Apple for the Teacher Part I

by Ted Perry

Call-A.P.P.L.E. Magazine
July / August 1979

When I was asked to help put together a CAI (Computer Assisted Instruction) subgroup, I naively said I would. The demands of correspondence quickly overran my capabilities to respond and the initial influx of programs overran my ability to document.

Now with the help of a group of dedicated computer aficionados, the correspondence is under control and the documentation is in process.

In this first article I would like to describe the KYDE fYPE Project. Several years ago, three psychologists, indulging myself, visited the California School for the Deaf at Berkeley and observed a group of students working
diligently on some time-sharing terminals. As we requested further information, we discovered that numerous studies reported significantly faster learning rates utilizing CAI than any traditional methods. The students at Berkeley certainly enjoyed the process and tests proved that skills increased. We immediately returned to our school district with great enthusiasm and were informed that several hundred thousand dollars for an educational computer was out of the question.

A few years later we discovered that microcomputers were available and were significantly less expensive. We .hen applied for a federal grant (this is a competitive process) and were funded to accomplish several tasks:

  1. Convert large computer CAI to microcomputer format.
  2. Add graphics to the format that used words only.
  3. Develop other teaching tools for the microcomputer.

A similar project was funded at California School for the Deaf at Berkeley, and we are working very closely with ,em. We were very fortunate to enlist the skilled staff of t11e Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley, for programming and consultation to the project. Pete Rowe (who wrote Improved Catalog) and his programming staff consistently develop programs that exceed my highest expectations.

At this point, several self-contained teaching programs and several programming tools have been developed. The most exciting tool to me is a graphics author language program which enables the teacher to draw pictures, store them, and call them into a program and which necessitates
only minimal programming skills.

We are in the process of developing several other author language modalities. Multiple choice, fill in the blank, word acrostic are a few of the author programs in process. A teacher will only have to know how to boot the machine and run the program to write curriculum in each format.

At the end of our project these programs will become public domain. I look forward to the time when they can be freely distributed.

Meanwhile, we are also developing a national Apple CAI library and are looking for people who are interested in documenting, piloting and updating or modifying educational programs. We are also looking for contributions of programs to the library. If you would like to participate in documentation, modification or piloting, tell me how you would like to participate and send me a blank diskette (better than that, send me a diskette full of your favorite educational programs), I will return your diskette with a couple of useful utilities, some programs to work with, and the instructions for documenting and modifying or piloting. I will also add your name to the mailing list.

Ted Perry, Psychologist
Program Director
KYDE TYME Project
San Juan Unified School District
2331 St. Marks Way
Sacramento, California 95825

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