Dr. David Thornburg started his career as a research scientist and inventor at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center where he worked on a variety of projects, including his invention of the first inexpensive touch screen. In 1981 he left Xerox and worked for a bit at Atari before helping start a company to launch two of his hardware designs: the KoalaPad touch tablet and the Muppet Learning Keyboard made in conjunction with Jim Henson of Muppet fame. After that venture, Dr. Thornburg became a consultant with a focus on the role of technology in K-12 education and held adjunct teaching positions at Stanford University, College of Notre Dame (Belmont, CA), University of Sao Paulo, and Walden University. He has been on several advisory boards, including the education board of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and has been an active participant in the International Space Development Conference.
I first met David when I was hosting the Connected Classroom Conferences for K-12 Educators in the 1990s and very early 2000s. David was my keynote speaker at numerous conferences all over the United States and delighted audiences with his message of how technology can and will impact teaching in schools all over the country and the world. You should know that you are going to be hearing a founding member of the small group of people who invented what we now know as personal computers. All roads for the computers you use today on your desktop and in your pocket passed through the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center where David worked with the teams that built graphic (point and click) technology, touchpads, and the mouse. His discussion of these times is something I’m so delighted and honored to have recorded for this podcast. Get comfortable and prepare to sincerely enjoy hearing these stories from someone who was in the room, my friend, Dr. David Thornburg.