PLATO was a fascinating, pioneering online learning system developed at the University of Illinois.

Alongside course materials, it originated complex multiplayer online games, chat, & collaboration tools, rendered on 512x512 touchscreen plasma displays--in the 1970s.

Brian Dear's "The Friendly Orange Glow" is the (thus far) definitive history of the system, based on decades of research. It took me a while to make my way through the 640 page tome, but here's my review:


@eloquence some organizational or technical vestige of this system persisted into the 1990s, when i used it as an alternative to some highschool math classes. it was, by then, quite terrible and i'm not sure the tech had much if any connection to the original system, but i've always been fascinated by the history of it.


Apparently the FAA used it until 2006! Must have been a very strange experience for folks going through those last trainings ..

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