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"What would happen in a world in which everyone had a Dynabook!"
Illustration for the Vivarium Project

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Vivarium Project <1986>

The main research test site for the Vivarium program was the Los Angeles Open School. In cooperation with the staff and the 375 elementary school pupils (Grades 1-6) program members developed an evolving program that was included in this LA Unified public magnet school's curriculum. Each classroom, in all grades, provided one Macintosh computer for every two children.

Vivarium examined how teachers and young children might use personal computers as extensions of themselves and of their learning endeavors. Their uses are both to reshape the computer to fit their own situations, as well as to utilize the computer as an amplifier of their joint reach for knowledge. Future use of the computer will entail using networks and the program explores exemplary curriculum designs for groups and for working with knowledge bases.

The Vivarium program probed at the following questions: What philosophies of learning most benefit children and adults? What does deep computer literacy mean for the general population? What kinds of hardware and software designs facilitate the deep use of computers? What is needed to get entire schools and school systems to use personal computers as casually and deeply as paper, pencils, crayons and books?