PLATO Got me interested in computers


PLATO – Program Logic for Automatic Teaching Operation was installed in the Basement of

the G Lecture Hall at UIC, then known as “Circle” when I was attending. I was taking a Microeconomics course, and

I was freakedout because I had never taken an econ test, and the teacher did not tell us whether it would be essay, multiple choice, figuring out equations, or what.

PLATO had a huge test bank of econ questions. You could set it up to make a 10 question test for you, that it would grade and provide you with correct answers for the questions you missed. I happily sat in that stuffy basement lab, taking test after test until I had the confidence that I could take the actual test. Pretty good for an Education major to get a B+ in Econ. I LOVED PLATO.

There was a game, a simulation of the first year of teaching that was fantastic, too. I saw the future of education in PLATO, though the hardware and software were no where near what we have today.

Any LMS that would post a tribute to PLATO is off to a good start.

“The PLATO system went through many revisions over a period of decades. The first system was programmed on the ILLIAC I system. The ILLIAC I measured ten feet high, two feet wide, and eight and a half feet tall and weighed about five tons. It utilized 2,800 vacuum tubes. In the 1970’s a touch screen interface was utilized on a much smaller form factor, featuring a monochromatic orange display. Content was created with the TUTOR programming language, which was used to create thousands of hours of lesson material.”

via The First LMS.

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