told a Wired canvasser . “ There was a physicist in our lab, Chalmers Sherwin, who was not hysterical to ask big questions. One day, he asked,’ Why can not we use computers for education?’ ”

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