IBM PC Oddities

Posted by  | Thursday, August 11, 2011

The PC That Taught A Generation to Read

In the 1980s, IBM launched a grand social experiment. With the help of an education specialist, it decided to teach reading and writing simultaneously with a program called Writing to Read.

Kids completed workbooks to learn basic spelling. At the end of each workbook, PC software tested knowledge of the material. IBM’s education guru designed the process to eliminate variations in teaching, thus industrializing the learning process. When you realize that possibly hundreds of thousands of children learned to read using this uniform program, it casts IBM’s education initiative in a sort of bizarre, dystopian light. To learn more about Writing to Read, check out my full write-up.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Stilgar Says:

    What about IBM's word processing software, Display Write 1.0? It's hard to find any good information on this product on the internet. I even remember the name of the executable "dw1" 🙂

  2. Zomg Says:

    What's bizzare and dystopian about teaching people to read? I say it's utopian. Now if they subliminally taught them to only buy IBM or become chimp plant lackeys… that would be dystopian.

  3. Pheasant Under Glass Says:

    I think the author was just showing how limited his/her vocabulary is. …ah, if only they had access to one of those evil IBM enslavement machines during their youth.