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Teaching Machines

A Hack Education Project

I wrapped up my research at ETS today. Honestly, yesterday was the big day in terms of uncovering materials that are pertinent to my book. Today was one of those bonus days, where one finds a bunch of stuff that makes one say “Oh, I want to write a book...

I arrived at Landgraf Hall a little earlier today, but archival research is hard work, and I’ve left a little earlier too. My back is killing me. But I made huge progress today through the materials that I was hoping to find – letters to and from Reynold Johnson documenting...

I’m in Princeton, New Jersey this week at the Educational Testing Service headquarters where Ben D. Wood’s papers are housed. I’m here primarily to look into some of IBM’s teaching machine history, and Wood – who was a professor at Columbia as well as the head of ETS – served...

Cross-posted at 2018trends.hackeducation.com For the last eight years, I’ve spent all of November and December writing my infamous “Year in Reviews,” analyzing all the dominant narratives that have been floated about the future of education and ed-tech. I’m working on Teaching Machines this year, I’m rather loathe to interrupt that...

One of the things I probably need to define in the book is “what counts” as a teaching machine. I’d rather do so as broadly as possible without losing any meaning or significance to the phrase. In more ways than one, it’s a minefield, and I already get snide comments...

I’ve spent much of the last week preparing a talk I delivered today to a class at the University of South Florida. You can read it here. It’s a bit rambling, no doubt, but it’s helped me start to think about how central B. F. Skinner is to the book...

“When people say they’re doing research, I say, You’re just postponing writing.” —Mary Karr https://t.co/i9eMxjL0l0— The Paris Review (@parisreview) October 9, 2018 Yes, I am doing research, and yes, I am postponing the writing. But I disagree strongly here about the word “just.” The research right now is everything, and...

Thanks to the funding and advocacy of tech billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, “personalized learning” is one of the “hot, new” trends in education – even though the concept itself is centuries old. Perhaps Socrates-years-old. Indeed, even “personalized learning” as facilitated by machines is neither that new or...

I’m one day late, according to my own editorial calendar at least, penning this week’s update on the progress on Teaching Machines. I have been busy – I’ve been reading a lot of Douglas Noble and David Noble, for starters. I’ve also been working on a talk I’m set to...

I’ve read a couple of histories this past week on the development of twentieth-century (military) technologies: Thomas Rid’s Rise of the Machines and Douglas Noble’s The Classroom Arsenal. (I’m interested, obviously, in the role of the military in building teaching machines.) One thing that was particularly striking about these two...