History of Educational Technology

History of Educational Technology




There is no written evidence which can tell us exactly who has coined the phrase educational technology. Different educationists, scientists and philosophers at different time intervals have put forwarded different definitions of Educational Technology. Educational technology is a multifaceted and integrated course of action involving people, procedure, ideas, devices, and organization, where technology from different fields of science is borrowed as per the need and requirement of education for implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems involved in all aspects of human learning.

Educational technology, broadly speaking, has passed by five stages.

The first stage of educational technology is coupled with the use of aids like charts, maps, signs, models, specimens and concrete materials. The term educational technology was used as synonyms to audio-visual aids.

The second stage of educational technology is associated with the ‘electronic dramatical change’ with the introduction and formation of complex hardware and software. Use of various audio-visual aids like projector, magic lanterns, tape-recorder, radio and television brought a revolutionary change in the educational scenario. consequently, educational technology concept was taken in terms of these complex instruments and equipments for effective presentation of instructional materials.

The third stage of educational technology is connected with the development of mass media which in turn led to ‘communication dramatical change’ for instructional purposes. Computer-assisted Instruction (CAI) used for education since 1950s also became popular during this era.

The fourth stage of educational technology is discernible by the individualized course of action of instruction. The invention of programmed learning and programmed instruction provided a new size to educational technology. A system of self-learning based on self-instructional materials and teaching machines emerged.

The latest concept of educational technology is influenced by the concept of system engineering or system approach which focuses on language laboratories, teaching machines, programmed instruction, multimedia technologies and the use of the computer in instruction. According to it, educational technology is a methodic way of designing, carrying out and evaluating the total course of action of teaching and learning in terms of specific objectives based on research.

Educational technology during the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age

Educational technology, despite the uncertainty of the origin of the term, can be traced back to the time of the three-age system periodization of human prehistory; namely the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.

Duringthe Stone Age, ignition of fire by rubbing stones, manufacture of various handmade weapon and utensils from stones and clothing practice were some of the simple technological developments of utmost importance. A fraction of Stone Age people developed ocean-worthy outrigger canoe ship technology to migrate from one place to another across the Ocean, by which they developed their first informal education of knowledge of the ocean currents, weather conditions, sailing practice, astronavigation, and star maps. During the later Stone Age period (Neolithic period),for agricultural practice, polished stone tools were made from a variety of hard rocks largely by digging underground tunnels, which can be considered as the first steps in mining technology. The polished axes were so effective that already after turn up of bronze and iron; people used it for clearing forest and the formation of crop farming.

Although Stone Age cultures left no written records, but archaeological evidences proved their shift from nomadic life to agricultural settlement. Ancient tools conserved in different museums, cave paintings like Altamira Cave in Spain, and other prehistoric art, such as the Venus of Willendorf, Mother Goddess from Laussel, France etc. are some of the evidences in favour of their cultures.

Neolithic dramatical change of Stone Age resulted into the turn up of Bronze Age with development of agriculture, animal domestication, and the adoption of long-lasting settlements. For these practices Bronze Age people further developed metal smelting, with copper and later bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, being the materials of their choice.

The Iron Age people replaced bronze and developed the knowledge of iron smelting technology to lower the cost of living since iron utensils were stronger and cheaper than bronze equivalents. In many Eurasian cultures, the Iron Age was the last period before the development of written scripts.

Educational technology during the period of Ancient civilizations

According to Paul Saettler, 2004, Educational technology can be traced back to the time when tribal priests systematized bodies of knowledge and ancient cultures invented pictographs or sign writing to record and transmit information. In every stage of human civilization, one can find an instructional technique or set of procedures intended to implement a particular culture which were also supported by number of investigations and evidences. The more progressive the culture, the more complicate became the technology of instruction designed to mirror particular ways of individual and social behaviour intended to run an educated society. Over centuries, each meaningful shift in educational values, goals or objectives led to different technologies of instruction.

The greatest advances in technology and engineering came with the rise of the ancient civilizations. These advances stimulated and educated other societies in the world to adopt new ways of living and governance.

The Indus Valley Civilization was an early Bronze Age civilization which was located in the northwestern vicinity of the Indian Subcontinent. The civilization was chiefly flourished around the Indus River basin of the Indus and the Punjab vicinity, extending upto the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, (most of the part is under today’s Pakistan and the western states of modern-day India in addition as some part of the civilization extending upto southeastern Afghanistan, and the easternmost part of Balochistan, Iran).

There is a long term controversy to be sure about the language that the Harappan people spoke. It is assumed that their writing was at the minimum seems to be or a pictographic script. The script appears to have had about 400 basic signs, with lots of variations. People write their script with the direction generally from right to left. Most of the writing was found on seals and sealings which were probably used in trade and official & administrative work.

Harappan people had the knowledge of the measuring tools of length, mass, and time. They were the first in the world to develop a system of uniform weights and measures.

In a study carried out by P. N. Rao et al. in 2009, published in Science, computer scientists found that the Indus script’s pattern is closer to that of spoken words, which supported the hypothesizedv hypothesis that it codes for an as-however-unknown language.

According to the Chinese Civilization, some of the major techno-offerings from China include paper, early seismological detectors, toilet paper, matches, iron plough, the multi-tube seed drill, the suspension bridge, the wheelbarrow, the parachute, natural gas as fuel, the magnetic compass, the raised-relief map, the blast furnace, the propeller, the crossbow, the South Pointing Chariot, and gun powder. With the invent of paper they have given their first step towards developments of educational technology by further culturing different handmade products of paper as method of visual aids.

