• 100

    SOCRATES 0470 bc - 0399 bc

    A man of legend in not only the educational world, but in most of the intellectual world today, Socrates was one of the Western world's first great philosophers. No actual writings from Socrates himself have been found, but Socrates's predecessors and students, Xenophon and Plato, wrote down most (we hope all) of his great ideas. The method of teaching that Socrates came up with, the creatively named, "Socratic Method," involves the teacher asking a series of questions which leads the student to
  • Period: 100 to


  • 101

    AGE OF PERICLES 0455 BC - 0431 BC

    The thirst for knowledge in Greece continued to grow until it was enough to generate an organized desire for formal education. This time period is known as the Age of Pericles, when many of the Greek city-states created their own versions of formal education. The Greek city-state Sparta used education to gear children towards becoming effective military support. The aims of Spartan education centered on developing such ideals as courage, patriotism, obedience, cunningness, and physical strength.
  • 102

    PLATO 0427 BC - 0347 BC

    Plato, a disciple / student of Socrates, wrote many of Socrates's ideas down and took some of his ideas one step further. Plato suggested that society should contain three classes of people: artisans (the working class), soldiers (people to defend society), and the philosophers (or the government, needed to rule society). Plato believed that each person in a society should be well educated in their specific, chosen role, allowing the society as a whole to benefit. Schools today have been heavily
  • 103

    ARISTOTLE 0384 BC - 0322 BC

    The next great philosopher was Aristotle, a student of Plato's and teacher of Alexander the Great. Aristotle believed that a person's most important purpose in life was to serve and improve humankind. He believed that the quality of a society had such a direct correlation to the quality of that societies education system, that it was a must for a society to make education a top priority. Aristotle, unlike Socrates and Plato, took a very scientific and practical approach to education. People who
  • 130


    The Greek influence on the Roman education system helped an entire system of schools to develop. Some children, after learning to read and write, attended a graminaticus school to study Latin, literature, history, math, music, and dialectics. These Latin grammar schools were very similar to the 20th century secondary schools.
  • 400

    DARK AGES 0400 - 1000

    Relatively little was recorded during this period of history -so little in fact, that the most descriptive title anyone could come up with that described the period was "The Dark Ages". Brilliant. During this period, political and religious oppression toward the common people stunted their ability to innovate and grow intellectually as the Greeks and Romans once had. The lack of growth, in many ways, actually caused human knowledge to regress in Europe. Though formal education wasn't an option f
  • Mar 7, 735

    ALCUIN 0735 - 0804

    Once upon a time, Charlemagne, tired of living in the "dark," sought far and wide for a talented educator who could improve the education system in the kingdom. "Is there no one who is willing to take on this great task?" cried Charlemagne (…okay, not sure if he actually said those words, but...). Long story short, Charlemagne did select Alcuin as the chief educational adviser. Alcuin became the most famous educator of his day. It is reported that Charlemagne himself often sat in the Palace Scho
  • Mar 7, 1225

    THOMAS AQUINAS 1225- 1274

    Up until this point in the dark ages, the church did not encourage commoners to study the bible on their own, but rather, they thought that they should be taught from educated priests in the Roman Catholic Church. One large problem with this method (other than the obvious problem of only hearing the Bible read briefly once a week) is that, as much power as the church had, many priests were corrupt as they became priest just for the power that it gave them (think televangelist crooks today siphon
  • Jan 1, 1300

    THE RENAISSANCE 1300 - 1700

    The Renaissance represented the protest of individuals against the dogmatic authority that the church exerted over their social and intellectual life. The Renaissance started in Italy when people reacquired the spirit of free inquiry that had prevailed in Ancient Greek. The Renaissance slowly spread through Europe, resulting in a general revival of classical learning called "humanism."
  • Jan 1, 1483


    The Protestant Reformation had its formal beginning in 1517. In that year, Martin Luther published his ninety-five theses, which stated his disagreements with the Roman Catholic Church. One of these disagreements held great implications for the importance of formal education. Martin Luther was strongly convicted against the church's practices of not allowing commoners to study the Bible lest they misinterpret the Bible's meaning. Much like an over protective parent, the Roman Catholic Church was

    John Locke wrote an essay titled "Concerning Human Understanding," which explains his belief that the human mind is a "tabula rasa," or "blank slate," at birth and knowledge is derived through experience, rather than innate ideas as was believed by many at that time. Locke's views concerning the mind and how people learn have strongly influenced American education.

