I’m going to try to write weekly updates here – sometimes chronicling what I’ve accomplished over the last seven days, sometimes working through thoughts and ideas, and sometimes showcasing discoveries that I’ve made in my research.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks going through all the notes (and photos and files) I’ve accumulated so far and tagging everything with names and dates. I’m using Scrivener for this – probably not so much to write the book, but certainly to organize my research.

I’m still very much at the research stage of the book, and I’m not sure I’ll begin writing until I have at least 85% of that research done. That means locating Norman Crowder’s papers (hopefully) and talking to Alan Kay (and perhaps some other figures from Xerox PARC) about the Dynabook. Despite the failed trip to Stanford to look at Patrick Suppes’ papers, his students have come through with lots of material to help round out the research for that chapter. (I do want to talk to Richard Atkinson too about the founding of CCC.)

There are at least three companies that I want to find more about – IBM, US Industries (Western Design, specifically), and Xerox PARC. Corporate archives are a little bit different than university ones. I’ll probably send some inquiries out this week to see what’s available and accessible. As Crowder’s work was with the military (as was some of Pressey’s and Skinner’s), I also need to ascertain if there are military records about these machines anywhere.

There’s still a ton to do. Deadline for my first draft: April 2019.

Audrey Watters


Teaching Machines

A Hack Education Project

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