TIES and Networking Minnesotan School Systems


Dublin Core


TIES and Networking Minnesotan School Systems


How TIES used local networking in Minnesota to propel computational advancements for all to benefit


During the 1960s, computers and teletypes were being obtained by schools in Minnesota, rapidly evolving teaching methods and opportunities as they were being incorporated into the school system. As interest in computing grew amongst the schools, so did a desire to create a collaborative venture with other schools. This conglomerate of Minnesotan school districts became known as Total Information for Educational Systems, or TIES. TIES was a combined force of eighteen school districts, all united to share and develop the tech culture within their respective schools. Funding for technology was split up among the schools, achievements were shared, and advancements flourished as new schools were brought into the collaboration.

What made TIES so unique and effective was how dedicated it was to its local community. During its very creation, teachers were recognized as key collaborators for TIES, ideas and projects were circulated through the system, and regularly attended school visits for discussions and training sessions. Teachers and students were familiarized with computing technology, and the tech culture skyrocketed. Everyone had a voice in the form of an EIS coordinator, and all questions, concerns, and milestones were allayed to the group. Through TIES, teletypes were spread throughout all the school districts it encompassed with ease, giving them freedom to use them for school, as well as other projects. Students and teachers created computer programs that could be stored, shared, and modified by others. Teletypes were used to create and share presentations, programs to compose music, and even setting the groundwork for games such as The Oregon Trail to be created.

How do the practices that TIES used differentiate from ones we see today? Most companies, especially large ones, are usually less community and “individualistic” than TIES was. These companies, tech or not, usually have limited jobs for certain tasks, only allowing for a certain teams of individuals and ideas to work with. In TIES, everyone was free to work on creating new programs and software, allowing for a plethora of ideas to be formed and built upon each other. Modern tech companies also make heavy use of patenting their ideas, monopolizing their success, while TIES openly shared and put their achievements on display for all to see. What would happen if all the tech companies we knew today worked together? What would we create?




Rankin, Joy Lisi. A Peoples History of Computing in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2018.





David Shipps