Technology in Education: A Brief History

Technology, Classroom, Education, Learning, Education Technology

The concept of education has been around since the very beginning of humanity, in one form or another. Of course, the approach and process of learning have been much different if we look back centuries ago. But, the truth is that the thirst for knowledge has always been in human nature, which is exactly why the process of facilitating learning has always been a necessity rather than a possibility.

Given everything that was said earlier, there is no wonder why education is one of the most ancient and strongest industries ever. But, just like everything else, it tends to change, and, often, the major changes are associated with technology.

Where are we in terms of education today? And where did it all start? Let’s go through a brief history of technology in education to see how it has changed the field.

What Does Education Look Like Today?

The 21st century has undoubtedly brought the most changes to the sphere of education. The rapidly developing technological progress has made innovation and learning exist hand in hand. So, today, we can no longer imagine learning without technology.

Thanks to computers and the Internet, students have acquired access to tons of information and resources. In addition, the development of academic help services has enabled students to get professional assistance in their studies. Now, anyone can go online, say, “please, write my admission essay,” and get quick help from professional writers to save time or boost their grades. Not to mention the huge opportunities that were introduced thanks to the concept of e-learning. It made it possible for millions of learners to gain new knowledge and even acquire full-fledged degrees without leaving their homes.

All these changes have affected the quality of learning a lot. But, it has not always been like that. So, now, let’s look at the very beginning and see how we came to the point where we are now.

The History of Technology in Education

In a certain sense, the concept of classroom technology has been around since ancient times. Though it, of course, is much different from what we consider as classroom technology these days. So, let’s see how it evolved.

The concept of school (as we understand it) was first introduced in ancient Greece. It took place around the 4th century BC. Even the name “school” comes from the same period, from the Greek word “schole,” which translates as leisure. At that point, schools were still a privilege that was only available to the aristocracy, and the main tool used for learning and teaching was speech. Some other examples of the first schools in that era were seen in China and India.

That’s when the first classroom technology appeared – the tools used for writing. In different continents, teachers and students used different materials for writing, including parchment, clay tablets, thick palm-like leaves, wax-covered boards, etc.

For reading, ancient schools first also used clay tablets that were gradually replaced by hornbooks. This went on until the 15th century when printing was invented. This period is marked with the first version of the printing press and the first book, Bible, that was printed in 1455. After this invention, schools were gradually becoming more common. However, printed textbooks remained unavailable for students until the 19th century.

Also, during the same period, were introduced such classroom tools as the pencil (1564) and slide rule (1654).

The 19th century marked the first major change in the field of education technology. During this time, the world had seen the advent of textbooks and a whole range of other innovations such as the use of ink pen instead of a pencil, as well as blackboards and chalk that were adopted by schools across the world.

The next notable period in the sphere of education is the 20th century. During this time, schools focused more on building effective curriculums and changing the whole philosophy of learning. It was during this period when the ideas of such philosophers as John Dewey (1859-1952) were gaining ground, which implied that education should focus on all aspects of child development, including intellectual, emotional, physical, and social.

The 20th century also introduced plenty of technology innovations that found application in education:

  • Stereoscope (1905)
  • Radio (1925)
  • Film projector (1925)
  • Overhead projector (1930)
  • Ballpoint pen (1940)
  • Mimeograph (1940)
  • Headphones (1950)
  • Videotape (1951)
  • Photocopier (1959)
  • Handheld calculator (1970)
  • Apple II (1977)

Finally, at the end of the 20th century, the world has seen the crowd of progress in educational technology with the introduction of personal computer (1980), the World Wide Web (1990), social media (1997), interactive whiteboard (1990), and, ultimately, the first laptop with WiFi (1999).

Then came the 21st century, with a huge number of notable technological advancements for schools. So far, our century has already become notable thanks to the introduction of such technology as:

  • e-Reader (2007)
  • Tablet (2010)
  • Google Classroom (2014)
  • Predictive learning analytics (2019)
  • EdTech apps (2020)

And even that’s not all. Currently, we can observe a whole range of other exciting technologies being integrated into education. This includes AI, VR/AR, video-game-based learning, and even more innovation is yet to come!

To Sum Up

As you can see, the field of education has gone a long way already and introduced many drastic changes. Today, technology in the classroom is no longer something surprising. And, while the progress goes on, we can’t wait to see how learning will change in the future.

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