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About Plato Learning

Plato Learning provides children with literary-based summer camps and programs. It is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Headquarters Location

55 Washington St

Brooklyn, New York, 11201,

United States



Latest Plato Learning News

How to make almost any computer a modern-day PLATO terminal

Oct 25, 2023

A dive into the past, whether you're using a vintage or new computer. In our previous deep dive into the groundbreaking world of PLATO, we pointed out the technological advances the system heralded in graphical displays, sound, and user interface; the trailblazing software environment it hosted with educational content, networked messaging and communications, and multiplayer games; and the cultural impact it had on subsequent systems—and even on the modern Internet. But all's not lost if you missed out on PLATO the first time around. The spirit, technology, and even software of PLATO live on in modern retrocomputing re-creations. In today's article, we'll look at two of these services and demonstrate how almost any computer can be a modern-day PLATO terminal, too. Sign in and turn on Although other resurrected PLATO instances are around, today we'll be looking at two that specifically cater to the curious public, IRATA.ONLINE (yes, Atari spelled backwards, just like in M.U.L.E.) and Cyber1 . Both sites operate a server running an emulated PLATO environment with many of the same software components, but the specific mix of lessons (i.e., PLATO applications, more or less) and their front-ends differ somewhat. In a sense, both instances are descendants of the original. In 1989, Control Data Corporation (CDC) CEO Lawrence Perlman sold the PLATO trademark and some of its courseware to the Roach Organization, which eventually renamed itself PLATO Learning and is today called Edmentum. The piece of PLATO left behind at the ailing CDC was reworked into CYBIS “CY-ber Based Instructional System” to service the company's existing commercial and government contracts. (A third branch was spun off from PLATO's original home at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to become NovaNET, but you can read all about that in the original article .) CYBIS ultimately ended up as a product called VCampus, which was operated by now-defunct startup University Online. After UOL's demise, the rights reverted to its former CEO, who granted permission for its non-commercial use. Because the CYBIS image that both services started with is directly descended from the original PLATO, they can trace their family tree back to the original via CYBIS. Advertisement IRATA.ONLINE has an explicit retrocomputing focus, and we'll look a little later in this article at how it specifically caters to period vintage computers. It includes many of the classic PLATO games and applications but adds a few new ones and has a bespoke menu system for a friendlier face. You can use a guest login and password, though if you want to persistently customize your environment, interact usefully with notes and chat, or even work on lessons of your own, you'll need to apply for a login . For this article's purposes, the guest login will suffice. Cyber1 has more of a preservationist approach. Cyber1 overtly seeks people directly involved with the original PLATO to catalogue and record their memories of its development and culture, and it provides an environment as close to the original PLATO as is possible, even if that makes it a little more opaque for new users. We will also demonstrate the service using their demo accounts, but again, if you want to interact meaningfully with other users or really unlock its authoring power, you'll need to sign up for an account as well. Every pty needs a Pterm sometimes While you're waiting for your accounts to be approved, it's time to set up your environment. As our previous article also showed, much of PLATO's special capabilities came from the synergy between its (for the time) sophisticated hardware and the remote system software, both of which gradually evolved together. Of course, for decades, that meant you could only access PLATO using its bespoke terminal hardware, even if your institution was fortunate enough to have a connection to the CDC Cyber mainframe running the instance. By the end of the original heyday of PLATO, however, personal computers were more than up to the task of providing the necessary level of technology, and PC software clients were commonly used. You can still use a old-school PLATO terminal with the PLATO servers of today— there are photos !—and IRATA offers clients for quite a few classic computers that I'll demonstrate a little later, but most of us will be using Windows, macOS, or Linux. Fortunately, Pterm, written and maintained by the Cyber1 team, has you covered .

Plato Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Where is Plato Learning's headquarters?

    Plato Learning's headquarters is located at 55 Washington St, Brooklyn.



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