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This is the past, present, and future of education technology


This is the past, present, and future of education technology

Do you remember the horn book? What about the magic lantern? No? How about a chalkboard or Scantron system? Probably at least some of those I hope. In fact, you’re probably still using some of the older education technology tools from the past. In fact, most schools still use chalkboards and Scantron systems. They also use overhead projectors and ballpoint pens.

The crazy part? All those things are ‘ancient’ and from the early 1900s. Something to think about the next time you reach for chalk or a ballpoint pen.

There’s a lot of talk about the growing trends of education technology in the present and future of classrooms. But it helps to understand where we’ve come from in order to understand the future of education technology.

I love this graphic from the folks at Fedena and think it’s a simplified approach to the evolution of edtech but, regardless, it’s a great quick read and makes it simple to understand what’s coming next in the world of education.

What’s missing? I’m always curious about the best products in use right now in classrooms. Share your favorites!

Education Technology: 1650 – 1972

  • 1650: Remember horn books? These wooden paddless had printed lessons and were frequently used through the colonial era. Great for learning verse!
  • 1870: The Magic Lantern is a predecessor to the slide machine. Ah the good old days. It projected images printed on glass plates in 1870. They were used by a large group of public school students in Chicago in 1915.
  • 1890: Chalkboards and school slates came into use by 1890 followed by pencils in 1900. Wide availability of pencil and paper made school slates obsolete.
  • 1920: A new form of learning evolved with radio on-air classes for students within listening range in the 1920s. Board of Education, New York City broadcasted lessons to schools via a radio station.
  • 1930: 1930 and 1940 saw the introduction of overhead projector and ballpoint pen in classroom education.
  • 1972: In 1972 came the Scantron system of testing which allowed teachers and educators to grade exams more effectively and efficiently.

Education Technology: 1981 – 2007

  • 1981: Computers came to daily use in the 80’s with the first portable computer was introduced in 1981. During 1984, public schools in U.S had one computer in average for every 92 students.
  • 1985: Hand held graphing calculators were introduced in 1985 and it became a great sensation in the field of maths. Year 1985 also saw the CD-ROM Drive coming to use. A single disc could store a whole lot of things like an entire encyclopedia along with video and audio.
  • 1996: The internet, which was by then considered a computer network used mostly by NASA physicists and academics, slowly entered into homes and educational institutions by 1996.
  • 1999: Technology in the classroom reached new heights with interactive whiteboards which blended handwritten notes with interactive technology in 1999. Earlier versions of these whiteboards were connected to desktop computers through wires, whilst the latest ones are compatible with smartphones and tablets.
  • 2007: 2007-2010 was the age for smartphones and tablets. The concept of classroom slates got a revamp with iPads which is taking classroom education to new heights.

The Future Of Education Technology

  • Biometrics: Biometrics, the science that recognizes people on behavioral or physical qualities, is surely the answer to student disposition in the classroom and develop teaching materials accordingly.
  • Wearable-glass: Wearable devices in education is the next big thing to watch out. Virtual reality headgears, wristbands, smart watches will take education to the next level.
  • Multi-touch: These surfaces like desks or workstations can work wonder for students to collaborate with their peers around the world. Videos, online resources and other virtual tools available in the single swipe of the desk.

future of education technology

Jeff is an education and technology lover who has worked in far too many industries to count. Okay, like maybe 5 or 6. Jeff can indeed count that high but it's not recommended. Jeff also likes to write bios in the third-person.


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