The History of Educational Technology

A robot holding a tablet.

Please note: This blog post is a course related assessment for the Master of Arts in Learning and Technology program at Royal Roads University.

The field of educational technology goes back further than most people realize. When some people think of technology, they think of a computer powered device, where in reality, items such as pencils and paper were at one point new technologies that changed the landscape of education.

While researching this topic, I reviewed several academic journals, YouTube videos, and websites. The reading that related to me the most though is a book titled Teaching in a Digital Age by Tony Bates. In this book (also available digitally), Bates (2016) provides a short history of educational technology, outlining the many forms of technologies that were used over time. These include but are not limited to slate boards and chalk, pencils and paper, radio, and computers. Bates also provides details into the cost factor of these technologies, such as the high cost of telephone calls not allowing for the telephone being used as an educational tool and the low price of video servers allowing for class recordings being offered through the internet. While this is a recently published book, two technologies have started to become more popular over the past two years since the book was published.

Advanced types of Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have started to appear in the classroom. While the technologies were used in the past, we may finally be in a time that AR and AI can positively impact the learning experience. AR is used in the field of medical education at Case Western Reserve University, allowing students to so how everything inside of the human body is interconnected (Case Western University, 2016). Meanwhile, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used at North Eastern University through the use of Alexa. The virtual assistant can provide students with information such as when their next class is or who their academic advisor is, to help relieve the student’s cognitive load.

While there is a lot of information available on the history of educational technology, the more recent use of AR and AI is still being analyzed to discover if it is being successfully implemented. I for one, am excited to review the findings from Case Western University and Northeastern University.


Bates, T. (2016). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. British Columbia: SFU Document Solutions.

Case Western University. (2016, August 11). CWRU, Cleveland Clinic release first third-party app for Microsoft HoloLens. Retrieved from

Northeastern University. (2018, June 21). Can Alexa simplify student life? Northeastern gave 60 students Amazon Echo Dots to find out. Retrieved from

0 thoughts on “The History of Educational Technology

  • Hi Brandon, I really enjoyed reading your post and thank you for introducing me to this recent uses of AR and AI. It is interesting what the AR is being used for at Case, a long way from self experimentation and vivisection of the past. I am guilty for using my google home to remember things for me- I find it very useful. thanks for sharing,

    • All my pleasure, Amanda. I also use Google home to perform administrative tasks and find that it allows me more time to focus on other priorities in my life.

      I am excited to see how augmented reality (AR) advances in the future. Several fields do not allow much room for error and having the ability to use AR for practice, could enable the individuals to be more skilled when entering the workforce.

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