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Teaching Machines

A Hack Education Project

I’ve been pretty aware of how angry that voice is in the last few HEWNs I’ve sent out. And I know that that’s my reputation: I’m ed-tech’s Cassandra. A very very pissed off one at that. I didn’t want Teaching Machines to be an angry book as much as I...

I’ve often quipped that, to borrow from historian Ellen Condliffe Lagemann’s assertion that “Dewey lost; Thorndike won,” when it comes to ed-tech “Papert lost, and Skinner won.” But Teaching Machines isn’t really a book of quips, and in order to make the argument that Skinner has continued to have an...

This article was cross-posted to Hack Education and to HEWN A couple of years ago, MIT released a report titled “Online Education: A Catalyst for Higher Education Reforms.” Among its recommendations were to “support the expanding profession of the ‘learning engineer’” – a person who possesses “knowledge base in the...

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...

I submitted the draft of Teaching Machines to my editor at MIT Press at the end of May. I haven’t looked at the manuscript since, although I’ve been mulling over various parts and passages in my head almost nonstop. Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve read a...

I’ve updated the landing page for this site so that the verbiage better aligns with what the book is actually going to be about. That being said, I loved the old landing page – the reference to The Matrix, for example. So I’m just cutting and pasting it here, for...

Joy Lisi Rankin’s book A People’s History of Computing in the United States tells a story that runs counter to what she describes as the “Silicon Valley mythology”: “This compelling myth tells us that, once upon a time, modern computers were big (and maybe even bad) mainframes. International Business Machines,...

Earlier this spring, I posted a request, asking for The Internet to help me track down Norman A. Crowder, someone I’d hoped to make one of the key characters in Teaching Machines. Six+ months later, I’m really no closer to finding out more details about him. Yes, I’ve made some...

I can tell that it’s almost time for me to turn from research to writing. I’m dreaming about the book. I dream about its organization. I dream about the acknowledgements. I dream about what primary documents are left to track down and to read. I dream about how I’m going...

Update: Thank you to everyone who has offered to send me the PDFs of the four articles below. I still need to figure out how I will get my hands on a bunch of similarly non-digitized stuff. But for now, I have been well take-care-of. This isn’t a “lazy web”...