Today I did two articles for the HHOL project (reminder: you should join the project!). The first article I wrote was on Ancient Roman Assessment. The second was on the late 60s/early 70s system called TICCIT, which used a combination of videotapes, servers, computers, and color terminals to deliver instruction into homes and dormitories over cable-TV infrastructure.
As I was looking through a 1972 write-up on the project, I was struck by how much more literate these technologists were in instructional design than the current crop of disrupters. Sure, it’s a mash-up of Bloom’s Mastery Learning and Skinner’s Programmed Instruction, but that’s pretty enlightened for 1972. And the development and review of project materials were overseen by an instructional psychologist (pg. 19), which happens today approximately never.
Technically, too, these people stand head and shoulders above today’s crowd. A main argument of the report is that the coaxial infrastructure of cable-TV holds a remarkable potential when it is used to connect home computers to servers delivering interactive content (pg. 45). It then goes on to detail some of the services that could be delivered through the coaxial cable infrastructure, including email, meter-reading, online shopping, electronic newspaper delivery, travel route-planning, “cashless society” transactions, and computer dating (pg. 49-55). And they top it off by predicting online education will make the biggest dent in the adult education market, with traditional students see a smaller amount of imapct. Again, not bad for 1972.
But the gem, for me, was this simple, unassuming paragraph:
Of course, it’s a restatement of the dream since Pressey — remove the burden of the repeatable so teachers can focus on the sort of personalized tutoring they do best. But the difference here is that these people know that. No one is wandering around claiming to have invented “flipped classroom”. It’s been invented. The question, as always, is how to make it work.