25 May 2013

The four eras of digital technology in education

Educational Technology in Context
To begin the course, Foundations in Technology in Teaching and Learning, I have had to research to come to an understanding of where technology has come from to learn where it is going. Studying 'the big picture' of technology in education leads me to understand the early perspectives that "shaped and defined" it to try to gain insight into the true role it will play in the future.

The Four Eras of Digital Technologies

1950- late 1970s: PRE-MICROCOMPUTER ERA
IBM 650 Computer Consoles, 1956
  • the first computer was used for instruction; MIT pilots are trained using flight simulators (1950)
  • the IBM 650 teaches binary arithmetic to school children in NYC (1959)
  • universities use main-frames systems for programming (1960-70)
  • Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) emerges; universities using mainframes and mincomputers in schools (early 1970s)
  • schools begin using computers for instruction and administration (mid to late 1970s)
  • Luehrmann coins the term computer literacy as CAI movement declines; in 1978, Molnar warns that non-computer literate students will be educationally disadvantaged (late 1970s)
Late 1970s- 1990s: MICROCOMPUTER ERA
  • the first microcomputers enter schools (1977)
  • Integrated Learning Systems (ILS) are identified as cost-effective solutions for instruction; movement away from stand-alone systems towards central servers with connected machines (mid 1980s-1990s) 
1993-1998: INTERNET ERA
  • the World Wide Web is born (1993)
  • online and distance learning increases (1994)
  • virtual schooling begins (1995)
  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) creates standards to guide technology skills for learners and teachers (1998)
Apple iPad

  • social networking gains mainstream popularity (2005)
  • Amazon releases the first ebook reader, Kindle (2007)
  • Partnership for 21st Century Skills creates framework (2008)
  • iPad, the first handheld computer, released by Apple (2010)
I think the point that struck me the strongest from this, not least regarding how long educational technology has been around (longer than I have!), but the fact that the term computer literacy (Luehrmann) has been around since the late 1970s, and, even more importantly, that as far back as 1978 (before I even started school!) there was warning that that non-computer literate students will be educationally disadvantaged (Molnar). I wonder why it is, now we live in a whole world of technology, where it shapes our everyday - in the developed world at least, we are still having to struggle at times to justify its use and effectiveness?
Important links:-
ISTE Standards
21st Century Skills
ICT Competency Framework for Teachers

Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching:
Preface (v-vi), &
Ch. 1, "Educational Technology in Context: The Big Picture"