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A Must See Graphic History of Classroom Technology

The use of technology in the classroom is as old as the notion of classroom itself. It is true that the  actual mainstream definition of technology is shaped by those major technological breakthroughs that marked the last century particularly since the invention of radio, TV, and PCs. Technology could also be traced back to the invention of the printing machine by Gutenburg in the 15th century. However, technology in its basic form is  information on anything that man makes for his benefit out of resources available, in order to make tasks simpler to perform (stone tools, fire, wheel etc).

Trying to trace back the evolutionary process of the use of technology in the classroom, I came across a wonderful resource from New York Times in which they provided a graphic history of classroom technology, from the writing slate to the electronic tablet.

C.160: Horn Book
Wodden paddles with printed lessons were popular through the colonial era




C.1850- January 1870: Ferule
A pointer and a corporal punishment device all in one convenient instrument device



1870: Magic Lantern

The predecessor of the slide machine, magic lantern projected images printed on glass plates. By the end of the world war I Chicago's public school system had a collection of 8000 slides.



C.1890: School Slate
IT was used widely throughout the 19th century



C. 1890- Chalkboard
It remained a standard tool from the era of one-room schoolhouse to the computer age.



C. 1900: Pencil
In the late 19th century, mass produced paper and pencils became more readily availbale and gradually replacing the school slate.


1905: Stereoscope
At the turn of the century, The Keystone View Company began to market  stereoscopes to schools. These are basically three dimensional viewing devices popular in home parlors.


1925: Filmstrip Projector
This is the cousin of the motion picture projector. Thomas Edison predicted that with the advent of projected images" books will soon be obsolete in schools, scholars will soon be instructed through the eye".




1925: Radio
New York City's board of education was the first to pipe lessons to schools to a radio station.



1930: Overhead Projector
Widely used by American military to train soldiers in World War II, the overhead projector eventually spread to schools.



1940: Mimeograph
Surviving into the Xerox age, mimeograph produced copies through a hand-crank mechanisms.



1950: Language Lab Headset
Inspired by theories that students learned language  best through drills and repetitions, schools began to install cubicle farms with headsets and audio tapes.



1957 Reading Accelerator
This is a device that was meant to improve reading efficiency



1957: Skinner Teaching Machine
The behaviorist B.F Skinner  developed a series of devices that allowed a student to proceed at his or her pace through a regimented program of instruction.



1958: Educational Television
By the early 60s, there were more than 50 channels that included educational programming in the air across the country.


1960: Liquid Paper
A secretary made the  white liquid in her kitchen and sold her company to Gillet at $50 million.



1965: Filmstrip Viewer
All the benefits of filmstrip projector personalized



1972: The handheld calculator




1972: Scantron
Scantron is a grading machine



1980: plato Computer




1985: CD Rom Drive




1985: Hand held graphing calculator




1999: Interactive Whiteboard




2005: iClicker
It allows teachers to poll or quiz students and receive results in real time



2006: Xo laptop

2010: iPad
The school slate reimagined. Is it the end of the textbook?



2 comments : POST A COMMENT

  1. This reminds me of http://youtu.be/UFwWWsz_X9s also a nice reminder of how technology in education has evolved.

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  2. Great "biography" or should I say "technography" as technology is not live - or is it? I'd like one important addition: cassette tapes (omitted) have been very widely used in teaching EFL and languages in general - I think they deserve a place in this model.

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