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Teaching Machines

A Hack Education Project

Today was my last day in the archives. I had two boxes of letters to go through and three boxes of newspaper clippings. (In the week I’ve spent here, I’ve barely scratched the surface of Skinner’s papers. There are, for example, still some 23 more boxes of correspondence to go...

I’m out of the archives early today. B. F. Skinner’s papers are housed offsite, so I have to put in a request a day in advance to have materials brought to the reading room. I plowed through everything I’d requested for today in record time. There wasn’t much of interest...

Day 3 of my archival work was the hardest so far. (Here are updates from Days 1 and 2.) It is just so exhausting to sit for hours on end going through boxes and boxes of papers – trying to move as quickly as possible, trying to figure out if...

(I’m at Harvard this week, going through B. F. Skinner’s archives. You can read about Day 1 here.) So I greatly miscalculated how many boxes of materials I can get through this week. I made progress today, but I am definitely going to have to come back to Cambridge again....

I’m at Harvard all this week, which is overwhelming in its own right. I’m here to research B. F. Skinner’s papers, housed at the university archives – even more overwhelming knowing that I have 30 hours and that there are some 27+ cubic feet of materials to go through. I...

The School of Journalism is holding its commencement ceremony this week, and even though I’m not graduating I’m going – I guess it’s worth taking part in some sort of end-of-Spencer ritual. I’ll have more to say elsewhere about “what happened” and “what’s next,” but I thought I’d quickly note...

I am working on (the book proposal for) Teaching Machines, and I plan to include a chapter on Norman A. Crowder, inventor of the TextTutor and AutoTutor. Image credits: ad in Popular Science, 1961 Much of my research on other twentieth century inventors of teaching machines involves my visiting university...

I wrapped up my visit to The Ohio State University Archives today. (And I’m already planning my next trip to a university archives – that would be Harvard in May.) Among the materials I went through today were the correspondences between Sidney Pressey and several manufacturing companies, as he tried...

Tomorrow is my last day at The OSU Archives, and I know that I’ve saved the best for last – or rather, the way in which Sidney Pressey’s papers are arranged, I will finally get to all the correspondence surrounding his attempts in the 1930s to commercialize his teaching machines....

As I noted earlier this year, I am taking Sam Freedman’s “book writing” class this term – taking it as an independent study, to be clear, which means I have to write a book proposal in the next week or so. I’m spending my Spring Break, in part, working on...