Edtech through the years

Edtech is always evolving – but where did it begin? What are some of the landmarks that have allowed technology in the classroom to not only shift, but to stay?

Education technology is nothing new. While it is now evolving at a pace never seen before, technology has had a place in the classroom since at least the 1950s. According to a Lanschool Air infographic published on eSchool News, 95% of teachers are now utilising technology in the classroom. This makes sense, considering it’s predicted that 77% of jobs will require tech by 2020.

The infographic shows that classroom tech really found its feet in 1954, when Professor B. F. Skinner released a ‘teaching machine’ which allowed students to answer questions and discover, immediately, whether they were right or not. The aim was that children could, more effectively, learn at their own pace and so lessen their anxiety around being tested.

Later, in the 1960s, overhead projectors started to become commonplace in the classroom; this allowed teachers to share documents with the entire class, lessening the need to write or type out many copies on a typewriter.

This decade also saw the advent of white boards – cleaner and lighter than black boards, they were, universally, a hit. Additionally, coding was opened up as an opportunity for children in the 60s, thanks to John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz, two Dartmouth professors.

In the 1970s came the classic video game, Oregon Trail, which was part-survival game and part-history lesson. Later, in the 1980s, it became far better known as a fun passtime but the intention  when it was created in 1971 was that it should be more of a teaching aid.

As we all know, from the 1980s onwards, computing took over and it started to become the norm to have PCs, then laptops, and now tablets as educational tools in the classroom.

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What do you think the future holds next for edtech?

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