    Harvard, the first colonial college, was established to prepare ministers. Just a few years later, other American colleges such as William and Mary, Yale, Princeton, King's College, College of Philadelphia, Brown, Dartmouth and Queen's College were established. College is here... Let the impending student debts begin!

    The Massachusetts Bay School Law required that parents assure their children know the principles of religion and the capital laws of the commonwealth. Just one small step towards man being fully educated… one giant leap towards Compulsory Education!

    The Old Deluder Satan Act decreed that every town of at least 50 families hire a schoolmaster who would teach the town's children to read and write and that all towns of at least 100 families should have a Latin grammar school master who would prepare students to attend Harvard College. I'm pretty sure that the same brilliant person who came up with the name for the "dark ages," thought of this name. …Truly gets children excited to learn…

    The New England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies. It became the most successful educational textbook published in 18th century America and it became the foundation of most schooling before the 1790s.

    John Locke's, "Some Thoughts Concerning Education," was published, describing his views on educating upper class boys to be moral, rationally-thinking, and reflective "young gentlemen." (Aka, smooth with the ladies... okay, maybe that wasn't his original intent...)

    Wooden paddles with printed lessons were popular in the colonial era. On the paper usually contained the alphabet and a religious verse which the children would copy to help them learn how to write. (If the children failed to memorize their verses, the Hornbook doubled as a paddle... one of the first "Transformers" in history.
  • BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 1706 - 1790

    Benjamin Franklin formed the American Philosophical Society, which helped bring ideas of the European Enlightenment, including those of John Locke, to colonial America. He also saw the need for more and better trained skilled workers and so he proposed a new kind of secondary school in Pennsylvania. This proposal brought about the establishment, in Philadelphia in 1751, of the first truly American educational institution - the American Academy.

    The educational institution that Benjamin Franklin helped to establish was first called the "English Academy" with a curriculum that was both classical and modern, including such courses as history, geography, navigation, surveying, and modern as well as classical languages. The academy ultimately became the University of Pennsylvania.

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau' published Emile, which describes his views on education. Rousseau's ideas on the importance of early childhood education were in sharp contrast with the prevailing views of his time and influence not only contemporary philosophers, but also 20th-Century American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey.

    Jefferson proposed a two-track educational system, with different tracks for "the laboring and the learned." Why waste your time with information that you will never use?

    Because of his dissatisfaction with English textbooks of the day, Noah Webster wrote a Grammatical Institute of the English Language, consisting of three volumes: a spelling book, a grammar book, and a reader. They became very widely used throughout the United States. In fact, the spelling volume, later renamed the American Spelling Book and often called the Blue-Backed Speller, has never been out of print! I doubt that book series like "Twilight" will have the same lasting implications.

    James Pillans invented the blackboard in 1801. Still very popular today, the chalkboard is one of the best inventions in education (or educational technology for that matter).

    The slate was a personal learning tool. A Boston school superintendent in 1870 best described the slate by saying, “if the result of the work should, at any time, be found infelicitous, a sponge will readily banish from the slate all disheartening recollections, and leave it free for new attempts." Slates are what the modern tablet computers (like the iPad) are loosely based on.

    During the Reformation in 1524, Martin Luther advocated compulsory schooling so that all parishioners would be able to read the Bible themselves, and Strasbourg—then a free city of the Holy Roman Empire—passed accordant legislation in 1598. Compulsory school attendance on this model gradually spread to other countries, reaching the American State of Massachusetts in 1852, and spreading to other states until, in 1917, Mississippi was the last state to enact a compulsory attendance law.

