Learning Curve

1924: Teaching Machine.

Marketplace Contributor May 14, 2014

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?

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.