“PLATO: The University of Illinois’ Pioneering Computer-Based Learning System”
Paragraph 1: The University of Illinois developed one of the first computer-based learning systems in the early 1960s called the Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations (PLATO). It was originally intended for computer-assisted learning and offered various courses in subjects like foreign languages, sciences, and medicine. PLATO labs were set up like today’s computer labs and could support up to 1,000 simultaneous users connected to the mainframe.
Paragraph 2: In addition to its educational purpose, PLATO was a precursor to many technological innovations we see today. It featured applications like PLATO Notes, which functioned like chat rooms and social media, allowing users to have threaded discussions on various topics. Other applications included Talkomatic for real-time chat, networked multiplayer games like Avatar and Airfight, and News Report for posting news stories. PLATO’s commercial rights were later purchased by Control Data Corporation, who marketed the terminals for education and training purposes.