Before online education, these 15 TVs were the classroom of tomorrow

On a muggy spring day in Manhattan during the throes of the Great Depression, about 200 New York University students shuffled into a room on the 62nd floor of the RCA Building, Paleofuture reports. They were there for a lesson on the principles of photoelectricity, taught by their professor, Dr. C. C. Clark. But strangely, the professor wasn’t there in the room with them. At least not in the flesh. From a room fifty-nine floors below, Dr. Clark conducted his day’s lesson, beamed to 15 television sets above, as the students sat in folding chairs diligently looking on and listening. His pupils were getting a look at television long before it would become known as a vast wasteland of junk entertainment. In 1938, TV was little more—or less—than the classroom of the future. Dr. Clark had a history of heartily embracing new technology in his classroom; just three years earlier he had conducted an entire lecture via radio. Press coverage of that forward-thinking experiment was extremely positive and hinted that the next evolutionary step—this burgeoning technology of television—would surely be invading the classrooms of tomorrow.

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