I am sometimes asked why I’ve stayed in the field of technology-based instruction for so many years. I can tell you that once you experience some successes and see what is possible, the allure of repeating those successes is very strong. Let me tell you a story of an early success with the PLATO system:
A custodian at an eastern public school was at his wit’s end. After repeatedly lecturing teachers and staff about turning the building lights off when they left in the evening, lights were still being found ablaze many mornings when the building was being unlocked for the day. No one would admit leaving lights on. To the contrary, everyone assured the custodian that lights were switched off as the last person left.
In desperation, a security guard was posted. Sure enough, the lights went off as the last employee left, but sometime later in the evening the guard heard a noise outside. While he was outside checking, lights came on inside the school building!
The guard quietly reentered the building to see what was happening. To his great surprise, he found a room full of kids hard at work studying math with their PLATO computers. The noise he had heard was the kids getting into the ventilation ductwork so they could crawl through to the classroom. Once in, of course, it was very dark. The kids turned on the lights!
How often do kids break into school to study? How many situations do you know of in which school children voluntarily assemble to buckle ...