Thanks to Lyndsay for sharing the critique of the Hole in the Wall project and her own comments. I know Ruth has had some involvement with projects looking at whiteboard use in schools. This idea that there would be cyber solutions to education has been around a long time. In the era where ‘efficiency’ was a key concept, the search was for a way of learning that could happen without effort and without error. Mechanical Teachers of one kind or another haunt literature and our fantasies.
An early example:-
RADICAL BEHAVIOURISM. When I was at school, it felt to me as if the teachers had abandoned hope of ever teaching me maths, when they introduced me to the Skinner teaching machine. This contraption was placed in the cloakroom part of the demountable hut and us duffers were invited to sit in front of one of three of these machines and peer at its rather grey screen with fuzzy numerals and input answers to maths problems. The reward for a correct answer was to be presented with another problem – or so it seemed to me despite my reading in the literature that considerable sophisticated behaviour psychology was used – so there was something not quite right about the psychology of reward there for me, recalcitrant numerator that I was! The smell of the coats, the isolation from the learning community next door, and the strange, asymmetrical box shape of the contraption all contributed to my aversion to this attempt to take the tedium out of getting me to think mathematically. (#By giving me the tedium instead, I rather think). The asymmetry of the box was to do with trying to blinker the subject from looking around the side of the box at the environment.