Mar2019 blog edtech

History of EdTech

  • Horn Book

    Horn Book
    The horn book was a wooden paddle with lessons printed on it. Usually, it had an alphabet and a religious verse, which children would copy to learn how to write.
  • Slates and Chalk

    Slates and Chalk
    In the 1800s, paper was still too expensive for many families and school districts. So, people needed a less costly way to write. Personal slates and chalk solved that problem and allowed for students to erase any mistakes.
  • Magic Lantern

    Magic Lantern
    This was the first attempt at the projector. The Magic Lantern projected images printed on glass plates onto walls. By the end of World War I, Chicago’s public schools had about 8,000 lantern slides.
  • Typewriter

    Christopher L. Sholes first introduced the typewriter in 1873. His version only had capital letters. But by the end of the 1800s, others had models with both upper case and lower case letters.
  • Chalkboard

    History demonstrates that the chalkboard was adopted before universal education. This is partly because the chalkboard is an economic educational technology. Krause (2000) declares that chalkboards “are easy to operate devices that are cheap, low-maintenance, and long-lasting. They are simple to use, flexible in application, and extremely reliable” (p.12).
  • Stereoscope

    Virtual reality and VR glasses credit the stereoscope. It was a 3D viewing tool and popular source of entertainment. Made by the Keystone Viewing Company, they got into schools. That helped teachers use images to illustrate points during lectures.
  • Radio

    The radio allowed org’s to send lessons to schools via a radio station. New York City’s Board of Education was actually the first to do so and over the next couple decades, lessons through the airwaves became the first type of distance learning.
  • Film Projector

    Film Projector
    Designed to bring movies to the classroom, the film projector was used in classrooms up until the early 1980s. Accompanied by an audio recording, the projector displayed still images that had to be manually changed as you advanced through the film strip.
  • Overhead Projector

    Overhead Projector
    The overhead projector allowed teachers to write specific points on reusable transparency sheets while facing the class, as opposed to turning their back to the class when writing on the blackboard.
  • Video

    The concept of an image alongside audio over wire is from the 1870’s. But in 1935, people coined the term video. By 1956 AT&T came out with a Picture Phone. It used analog tech, true. But some say video conferencing traces back to these early inventions.
  • Ballpoint Pen

    Ballpoint Pen
    Originally invented in 1888, the ballpoint pen was put aside in the classroom and life in general, until 1940.
  • Mimeograph

    One of the first copy machines, the mimeograph allowed teachers and school staff to print copies of class materials. Also called ditto machines, all you had to do was crank the ink filled drum.
  • Headphones

    Some learners struggle to hear in class and focus. So headphones offered a way to reinforce ideas and class materials. Not just for music, they gave schools a chance to create language labs where students studied foreign languages. Fast forward to ear buds that also block out noise.
  • Videotape

    The first videotape demo was in California. As time passed, this tech allowed schools to offer visual and audio learning to students. Once only still frames, these tapes created a movie theatre like setting. Later on, teachers would use them to show documentaries and films.
  • Skinner Teaching Machine

    Skinner Teaching Machine
    Behavioural psychologist B.F. Skinner invented this tool. The teaching machine allowed students to learn at their own pace. His model varied slightly from others that had been around since the 1920s. It put questions and answers on paper discs.
  • Photocopier

    Today’s scanner owes a nod to the photocopier. At the time, it gave teachers and admin the chance to make copies of class material. Almost at once, this new tech took over for the mimeograph and others like it.
  • Liquid Paper

    Liquid Paper
    Today, all it takes to correct a typing error is one click to the backspace key. But back in 1960 typewriters were still the only game in town. So, when liquid paper came onto the scene it helped students easily fix mistakes. Without having to tear up their homework and start over.
  • Hand Held Calculator

    Hand Held Calculator
    Many teachers worried that using a calculator would undermine basic math skills. And that only delayed the initial rollout. But very quickly, the hand held calculator became widely popular.
  • The Scantron

    The Scantron
    The Scranton is a system of testing. Thanks to Michael Sokolski, it allowed teachers to grade multiple choice tests in a more efficient way. All they had to do was put answer sheets into the machine.
  • Apple II

