In exploration of the history of Educational Technology, defining this term seemed like a good starting point. Wikipedia defines educational technology as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources”. The Association for Educational Communications and Technologies (AECT) expands the definition to include theory and research in the application of best practices to progress learning abilities. What is clear from these two definitions is that educational technology is not limited to one area, rather it includes both the physical means and foundational theories to support learning experiences (Wikipedia). Educational technology also serves as an overarching term encompassing a wide range of terminologies that are not limited to, but include computer-based training, information and communication technology, e-learning, computer mediated communication, and networked learning, just to name a few (Wikipedia).
As robust as its definition, educational technology has a long and rich history documented by its many contributions to the field of education. It can trace its origins back to the first use of tools for communication and learning such as the abacus in 3000 BC to perform mathematical calculations (Englisheasily, 2012). Bates (2014) points out that technology also served as a method to backing up and preserving oral communications through the use of scrolls and slates. With the invention of visual media such as photography, films and slides at the onset of the 19th century (Sandoval, 2008), our access to learning greatly increased. WWII, in which educational technology was used for the training and implementation of weaponry in the US, revolutionized the use of educational technologies (Englisheasily, 2012). Micro-teaching, computer assisted instruction and the use of language laboratories were a few of the instructional approaches and technologies used by the military which served as a national model for innovative technologies and instructional approaches in the US (Englisheasily, 2012; Sandoval, 2008). Fast forward to today’s society, and we can see how much technology has advanced education from the days of the abacus to present day in which mobile learning and how we learn in a digital age take on a renewed focus (Sharples, 2015).
Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) (n.d.). The definition and terminology committee. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://www.aect.org/
Bates, T. (2014). A short history of educational technology. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://www.tonybates.ca/2014/12/10/a-short-history-of-educational-technology/
Educational Technology. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_technology
Englisheasily. (2012, August 7). History of technology in education (module 1) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/1WaCn-KKprg
Sandoval, F. V. (2008, June 17). History of educational technology [PowerPoint presentation]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/lspu_eductech/02history-of-educational-technology?next_slideshow=1
Sharples, M. (2015, November 20). A very short introduction to educational technology [PowerPoint presentation]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/sharplem/introduction-to-educational-technology-55332225