Historical Overview of Educational Technology

This week, we took a look at the historical overview of the field of educational technology. In addition, we looked at a societal view (a systems view) of educational technology as well as some of the critical issues in the field.

Historical Overview

Looking back and thinking Forward Video (some bullets of the last 100 years in edtech)
1900 – Early School Houses with Blackboards.
1910 – Episcope (early projectors and early film projectors)
1920 – Reel films
1922 -Thomas Edison says film will replace textbooks
1923 – Visual Instruction movement, educational films, slides, and motion pictures to improve instruction
1927 – Who wants to hear actors talk?
1930 – radio lectures
1933 – 52% schools using silent films, trecord players, radio
1940 – military training using technology (457 training films and 55000 film projectors), record players. Five computers IBM
1950 – audio visual buildings, televisions in classrooms
1960 – more televisions, language labs, microscopes
1970 – calculators, overhead projectors, early video games
1980 – computers in schools, typewriters, walkmans, vcrs, early apple computers and windows, powerpoint, cds, hypercards
1990 – windows, Internet, MOSAIC for Windows, DVD,
2000 – LMS, Smartboards, projectors, Moodle, MIT open courseware, Facebook, Open Yale Courses, You Tube, cell phones, Web 2.0

Computer-based technology and learning: Evolving uses and expectations: Revised Edition, Naperville, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laborator. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service Number: ED4566816)
This article provides an in depth report of three phases in technology use and expectations including Print Automation, Expansion of Learning Opportunities, and Data-Driven Virtual Learning. It addresses two questions of how to best use technology in K-12: What evidence is there that computer-based technology in each phase has a positive effect on learning, and what significance do the findings in each phase have for educators as they are making technology-related decisions that have an impact on student learning?

Print Automation
During print automation phase of technology, largely computer based instruction consisted of drill and practice to teach segmented content or skills. Educators during this time, however, relied mostly on educational practices dominated by behavioral learning principles (practice, drill, correct mistakes, start over), so the computer software at the time tended to reflect these practices. Some critics (Berryman and Streibal) both believed in placing the control of learning on the teacher rather than the learner, and early software applications placed the responsibility on the learner and replaced the teacher with the computer software. Some early teachers “formed antitechnology attitudes as a result. The findings of meta-analyses during this phase support the notion that learners achievement increases in nearly all cases involving the uses of educational technology (computer-based instruction, computer assisted instruction, etcetera). Moreover, the evidence supports the idea that students that achieve less or that have “little prior content knowledge” are going to get more out of technology supported, closed-ended learning activities than are other students.

Expansion of Learning Opportunities
This phase happened moreso during the 1990s when reformed teachers learned that student centered learning enhances meaning and augments students interest in the learning content. Many teachers used computers during this phase. During this phase, information was provided in interactive formats including graphics, word processors, and use of the Internet and World Wide Web. Some evidence during this phase demonstrated that computers should be used less for drill and practice and more for open ended thinking ctools. In addition, students required skills in organizing information in order to synthesize it and make use of it to solve problems. Teacher productivity increased and the role of the teacher shifted during this phase to more of a stimulator of debate and discussion around topics as opposed to the teller of all facts (that was left to the computer).

During this phase, learning was facilitated using the technology and did a good job of doing so. A range of applications met learners needs (in a timely manner as well). Several studies and meta-analyses were conducted that concluded that using educational technology as a learning tool made a difference in student achievement on standardized tests. One that stood out to me was the West Virginia Study that systematically implemented a basic skills computer curriculum where student achievement scores increased significantly during the study. The points that stood out in my mind were that teachers were provided to RELEVANT and sufficient technology software, hardware, and training. Another point that stood out to me during this phase was the research that supported the ability to do open ended educational and experential learning (where the teacher does not know an answer (or may not) and the students discover an answer (or lack there of) during a technology-based instructional lesson. This definately shifts the “dynamics of the instructional process” significantly from behavioral approaches seen during phase 1.

Data-Driven Virtual Learning

The Internet, intranets, and multimedia availability along with policy and decision making was predominant in this phase where a shift has occurred between teachers and learners. It is also characterized by an increase in technology (both the amount and the connections inside of these). Like phase II and phase I, this phase is full of research that concludes that increases in technology supports both “facilitates and encourages student achievement.” Multiple studies related to access to technology impacting student achievement are noted in this phase including studies in New Zealand and New York State school districts. Technology acts as a change agent and a catalyst to change.
Notably, the change in this phase is in content area including a need for information literacy to be part of standards. Word processing, telecommunications, and other complext multimedia authorizing tools require students to “apply knowledge of media grammar, current social literary convention” in order to create and learn. Basically, electronic technology is a necessary part of the learning process as information acquisition is a central part of making sense of a discipline, content, or even a particular skill. The significance for educators during this phase has revealed that educational institutions and students, in order to improve student achievement need to break down barriers that prevent access to technology. Educators need access to updated systems and professional development that involves integrating the technology in appropriate ways into their curriculum. Lastly, computers need to be viewed as learning environments with the ability to support student learning.

The conclusions in this report provides linkages between “teacher’s professional development in appropriate uses of technology and increased student achievement is very strong.” The article does a good job of walking through the historical aspects of how educational technology has been used while providing valuable research implications and how those impact decision making in schools. Notably in the third phase, it gets more specific on how technology research has revealed significant increases in student performance and achievement in specific disciplines including English/Language arts and mathematics. In all, while technology cannot solve all educational problems, t he research has shown how it can make learning more interactive, enhance the learning process in terms of engagement, individualize curriculm, store data for decision making, and help to improve accountability of the use of educational technology. Success really is seen when the purpose and learning goals are first established, professional development is provided (adequately and in proper context), accountability is established from the beginning (as many failures are more noted on the human side than the technology side), and adequate access is provided to both students and teachers.

Societal Overview
Luppicini, R. (2005) A systems definition of educational technology in societ. Educational Technology & Societ, 8(3), 103-109. Retrieved September 8, 2010 from http://www.ifeits.info/journals/8_3/10.pdf

This article attempts to “render visible a systems definition of Educational Technology in Society” by looking at outside influences to the field, inside influences within the field, and articulating a definition of the term Educational Technology. The focus of this reflection will attempt to define educational technology from a social scientists perspective. It differs from other scientific approaches to defining “it” because it considers the human influences rather than just observations. Also, it takes a view from the outside (which really complicates things in that it focuses in on mental processes and products, those which are adaptive, systematic, material making/transforming, and having an emphases on other influences (intellectual, environmental and social), as well as serving human purposes) and from the inside. This outside view was characterized more by the term technology than educational technology; other than the mental processes involved in learning with technology. The view from the inside describes the basic ‘struggles” that have been involved in coming up with a definition to make the field have credibility. In all, the article suggests that a systems definition of educational technology encompasses all of the aspects needed to define the field including the tools, goals, techniques, and methods and how they are involved with developing resources and guiding changes in educational systems and practice in an effort to facilitate learning and contribute to change in society.

Critical Issues in Educational Technology
The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory provides a bullet of critical issues in educational technology to include a number of key items that are important considerations when in the field. These include the following:
1. A catalyst for teaching and learning in the classroom.
2. Enhancing positive educational change
3. Enhancing system change and academic success (assistive technologies to support special needs)
4. Using technology to support english learners
5. Providing professional development for effective technology use
6. Using technology to improve student achievement.
7. Developing technology plans
8. Ensuring equitable use of education technology
9. Promoting technology use in schools

In skimming many of these articles, I learned that there are many issues within the field which can assist me in the future. I bookmarked this website on Delicious for the future.


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