Although the potential value of human-to-computer interaction is tremendous and, as of 2013, largely untapped in higher education, the use of it in 1940s grade school as part of rote learning is simply creepy.

3 thoughts on “B.F. Skinner explains the value of “teaching machines”

  1. Like all technology it is a tool. The principles, immediate feedback and working at own pace, is correct. But softskill development is an important component to an education which something like this would destroy. Also, Pearson’s Lab products like MyMathLab is obviously based on this teaching machine.


  2. Agreed. There is a clear line between the technology Skinner describes and certain types of contemporary educational technology. The part of the video that I found “creepy” was the sight of these small children, lined up in rows, not interacting with each other, feverishly responding to the demands of the “machine” – which directs them through punishment-reward tactics. All very “industrial”.


  3. Industrial was the pinnacle of the time. The engine of the economy was manufacturing. Schools were about training the kids to follow authority and work in the factories. Under these kids would the knowledge economy rise.


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