History of Educational Technology

This timeline outlines the history of educational technology.

Timeline created by Jessica Levene for EME 5054, Fall 2012. Assignment 2.2;xNLx;EdD Cohort 3 at the University of Florida

Edmodo: Safe Social Networking in Schools

As social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook infiltrate society's daily life, Nic Borg and Jeff O'Hara develop a safe, secure social networking platform for schools. Edmodo is an example of how teachers in traditional classrooms can integrate anytime, anywhere learning to promote collaboration in a secure environment that mimics Facebook.

Audiovisual Instruction & WWII

The need for mass instruction (training) for the military and the advent of audiovisual technology resulted in an impact on educational technology. Over 400 training films were created between 1943-1945 and this instructional media became a key training tool for the military during World War II. The instructional audiovisual media precipitated interest in researching systematic design of training by creating task analysis and methods of evaluation.

Inquiry & The Socratic Method

Through the use of questioning, Socrates (and his students Plato and Zenophon) guide the learner to their inborn knowledge. AVID, a national program for college readiness, still emphasizes the Socratic Method as an integral part of the curriculum as students work in small groups with a tutor to use questioning to guide their peers to solve their homework questions.

Affordable Education

A recurring issue throughout the history of education prior to the monitorial, free public school model was that social status often indicated whether individuals had access to education. In New York City, the Lancasterian Monitorial Method is implemented as an affordable option for education. Using a method similar to a train-the-trainer method, one teacher taught monitors, who then taught a small group of students by repeating rote knowledge and practice problems until the problems could be completed with ease. Using instructional media as a tool for instruction, learners would listen as the monitor showed an example and then use their slates to copy the process. The slates could be cleared and reused. The Lancasterian Monitorial period is included in this timeline for two primary reasons: 1) this model served as a catalyst for free public schools with an emphasis on sequential, systematic teaching methods with classroom management, and 2) this model included examples of instructional media and design that are still prevalent today. The slates that were used are examples of instructional media being used to supplement instructional methods.

Learning Sequence & Object-Teaching

Focusing on the natural growth of the mind, Pestalozzian principles emphasized breaking content down into developmentally appropriate sequences with a teacher-centered approach. The Pestalozzian method used objects to teach simple, concrete ideas which would build up to teaching abstract ideas. For example, learners would count five physical blocks which lead to learning the number “5.” By 1860, modified Pestalozzian methods were reflected in Oswego, New York, where Edward Sheldon introduced object-teaching, which deemphasized the use of textual material for learning and emphasized the use of nature, diagrams, and museums.

Object Teaching: Quincy Methods

Although the teacher was still considered the sole source of knowledge, a variation of object-teaching was employed in Quincy, Massachusetts where students learned through sensory active processes (learning by doing), by using everyday objects to learn about abstract science principles.

Method of Apperception

Herbart’s framework identified levels of learning, which included first sensory activity, next reproduction of already existing ideas, and finally, assimilating the new concept with the old concept. This was a teacher-centered approach where the teacher has prepared questions and answers that they used to impart knowledge.

Visual Instruction

The motion picture projector is an instructional media device used in schools to incorporate films, slides, and photographs for use in instruction. Institutions that trained teachers on how to use visual instruction were formed as school districts adopted motion pictures and slides into their classrooms. This is a relevant event to include because it reflects similar practices today: when new technology/instructional media is introduced, teachers must receive training on how to leverage the use of technology.

Instructional TV & Programmed Instruction

Joint efforts between the Federal Communications Commision and funding from Ford Foundation sparked an increase in using television to deliver instruction. Unfortunately, the educational channels used didactic, teacher-centered broadcasting of teachers lecturing. Programmed instructional materials could increase self-paced learning through sequential content presentation, questioning techniques, and immediate feedback. In 1954, B.F. Skinner began developing a systematic approach to evaluate and revise instructional materials/media. Through the evaluation process, instructional materials were revised according to effectiveness. This process of analyzing and systematically designing instruction resulted in the foundation of today’s instructional design process.

The Conditions of Learning by Robert Gagne

Gagne’s publication outlined five domains of learning outcomes and nine events of instruction. This model serves as a foundation to instructional design in educational technology because Gagne’s model emphasizes careful analysis of content and task analysis and is still frequently used when designing instruction.

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