Sidney Pressey made the first one in the 1920’s. It looked like a typewriter, with a window where a question appeared, and keys to choose the answer.
Teaching machines were meant to individualize learning, liberate teachers from the burdens of drilling and testing, and save students from one-size fits all education. (Not unlike the promise of computers in classrooms today).
Unfortunately for Pressey, the machine was not a commercial success – 250 machines were produced but only 160 were sold. Pressey’s machine did influence later advocates of machine learning, like B.F. Skinner. And maybe Steve Jobs?
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