When looking into the future, it’s important to consider the past. The history of education IT has a lot of things to say, but one of the biggest lessons we can learn from early innovators is that change happens quickly. School networks have become faster, devices have become smarter and tablets have become just as powerful as classroom computers. How much else has changed in the past 70 years? How far have schools come? Look at the infographic below to find out! In case you’re facing a time crunch, here are some highlights:
- 1944: First operational computer used at Harvard
- 1975: The development of microprocessors made the concept of personal computing possible
- 1976: First Apple computer released – Apple dominates the education technology market through the 90s
- 1989: Sixty-seven percent of teachers use classroom computers and 25 percent of schools have modems
- 1994: 35 percent of public schools have internet access
1989 was not that long ago, but a lot has certainly changed since then. The fact that the majority of teachers gained access to their own classroom computers just 14 years after the concept of personal computing started becoming a reality is pretty impressive. That rapid evolution certainly didn’t stop in 1994, either. Apple was a major player in the education technology arena early on, and that hasn’t stopped – if you haven’t seen as many Macs in your school, it’s because students and faculty are using iPads these days. In fact, 54 percent of schools surveyed in 2012 used tablets or e-readers in the classroom. Part of the reason is the growing popularity of digital textbooks, which give several advantages over their bulky, physical counterparts.
Digital books make a lot of sense in education, especially in certain subjects when new discoveries are a common occurrence. Many schools don’t have the resources to purchase all new materials whenever something groundbreaking happens. Relying on physical books for learning can be costly, and this is especially a problem in impoverished countries. The digital revolution has not been isolated to wealthy countries. In fact, third-world countries are starting to equip students with basic tablets and e-readers for learning. The initial cost is higher because schools have to buy all new hardware and then outfit the devices with digital licenses. However, the long-term savings may make it worth a little upfront capital! At least this is the case for the 27 percent of middle schools and 35 percent of high schools now using digital textbooks.
The overall evolution of technology in education appears to be positive, as the majority of teachers (75 percent) believe that projects such as the Main Learning Technology Initiative helped them meet academic standards. This initiative equipped seventh- and eighth-graders with laptops – that may sound crazy, but it has proven results. Technology has certainly come a long way, from computers that once filled an entire room to powerful devices that fit in your pocket!