    The Boston Public Library opened to the public. It was the first major tax-supported free library in the U.S.

    Christopher Sholes invented the "modern" typewriter. Known as the Sholes Glidden, it was first manufactured by E. Remington & Sons in 1873. T9 predictive text was a feature added much much later....

    Not to be confused with the "Green Lantern," the Magic lantern was the precursor to a slide projector. The device projected images printed on glass plates and showed them in darkened rooms to students. By the end of World War I, Chicago’s public school system had roughly 8,000 lantern slides.

    The Dewey Decimal System, developed by Melvil Dewey in 1873, was published and patented. The DDC is the worlds most widely-used library organizational / classification system still used today. That's almost 200 years organizational power! Most people can't manage to keep their room organized for a day...

    The first practical fountain pen, the capillary feed pen, was patented by Lewis Waterman. This device made passing notes in class -er, I mean, writing essays, considerably easier.

    Stanford University was founded in 1891 by former California Governor and railroad tycoon Leland Stanford in memory of his son, Leland Jr.

    Stanford University was founded in 1891 by former California Governor and railroad tycoon Leland Stanford in memory of his son, Leland Jr.

    Formed by the National Education Association to establish a standard secondary school curriculum, the Committee of Ten, recommended a college-oriented high school curriculum that laid the foundation to modern high schools today.

    The Association of American Universities was founded to promote higher standards and to put U.S. universities on an equal footing with their European counterparts.

    Mass-produced paper and pencils became more readily available and pencils eventually replaced the school slate, making it easier to write. This shift in writing tools was a great move for children, but a horrible one for all of the cute forest animals living in the trees...

    Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois, opened, becoming the first public community college in the U.S.

    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was founded. It was charted by an act of Congress in 1906, the same year the Foundation encouraged the adoption of a standard system for equation "seat time" to high school credits. The system was called the "Carnegie Unit".

    Educational reformer Ella Flagg Young became superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools. She was the first female superintendent of a large city school system. One year later, she was elected president of the National Education Association.
  • First Known School 2000 BC

    Though it's possible that the "cavemen" had created a formal cave school that taught their cave children how to add, subtract, write poetry and perform other impressive skills with clubs, it's highly unlikely. The discovery of cuneiform mathematics textbooks, dated back to 2000 BC, however, suggests that some form of schools did most likely existed in Sumer at that time (now modern day Iraq). There's also evidence that suggests formal schools existing in China during the Hsia and Shang dynasties

    John Dewey's "Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education" was published. Dewey's views helped advance the ideas of the "progressive education movement." An outgrowth of the progressive political movement, progressive education sought to make schools more effective agents of democracy.

    WHA began broadcasting music education programs on the radio. This was one of the first uses of audio for education. This laid the foundation for many teaching technologies that are used today.

    As the U.S. entered W.W.I, the army had no means of screening the intellectual ability of its recruits. Robert Yerkes, then President of the American Psychological Association and an army officer, becomes Chairman of the Committee on Psychological Examination of Recruits. The committee, which included Louis Terman, had the task of developing a group intelligence test. He and his team of psychologists designed the Army Alpha and Beta tests. Though these tests had little impact on the war, they la

    The Progressive Education Association was founded with the goal of reforming American education.

    All states by 1919 had laws to provide funds for transporting children to school.
  • SAT

    The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was first administered in 1926, being based on the Army Alpha test. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board, a nonprofit organization in the United States. It was formerly developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service which still administers the exam. The test is intended to assess a student's readiness for college.

    Initially used by the U.S. military for training purposes in World War II, overhead projectors quickly spread to schools and other organizations around the country allowing for visual elements to be added to lessons that the entire class could see at the same time.

    While it was originally invented in 1888, it was not until 1940 that the ballpoint pen started to gain worldwide recognition as being a useful tool in the classroom and life in general. The first ballpoint pens went on sale at Gimbels department store in New York City on 29 October 1945 for US $9.75 each. This pen was widely known as the rocket in the U.S. into the late 1950s.

