Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW
Learning Curve

1957: Skinner Teaching Machine.

Marketplace Contributor May 14, 2014

It’s all about stimulus and response.  Developed by behavioral scientist B.F. Skinner, the machine—and its many iterations– made it possible for students to move through lessons at their own pace.

The machine would pose a question, then offer a reward, usually in the form of encouragement, for answering correctly. (Pavlov’s dog, anyone?) Skinner also advocated using machines to teach and reinforce good classroom behavior.

The  “reward” approach was used heavily in language labs and also laid the foundation for computer instruction.  The below video shows Skinner making his case for why educators need the machine.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.