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PLATO: An Automatic Teaching Device (1961)


PLATO: An Automatic Teaching Device (1961)
Bitzer, D.
Braunfeld, P.
Lichtenberger, W,
PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations)
Computer-Based Education
Educational Programs
Computer Science
Educational Technology
Preliminary report on the first nine months of research on the PLATO computer system conducted at the University of Illinois Coordinated Science Laboratory.
Finding Aid
Coordinated Science Laboratory
University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
PLATO-a teaching machine developed during the past nine months at the Coordinated Science Laboratory of the University of Illinois-is a device for teaching a number of students individually by means of a single, central, high-speed general-purpose digital computer. Each student is provided with his own keyset and television display. The keyset enables the student to control the sequence of materials presented to him by the machine, as well as to transmit to the computer answers to its questions. The computer communicates to each student by closed circuit television. It selects slides and writes or erases sentences and diagrams on a storage tube. These two outputs are superimposed and displayed on the student's television screen. Not only are textual materials presented to each student at a rate determined by that student, but the computer frequently poses questions. The student's answers-which may take the form of numerals, algebraic expressions, or words and phrases -are judged by the computer without revealing the correct answer to the question. Supplementary material is presented by the machine upon request for any question which the student finds difficult. The computer keeps detailed records of each student's progress through the material. Though a two-student version of PLATO is now in operation, the paper describes in detail an earlier one-student system. The system has been used to present a variety of subject matters, ranging from mathematics to topics in French grammar.
Bibliographic Citation
D. Bitzer, P. Braunfeld and W. Lichtenberger, "PLATO: An Automatic Teaching Device," in IRE Transactions on Education, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 157-161, Dec. 1961, doi: 10.1109/TE.1961.4322215.

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