The 1960s schools network serving 130000 students

A single school system couldn’t afford the then-tremendous expense of purchasing and maintaining (or even leasing) a mainframe computer; an IBM 360 model cost around $2 million … But several school systems could band together to cover costs, linking their teletypes to a jointly-owned (or leased) mainframe.

In 1967, 18 school districts around Minneapolis-St. Paul did just that, using the state law to create the Minnesota School Districts Data Processing Joint Board to provide computing services for over 130,000 students. The joint board’s network was known as Total Information for Educational Systems, or TIES, and quickly expanded beyond the metro area. Participating schools used TIES for administration, education, recreation, and socializing, with over 26,000 students logging on to the system’s teletypes during the 1970-71 school year.

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