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From "Educationally Speaking"

OCR'ing (actually, proofing) has been going slowly due to things being very busy at work, but here's the first piece, an article about Project DELTA (and another operation at Kent Vo-Tech) which is from a newsletters for teachers in the state. There are 2 photos with this article that I haven't yet been able to scan in and clean up yet since they were half-toned. (RealSoonNow...) I think that it's an interesting period piece.

- Aron

March, 1973

Univacs March on Dunsinane

SOME 3,000 Delaware students are learning social studies, ecology, business education, and even Macbeth through simulation programs that seize upon their fascination with computers.

With financial help from the Delaware School Auxiliary Association's Project Delta, eleven districts have teletypewriter-terminals linked to a PDP 11 computer system at the University of Delaware.

At Delmar High School, Principal Wayne Bastian estimates that half his students learn something of the computer. A computer knowledge class draws 21 students in Grades 10 through 12 for a one-semester course; physics and advanced math classes use it; and all students get a two-week orientation in the ninth grade.

"In physics, students simulate a trip to the moon, which demands they calculate re-entry speed, thrust of rockets, and use of fuel," Mr. Bastian reports. "Writing her own program, a business ed student had the computer do a payroll for a dummy corporation."

Most valuable are simulation games by which the computer supports instruction in several subjects. Cynthia McGee, one of Delmar's two computer teachers, explains that a subject-matter teacher needs only a brief orientation to use the terminal. In a typical Delmar lesson on allocation of resources, a student types out the name of a program. The machine types back, "Congratulations. You've been elected premier of Setats Detin, a small island," and asks the student to choose how many acres of land to cultivate for food, how much to assign for industry, and similar questions. The student types out his allocations, and may draw the sad reply, "You lost 37 square miles of crops due to pollution, and 302 of your countrymen died."

After this first run of the program, requiring about five minutes, the teacher leads the class into the lesson. When they understand the principles, the students repeat the program, this time ending up with a Setats Detin that is the envy of the hemisphere.

"Once a student masters a few techniques," Miss McGee adds, "basic typing skill is all he needs to run the computer."

Their fascination lasts, and the students return on their own time to have another whack at the machine. Delmar's terminal, the only one south of Caesar Rodney, is kept busy partly because the school organizes in-house training, in which each physics student trained on it pledges to show three other persons, including one teacher, how to use it.

AT STANTON'S Dickinson High School, Tom Zumsteg, a junior assigned as the contact man for Project Delta, explains that blocks of computer time are reserved for trigonometry and science classes, but the terminal, placed in the learning center, is used mainly by computer-math students taught by Lee Shoff and doing independent study.

On one of the seven problems assigned for the course, Tom has the machine compute team standings for a baseball league. He feeds in the scores of a day's games, and the computer responds with games won and lost, percentages, and games behind first place.

His brother Phillip, a Dickinson senior, makes the computer hum by a program that gives it the chords and melodic line of "Beautiful Dreamer" and asks it to devise a four-part harmony for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices.

AT KENT VO-TECH Center, Gary Evans and Mrs. Vera Bures teach a two-year course in which students progress through major phases of data processing, culminating in hands-on work with a card system Univac 9200.

The students write their own programs, and especially like reporting attendance to the home high schools - they take pains to get that right, Mr. Evans says, because it lists their own names.

Some graduates work as operators or take further schooling, but Kent Center's main purpose is to prepare students to qualify for and succeed in training programs run by employers.

PROJECT DELTA, now directed by Dr. David Robinson of Delaware's electrical engineering department, is coordinated by Teresa Green, who formerly taught math and science at Brandywine Springs Junior High. Mrs. Green says the project has compiled a library of some 125 programs, one-fourth of them written by Delaware students or teachers. A chemistry program written by Dale Reynard of Brandywine High School, for instance, is available to all schools that have terminals through Delta's library.

After a half-day's orientation, a teacher can tap this lode, Mrs. Green says, and get across ideas that otherwise remain muddy. It is swift and easy. "For a lesson on population growth, a teacher doesn't have to gather a mountain of ditto sheets - all the computer asks is that you plug it in."

Each school must now ante up about $1,900 a year for a terminal, but the per-pupil cost plummets when many classes make use of it, Mrs. Green holds. While Mrs. Green travels the state to train teachers, over in Newark, the computer has answers and questions ready for the budding programmers ranging throughout Delaware who keep it blinking and whirling till ten at night.

[caption for photo 1:]
Oriented by Cynthia McGee, Delmar juniors learn with computers at one of seventeen terminals used in Delaware high schools.

[caption for photo 2:]
Dickinson's Lee Shoff checks Phillip Zumsteg's progress in having the computer arrange four-part harmony for a song.

Department of Pub1ic Instruction
Public Information Office
Dover, Delaware 19901

Educationally Speaking, written for all Delaware pub1ic school teachers, is published seven times a year. Kenneth C. Madden, state superintendent. Ambrose N. Hagarty, pub1ic information specialist.