Education has always benefitted from technological advances. From the invention of the abacus to modern day tablets and PCs, children are learning with more opportunities than ever before. Join GPS installations, specialists in public address system installations, as they discuss the history of education technology.
Early classroom inventions started with chalkboards – a surface that could be wiped and then rewritten on to present to an entire class. Students also used personal slates, which gave them the ability to solve questions and present them visually to the teacher.
In the 1900s, technology began to speed up – with film projectors debuting in 1925 and becoming part of classroom environments. The radio was also used to study in classrooms around this time, with lessons broadcast to other schools. 1940 saw the mimeograph rise to prominence, a machine that helped create copies.
The 1950s saw the slide ruler, a key component of mathematics until it was replaced by the calculator. The late 50s saw the first photocopier machine, which helped create and distribute more worksheets to students.
The following decades witnessed an explosion in terms of advancement. The calculator was introduced in the 1960s and grew to prominence in the 70s, then the Scantron machine was invented which sped up time spent marking tests. Following this, early personal computers started to come to prominence in the 1980s. The 90s saw personal computing becoming a more accepted feature and the traditional blackboard replaced with an interactive whiteboard.
However, no period in history has ever offered as much to classrooms as the 2000s – where we witnessed smartphones, YouTube, tablets, laptops and other forms of technology come to prominence.
We now have advanced technology in our classrooms, such as interactive touchscreen displays that can help a class learn dynamically. These technologies have served to aid learning in a number of areas, from collaborative work between students to aiding teachers in what were once time-consuming tasks.
Teachers in the US were surveyed on their relationship with education technology. 86% reported that they thought education technology was absolutely essential – and 92% would like even more educational technology to improve their classroom.
Students using educational technology also find themselves with lots to gain, considering electronic versions of text books are 33-35% cheaper than their physical counterparts. Tablets have been proven to improve learning – with a study finding that using tablet computers in the classroom improved both literacy and numeracy skills, and also improved pass rates in exams.
Technology allows children to have a single device that handles a range of tasks, from taking notes to web-based research and working collaboratively, sharing their work on an interactive whiteboard. Tech helps a classroom interact and communicate in a way never seen before.
However, it’s not all good news. The rise of technology also means distraction – with children owning smartphones and accessing social media when they shouldn’t. A Common Sense Media survey found that 71% of teachers thought technology was hurting student’s attention spans. Clearly, there needs to be a balance struck between productivity and distraction.
How can schools accomplish this? Access to technology is vital, so perhaps outfitting a class with an interactive whiteboard and tablet devices, but limiting Wi-Fi access so that students can’t use their personal devices is the way to avoid distraction and improve learning.
One thing is certain – the technology of today is just the beginning. With virtual reality now well on its way, will we soon see classes taught by teachers in different countries?