24. The Teaching Machine

This not so current film clip highlights B.F. Skinner’s thoughts on what he called Teaching Machines. He was of course writing before the advent of computers – he was certainly ahead of his time.

If you decide to watch the whole video (it has a nostalgic elementary filmstrip quality to it!) listen for his discussion on how the curriculum for the teaching machines is designed.  B.F. Skinner states, “A student who is learning by machine moves at the rate most effective for him… He does this by taking a large number of very small steps – arranged in a coherent order.  Each step is so small that he is almost certain to take it correctly.”  Does this sound like anyone else we have been wondering about?  Perhaps Maria Montessori… Unlikely “colleagues” but colleagues indeed.


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