Watch Rare Video of Illinois Students Learning Computers in 1966
It's not possible to step into a time machine to see what life was like 50 years ago. But, the next best thing might be these throwback that shows students at the University of Illinois learning computers back in 1966.
I have never heard of this program before now. A YouTube channel that specializes in computer history shared the backstory behind two new (yet very retro) rare videos:
This rare film shows students using Project “SOCRATES” Computer Assisted Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “SOCRATES” stood for “System for Organizing Content to Review And Teach Educational Subjects.” The SOCRATES system included specialized student terminals connected to a central IBM computer, which provided highly adaptive individualized instruction to several students simultaneously. One of the first computer aided learning systems at a university campus.
Their concept of computers at that time barely hints at the technology we have available today.
There's another video they've dropped which has even more footage from that era at the University of Illinois.
Live Science shared a history of computers and you'll see their timeline really didn't involve integrated circuits or computer chips per se until the late 1950's. What we now know as Intel and IBM weren't much of a reality until the 1970's. This program at the University of Illinois as rudimentary as it was really was advanced for its time. The first Apple I was revealed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976.
Oh, how times have changed as virtually everyone stares down at phone screens that have infinite times the power of those first computers. It wasn't always that way and the University of Illinois was truly one of the pioneers.