Ancient Egyptian language was at one point one of the longest surviving and used languages in the world. Their script was made up of pictures of the real things like birds, animals, different tools, etc. These pictures are popularly called hieroglyph. Their language was made up of above 500 hieroglyphs which are known as hieroglyphics. On the stone monuments or tombs which were discovered and rescued latter on provides the evidence of existence of many forms of artistic hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt.

Educational technology during Medieval and Modern Period

Paper and the pulp papermaking course of action which was developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, was carried to the Middle East and was spread to Mediterranean by the Muslim conquests. Evidences sustain that a paper mill was also established in Sicily in the 12th century. The discovery of spinning wheel increased the productivity of thread making course of action to a great extent and when Lynn White additional the spinning wheel with increasing supply of rags, this led to the production of cheap paper, which was a chief factor in the development of printing technology.

The invention of the printing press was taken place in approximately 1450 AD, by Johannes Gutenburg, a German inventor. The invention of printing press was a chief developmental factor in the history of educational technology to convey the instruction as per the need of the complicate and progressive-technology cultured society.

In the pre-industrial phases, while industry was simply the handwork at artisan level, the instructional processes were relied heavily upon simple things like the slate, the horn book, the blackboard, and chalk. It was limited to a single text book with a few illustrations. Educational technology was considered synonymous to simple aids like charts and pictures.

The year 1873 may be considered a landmark in the early history of technology of education or audio-visual education. An exhibition was held in Vienna at international level in which an American school won the admiration of the educators for the exhibition of maps, charts, textbooks and other equipments.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952), internationally renowned child educator and the originator of Montessori Method exerted a dynamic impact on educational technology by her development of graded materials designed to provide for the proper sequencing of subject matter for each individual learner. Modern educational technology indicates many extension of Montessori’s idea of prepared child centered ecosystem.

In1833, Charles Babbage’s design of a general purpose computing device laid the foundation of the modern computer and in 1943, the first computing machine as per hi design was constructed by International Business Machines Corporation in USA. The Computer Assisted instruction (CAI) in which the computer roles essentially as a tutor in addition as the Talking kind writer was developed by O.K. Moore in 1966. Since 1974, computers are interestingly used in education in schools, colleges and universities.

In the beginning of the 19th century, there were noteworthy changes in the field of education. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), right from its start of school broadcasts in 1920 had maintained rapid speed in making sound contribution to formal education. In the USA, by 1952, 20 states had the provision for educational broadcasting. similar to this time about 98% of the schools in United Kingdom were equipped with radios and there were regular daily programmes.

Sidney L. Pressey, a psychologist of Ohio state university developed a self-teaching machine called ‘Drum Tutor’ in 1920. Professor Skinner, however, in his famous article ‘Science of Learning and art of Teaching’ published in 1945 pleaded for the application of the knowledge derived from behavioral psychology to classroom procedures and suggested automated teaching devices as method of doing so.

Although the first functional use of Regular television broadcasts was in Germany in 1929 and in 1936 the Olympic Games in Berlin were broadcasted by television stations in Berlin, Open circuit television began to be used chiefly for broadcasting programmes for entertainment in 1950. Since 1960, television is used for educational purposes.

In 1950, Brynmor, in England, used educational technological steps for the first time. It is to be cared that in 1960, as a consequence of industrial dramatical change in America and Russia, other countries also started progressing in the filed of educational technology. In this way, the beginning of educational technology took place in 1960 from America and Russia and now it has reached England, Europe and India.

During the time of around 1950s, new technocracy was turning it allurement to educations when there was a steep shortage of teachers in America and consequently an urgent need of educational technology was felt. Dr. Alvin C. Eurich and a little later his associate, Dr. Alexander J. Stoddard introduced mass production technology in America.

Team teaching had its origin in America in the mid of 1950’s and was first started in the year 1955 at Harvard University as a part of internship plan.

In the year 1956, Benjamin Bloom from USA introduced the taxonomy of educational objectives by his publication, “The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain”.

In 1961, Micro teaching technique was first adopted by Dwight W. Allen and his co-workers at Stanford University in USA.

Electronics is the main technology being developed in the beginning of 21st century. Broadband Internet access became popular and occupied almost all the important offices and educational places and already in shared places in developed countries with the advantage of connecting home computers with music libraries and mobile phones.

Today’s classroom is more likely to be a technology lab, a room with rows of students using internet connected or Wi-Fi enabled laptops, palmtops, notepad, or perhaps students are attending a video conferencing or virtual classroom or may have been listening to a podcast or taking in a video lecture. Rapid technological changes in the field of educational have produced new ways to teach and to learn. Technological changes also motivated the teachers to access a variety of information on a global extent via the Internet, to enhance their lessons in addition as to make them competent specialized in their area of concern. At the same time, students can utilize great resources of the Internet to enhance their learning experience to cope up with changing trend of the society. Now a days students in addition teachers are attending seminars, conferences, workshops at national and international level by using the multimedia techno-resources like PowerPoint and already they pursue a variety of important courses of their choice in distance mode via online learning ways. Online learning facility has opened infinite number of doors of opportunities for today’s learner to make their life happier than ever before.




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