    Apple II
    Apple II had no internet access. But it still allowed students to learn geography and solve math problems using computer games on floppy disks.
  • Personal Computer

    Personal Computer
    At first, the personal computer was a step past the type writer. Along with the Plato computer they made a splash in the education market too. Todays online learning environment thanks this vital piece of tech.
  • CD ROM Drive

    CD ROM Drive
    With a CD ROM Drive, one was able to save a whole encyclopaedia on one disk. That is one of the many reasons it eventually took over for floppy disks. And we still use them on computers today. Though many classrooms use e books instead.
  • Online College

    Online College
    The U.S. Postal Service helped make distance learning a reality. But the University of Phoenix was the first school to launch fully online bachelors and masters degrees.
  • World Wide Web

    World Wide Web
    Invented in 1990 and released in 1991, the internet wasn’t available to the general public until 1993. At that time, all connections were dial up. That made it slow since it used the telephone line and couldn’t handle video.
    Still, the access to info and people from around the world helped its popularity explode and change the world. Thanks to search engines, one can ask a question and get an answer fast. Even faster with high speed internet.
  • Social Media

    Social Media
    First on the social media scene was the site Not educational technology at all. But let’s credit these platforms for some positives. Like YouTube for instructional videos. And LinkedIn for professional development.
    Many of today’s schools also use social platforms to share news and events via live feed.
  • Interactive Whiteboard

    Interactive Whiteboard
    The interactive whiteboard is handy digital tool. They use a touch sensitive screen, projector, and computer. Much like the chalkboard and overhead projector that came before. Today’s models make team work easier. Plus, teachers can use them to give feedback.
  • First Laptop With Wifi

    First Laptop With Wifi
    Apple launches the first Wi-Fi-enabled laptop ever. The event took place at MacWorld in New York City on July 21, 1999. Steve Jobs showed wireless Internet off as he walked about on stage with the laptop in his hand. Then, passed the iBook through a hula hoop while the crowd cheered.
  • Moodle

    Martin Dougiamas came up with Moodle. It allows educators to build their own e learning website. And is now a well known virtual learning environment. Many people credit it for shaping online programs.
  • iClicker

    The iClicker was one of the first tools that let teachers take polls in real time. It allowed them to offer quizzes and take attendance. Plus, it had the option to share or keep results private.
  • E Reader

    E Reader
    Paperbacks date to the 1930’s. And credit for the idea of the e reader goes to writer and impresario Bob Brown after he watched his first “talkie” then wrote about his invention in the “Readies”. E books bring some flexibility to the classroom. For one, you don’t need an internet connection. Also, they have features that enhance the learning experience. Annotation tools, bookmarks, hyperlinks, dictionary, and a search feature.
  • Tablets

    Tablets came after the smartphone. Unlike mobile phones, their use as a learning tool has more teachers on board. Above all since there are educational apps that engage and motivate learners. Plus, teachers are able to track students’ progress.
  • Google Classroom

    Google Classroom
    Google Classroom came out in August 2014. It marketed itself as the one stop shop to save teachers time so they can focus on teaching. By October 2015, Google estimated some 10 million students and teachers were using it.
  • AR Powered E book

    AR Powered E book
    Hurix Digital launches KITABOO AR. An Augmented Reality Platform that turns paper books into an interactive eBook. In the enhanced version of reality, readers can see, hear and take part in content. Very engaging and interactive.
  • Predictive Learning Analytics

    Predictive Learning Analytics
    Big data in the form of PLA gathers attention for use in the classroom. It helps them know where to put resources, change workflows, or target employee training. Plus, it helps teachers identify learners who may not complete a course.
  • Ed Tech Apps

    Ed Tech Apps
    Apps are not new, for sure. But the trend towards their use is growing and here to stay. Mobile apps are making headway both to teach concepts and reinforce them through tutoring. They also address key issues that learners and teachers face. One making a difference comes from the U.K. Mind Moose uses short animations to help primary students learn about mental health. It teaches about brain science and burnout. And aims to foster more self esteem and resilience.
  • References