Teaching Machines


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Product Details

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
1. B. F. Skinner Builds a Teaching Machine
2. Sidney Pressey and the Automatic Teacher
3. "Mechanical Education Wanted"
4. The Commercialization of B. F. Skinner's First Machines
5. B. F. Skinner Tries Again
6. Programmed Instruction: In Theory and Practice
7. Imagining the Mechanization of Teachers' Work
8. Hollins College and "The Roanoke Experiment"
9. Teaching Machines, Inc.
10. B. F. Skinner's Disillusionment
11. Programmed Instruction and the Practice of Freedom
12. Against B. F. Skinner

About the Author

Audrey Watters is a writer on education and technology. She is the creator of the popular blog Hack Education (hackeducation.com) and the author of widely read annual reviews of educational technology news and products.


"This is a landmark book..."Reading Teaching Machines is like donning a pair of glasses that suddenly makes much of the present more explicable. This is why I want to urge people to read this book with all possible haste."
-Inside Higher Ed

"For generations, important men (like B.F. Skinner) have been promising that technology will take the place of teachers. Watters deep history examines the forces that view teaching, teachers, and students as problems to be solved, rather than humans to be engaged."
-Chicago Tribune

"A thoroughly researched book...The book is fascinating and very readable, loaded with well-chosen details. Reading this story, one suspects it might be fair to say that it is ed tech, not public education, that has not made a significant step forward in the last 100 years."

"Watters's central thesis is a powerful one, and Teaching Machines provides a breath-taking array of examples to back it up."
-Schools Week

"Watters' much-anticipated and long-in-the- making book fills a gaping hole in our understanding of the origin and implementation of education technology...This major piece of work will establish her as the foremost public intellectual and independent scholar in the field."

"Long before the advent of personal computers, inventors and researchers created what they called "teaching machines" in hopes of revolutionizing education. Some of these creations date back to the 1920s, and were made from wood and brass. Yet today's edtech leaders often ignore or choose to forget this history, argues Audrey Watters, a longtime critical observer of edtech...Watters traces the history of these pre-computer-age gadgets in her new book, Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning.

"... a fascinating history"
-Education Next

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