    Frank W. Cyr, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, organized a national conference on student transportation. The conference resulted in the adoption of standards for the nation's school buses, including the shade of yellow.

    The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale was developed by David Wechsler. It introduced the concept of the "deviation IQ", which calculates IQ scores based on how far subjects' scores deviat from the average score of others who are the same age. These tests are still widely used in US schools today to help identify students needing special education and to help discover which students should just stay on the family farm... (no not really).

    The computer age began as the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the first vacuum-tube computer, was built for the U.S. military by Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. This single invention marks one of the greatest inventions of all time.

    William Oughtred and others developed the slide rule based on the emerging work on logarithms by John Napier. Before the advent of the pocket calculator, the slide ruler was the most commonly used calculation tool in science and engineering. The use of slide rules continued to grow through the 1950s and 1960s even as digital computing devices were being gradually introduced; however, around 1974 the electronic scientific calculator made it largely obsolete
  • ED TV

    By the early sixties, there were more than 50 channels of TV which included educational programming that aired across the country. Thomas Edison was so excited about the possibility of teaching with video that he said "Books will soon be obsolete in the schools. Scholars will soon be instructed through the eye. It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture. Our school system will be completely changed in ten years." Though not an entirely accurate prediction, vi

    Skinner, a behavioral scientist, developed a series of devices that allowed a student to proceed at his or her own pace through a regimented program of instruction. Truly advanced for its time, the basic concept behind teaching machines is, at its core, how many computerized learning systems work today.
  • ACT

    The ACT Test was first administered in November 1959 by Everett Franklin Lindquist as a competitor to the College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test (now the SAT Reasoning Test.) The ACT has historically consisted of four tests: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. Though the SAT has remained the standard in college acceptance test, the ACT is still very popular and used exclusively with some school systems.

    Xerographic office photocopying was introduced by Xerox and it gradually replaced copies made by Verifax, Photostat, carbon paper, mimeograph machines, and other duplicating machines. This machine was such an important invention that it is still one of the single most important tools in a modern school today. Just think of what the Dark Age monks could have accomplished if they had a Xerox machine to copy the bible instead of spending all of their time hand copying it...

    Computers in public schools were first used to teach New York elementary students binary arithmetic.

    First grader Ruby Bridges was the first African American to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. She became a class of one as parents removed all their Caucasian students from the school. ...and some kids complain about being picked last in P.E...

    Language laboratories were an audio or audio-visual installation used as an aid to teaching languages through repeated drills and repetition. Students would listen to the language they were learning through headphones and attempt to speak it back with a condenser microphone mounted at their stations or headphones, where the teacher could then listen and grade what they could do. Language Labs was another technology that laid the foundation to many computer / iPad language learning solutions used

    The original goal of Seseme Street was to create a children's television show that would "master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them", such as helping young children prepare for school. The show was so successful that it is still being aired today.

    Herbert R. Kohl's book, The Open Classroom, helps to promote open education, an approach emphasizing student-centered classrooms and active, holistic learning. The conservative back-to-the-basics movement of the 1970s began, at least partially, as a backlash against open education.

    ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the first "packet-switching" network and precursor of the internet, is created by the U.S. Defense Department. Its first message is sent October 29, at about 10:30 P.M. This technology eventually grows to change not only education, but the world. Thank you Al Gore...

    Jean Piaget's book, The Science of Education, was published. His Learning Cycle model helped to popularize discovery-based teaching approaches, particularly in the sciences.

    The predecessor of the much-loved and much-used TI-83, this calculator paved the way for the calculators used today. There were initial concerns, however, as teachers were slow to adopt them for fear they would undermine the learning of basic skills.

    Apple Computer, now Apple Inc., introduced the Apple II, one of the first successful personal computers. It and its offspring, the Apple IIe, became popular in schools as students began to learn with computer games such as Oregon Trail and Odell Lake, some of the first examples of the Gamification of Education.

