As I turn to editing, I do still have a few lingering research questions – questions that I figured I’d post here so I can have them top-of-mind while editing (and, of course, in case anyone out there can help me):

  • What happened to the Center for Programed Instruction? When and why did it close?
  • Why did Norman Crowder start working on programmed instruction? And what role did his employer, U.S. Industries, play in making sure his “alternative” to Skinner’s instructional technology was given such prominence in the media?
  • What are the connections between cybernetics and teaching machines?
  • Is there a good corporate or military case study with the use of teaching machines – one well-documented in archival materials? Say, Hughes Aircraft? (And how does this connect to the rest of the story I'm telling?)
  • Are there letters (or other primary sources) that address the use of programmed instruction in Freedom Summer? (And if so, do I have time to take another research trip?)

Audrey Watters


Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning

Audrey Watters, (MIT Press 2021)

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