Reviewing 25 Years of Ed Tech


Reading the first third of Martin Weller’s book, 25 Years of Ed Tech, I am taken back at his historical take on Educational Technology and how much I could relate to how history unfolded. Starting in 1994, the author begins describing his perspective on the birth of ed tech and the advent of BBS. As a high school senior at the time, using the computer lab to connect to the internet and others through various BBS was an exciting way to share ideas with like-minded individuals worldwide. If you were on bulletin board systems at the time that discussed everything from comic books and horror movies, chances are you spoke to the King of the Potato People, aka me. Weller described the BBS as a precursor to the eventual LMS tools that online educators such as myself know and use today in teaching students. I can see snippets of the BBS structure in the LMS tool I use at UVic, which I had not realized before. I felt I was already coming full circle, to where I started as a student and where I eventually ended up in my career as Co-op Coordinator and Instructor. Going into the brief overview of Wikis was fascinating as well, as he made me look at the tool differently. As a marker of student technical reports in engineering, we tell the student to stray away from such material, as it is not “valid” or “accepted” in engineering. We would tend to mark those down for using Wikipedia as a reference. Still, now I may be interested in seeing how students can use Wikipedia in their technical papers, as a jumping-off point for their reports, as Weller called it a good a place for students to gain better insight into their subject and references.

I am compelled to finish the book quickly; Weller’s delivery of the material is engaging and insightful. He does not tend to deviate down too many rabbit holes one may encounter when thinking about the history of Education Technology.

3 thoughts on “Reviewing 25 Years of Ed Tech

  1. Hi Ash,

    I have the same feeling about the chapter of wikis culture – the author provide an alternative perspective for me to review the concept. I used just regard it as nothing more than a tool for reference, and never exlore the philosophy behind the tool. However, after redading the chaper, I just realized how profound the wiki culure has revolutionized the way of team work, without which we might not come together for the course online.


  2. Hi Ash,

    I’m pretty sure I’ve also had professors/teachers say they don’t want Wikipedia references, and in some ways I don’t disagree. I think because Wikipedia can be edited by anyone it can viewed as less credible. Yet, at the same time, I think it’s also become such a go-to tool, especially when you just want a simple definition or description to wrap your head around a new concept.

    For example, when I read the Bulletin Board Systems chapter, I didn’t know what it was, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. My rule of thumb tends to be I’ll use Wikipedia for definition purposes and if there’s additional information worth using, I’ll try to find another source. So in this case, the Wikipedia entry indicates that between 700 and 800 BBS are still active in 2020 – I would try to find another source to cite this number in a research paper.

    Not sure how this would work in a more technical/engineering environment though, what do you think?


    • Hi Alison
      Thank you for the comments. I believe as Weller commented, that students could use WIKI’s as a starting point to collect data and references. Using it as a trampoline, to bounce them into a direction where the can look for and access material from more “educationally approved” sources. I know I cringe when I mark reports from engineering students who have clearly not done exhaustive research and have just various wikis on their reference page.

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