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Development of the IBM 1500 Computer-Assisted Instructional System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129842D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Apr-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 14 page(s) / 53K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

GEORGE BUCK: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The IBM 1500 Instructional System was the only commercial system pro- duced by a single manufacturer that had an integrated student terminal configuration providing a keyboard and light pen response mode, CRT-based graphics, audio, and static film projection. Experimental instructional systems had been developed by IBM prior to a prototype version of the 1500 Instructional System, which was tested at Stanford University. A production version of the 1500 System with changes in the CPU and the audio system and having the capability to run a maximum of 32 student stations was installed in over 30 sites beginning in the late 1960s. IBM's commitment to the development of this system was extensive but short-lived, as most sites were unable to maintain funding support for the system. In retrospect, the IBM 1500 System had capabilities yet to be supported on the microcomputer systems of the 1990s.

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Copyright ©; 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Development of the IBM 1500 Computer-Assisted Instructional System

GEORGE BUCK

STEVE HUNKA

The IBM 1500 Instructional System was the only commercial system pro- duced by a single manufacturer that had an integrated student terminal configuration providing a keyboard and light pen response mode, CRT-based graphics, audio, and static film projection. Experimental instructional systems had been developed by IBM prior to a prototype version of the 1500 Instructional System, which was tested at Stanford University. A production version of the 1500 System with changes in the CPU and the audio system and having the capability to run a maximum of 32 student stations was installed in over 30 sites beginning in the late 1960s. IBM's commitment to the development of this system was extensive but short-lived, as most sites were unable to maintain funding support for the system. In retrospect, the IBM 1500 System had capabilities yet to be supported on the microcomputer systems of the 1990s.

The increasing availability of microcomputers and their apparent multipurpose utility has prompted some educators to suggest that they are likely to be the ideal instructional device, replacing such long-lived materials as books.1 While it might appear that computers are a recent import to the field of education, concerted efforts to adapt them for instructional purposes can be traced to the 1950s. Although mechanical teaching machines gained short-lived popularity in North America, in some parts of Western Europe, and even in the former Soviet Union in the latter half of the 1950s and early 1960s, their instructional capabilities were limited primarily because of constraints imposed by their mechanical operation. Noting these limitations and applying some of the psychological principles used in teaching machines, engineers made several attempts to create computer-based instructional systems. Most of these initial devices, such as the different versions of the Solartron Adaptive Keyboard Instructor (SAKI) designed by Gordon Pask and his associates beginning in 1953,2 were intended only for one particular instructional task. Such dedicated machines were not suitable for general applications in educations since they could not be adapted easily to different instructional processes. To reach the large education market with its wide diversity of instructional requirements, the greatest chance for success lay in the development of a computer-based system that could accommodate many different instructional requirements.

Several attempts were made during the mid to late 1950s by commercial firms, some in collaboration with researchers at universities, to design multipurpose computer-based instructional systems. Most of these endeavors either were discontinued as unfeasible or th...