    The Scantron Corporation removed the need for hand grading multiple-choice exams. The Scantron machines were free to use, but the company made money by charging for their proprietary grading forms. So sneaky... so the business model was to grow rich from the poor, in-debt college students?

    Though a form of education that predates formal public schools, John Holt's book, Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path for Education, at the time added momentum to the rekindling homeschooling movement.

    IBM introduced its version of the personal computer (PC) with its Model 5150. It's operating system was MS-DOS. C:/DOS, C:/DOS/RUN, RUN/DOS/RUN...

    Microsoft Windows 1.0, the first independent version of Windows, is released, setting the stage for subsequent versions that make MS-DOS obsolete. The visual ability of windows helped push future innovations like the internet and interactive media that is used in education today.

    Computers continued to be adapted in schools as 25 % of high schools used PCs for college and career guidance. Many K-8 schools purchased Apple II and Macintosh computers and high schools began buying mostly DOS-based clones.

    Powerpoint is one of the most popular software programs today and continues to play a key role in the classroom. As of 2012, powerpoint has been installed on at least 1 billion computers; the frequency of use in classrooms and businesses have been estimated at around 350 uses per second globally. Powerpoint is a powerful tool that allows for the addition of detailed visual and audio elements to a lesson.

    Multimedia features were developed in computers giving them dedicated graphic cards and sound cards, allowing for simulations, educational videos, games and various learning programs with animation and sound.

    Whiteboards found their way into U.S. classrooms in increasing numbers and began to replace the blackboard due to a few reasons, primarily student allergies with the dust created from the chalk and the ease at which they could be cleaned.

    The smart board (interactive white board) was introduced by SMART Technologies.

    CompuHigh was founded. It claims to be the first online high school. Isn't that just called homeschooling?

    The Higher Education Act was amended and reauthorized, requiring institutions and states to produce "report cards" about teacher education performance. This was one more of many attempts to create a more unified education experience throughout the United States.

    Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up a workplace for their newly incorporated search engine in a Menlo Park, California garage. Google later became a strong force in the education technology movement as most schools in the 21st century use Google software to run at least some part of their technology infrastructure.

    A teaching method that essentially involves student's instruction taking place outside of the classroom through an interactive digital experience and the homework being done in class with the help of the teacher and other peers. This trend is usually coupled with other trends such as project based learning.

    The controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was approved by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002. The law, which reauthorizes the ESEA of 1965 and replaces the Bilingual Education Act of 1968, mandates high-stakes student testing, holds schools accountable for student achievement levels, and provides penalties for schools that do not make adequate yearly progress toward meeting the goals of NCLB.

    Salman Kahn began to record videos at the request of a younger cousin who felt that if the lessons were recorded, she could skip through parts she had mastered, yet replay other parts that were troubling her to learn. Khan’s model is to essentially provide tutoring on a one-to-one basis. Recently, Khan Academy videos have been used by some educators as part of their flipped classroom strategy. Kahn has since been funded by Google and other large organizations and has played a key role in revolut

    The iClicker was one of the first tools to allow teachers to be able to quickly poll students and get results in real time. Its effectiveness as a teaching tool opened the door for many more powerful classroom technologies to be follow, all aimed at making education a more interactive, involved experience.

    The iPad is a slate computer with the ability to bring together many technologies for learning in a new, very powerful way. The iPad's price, power and ease of use pushed its adoption in many schools where each student receives an iPad instead of a textbook. Learning on this format is much more interactive, immersive and personalized than a traditional textbook.

    Please click on "find out more" or go to for the bibliography . Thanks for reading my brief History of Education and EduTech in the U.S.! -Brian Tate

    n a series of books titled "The Institutes of Oratory," Quintilian wrote about current educational practices, recommended the type of educational system needed in Rome, and listed the great books that were in existence at that time. Quintilian became one of the most influential Roman educators. Would the term "Educator Superhero" be taking it too far?