The term educational technology is broad in terms of meaning and scope. Relating educational technology with digital learning would narrow down its scope and would not take into consideration the field’s rich history leading up to its significant reformation in recent years.

Educational technology is the study, practices and theories of delivering learning and improving learner performance through the creation, usage and management of technical means, such as process and media, referred to as technologies (Robinson, Molenda, Rezabek, 2008, as cited in Wikipedia, 2018). The origin of educational technology is not consistent across bibliography.

According to NY Times, educational technology evolved along with classroom technology. In 1806 and prior to print press, the resource available to teachers and students was a desktop sandbox to practice the alphabet and with a flat iron, they would smooth the sand prior to presenting a new letter (Gutek, 1986, p. 62 as cited in Haran, 2015). In 1846, the chalkboard and the slate were introduced followed by the hornbook and the printed textbooks. Around the turn of the 20th century, lead pencils were mass-produced replacing the school slate and the magic lantern and the stereoscope were the first visual technological inventions. A few decades later, films, radios, the overhead projector and the TV, played a key role in education prior to teaching machines, programmed instruction, computers and presentation software that came much later. Unquestionably, today’s technologies such as the Internet, the Learning Management Systems, digital textbooks, cloud computing and social media have shaped the media used to deliver education.

However, bibliography supports that as early as the fifth century BC, formal teaching took place through storytelling and mastering the art of lecturing in ancient Greece. Ancient written documents were found in ancient Greece and Egypt, proving that written communication was well developed before the invention of printing in Europe during the 15th century.

Therefore, we clearly see the relationship between media and technologies and how those have been used through history in delivering effective education.


Bates, T. (2014, December 10). A short history of educational technology. Online learning and distance education resources [blog]. Retrieved from

Educational technology. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 9, 2018, from

Haran, M. (2015, May 29). A history of education technology. Institute Of Progressive Education & Learning [blog]. Retrieved from

Haran, M. (2014, October 3). Education technology – a primer. Institute Of Progressive Education & Learning [blog]. Retrieved from