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.