Technology in Education 50 Years Ago Compared to Now

Technology in Education 50 Years Ago Compared to Now

Technology in the classroom has progressed a long way in the past half century. Technological advancements have been felt heavily in the education sector as it has been the case for all other fields. Education is a very important field in the society, so a considerable amount of resources and efforts has been put in to achieve this advancement. To have a better understanding of this phenomenon, we are going to explore these several advancements.

There were a lot of dissertation ideas that changed the world. Some ideas have only experienced a small degree of advancement while other have significantly changed from what they were originally.

There are various reasons behind the advancements that had inspirations from a variety of sources. This has been fuelled by the fact that there is a multitude of interested parties, all with different objectives and reasons. All in all the core ideology of this process is well characterized by enhancement of the learning process.

We shall start with a quick overview comparison of the present time and that of 50 years ago, then we will explore how and why the changes came about. We shall discuss the significant contributors to this widespread phenomenon. We shall also see how different ideas developed over time and how gadgets were invented and developed for purely education purposes. As it is with other fields of technology, not everything was carefully planned and executed as it was on paper, but some things came up as coincidences and accidents.

Reasons for Technological Advancements in the Classroom

Several reasons are behind technology changes in the education sector. Some are discussed below:

  • Time and Resource Saving

This is among the most important factors that have contributed significantly to the changes we have experienced in the classrooms. Every teacher who has ever taught any student can place emphasis on time-saving. Due to the numerous activities and processes involved in learning, time management is crucial for a success. Some devices like the handheld calculator were invented to reduce the amount of time spent on monotonous activities.

  • Content Enhancement

Some concepts came up for improving the quality and quantity of the content being taught to students. An example is a photocopier that multiplies the content, saving a lot of resources.

  • Speed Up the Process

Other concepts were developed to speed up the learning process. Devices like the interactive whiteboard make the teaching and learning processes faster by a notable margin. This is a core factor for all advancements in technology. If an idea doesn’t make the existing process more efficient, it will be impossible for that idea to be adopted into the field.

  • Content Delivery

This was a major headache for educators for a long time now. Traditional mechanisms of content delivery were very limited and highly ineffective. Concepts like the internet that have heavily impacted education have proved to be very effective for this purpose. An idea can be delivered to a huge audience in real time globally through the use of such technologies as the internet.

  • Content Preservation

This is an important factor that led to the development of gadgets like a CD-ROM that help in the storage of educational materials. This area has seen notable advancement where traditional methods had very limited capabilities while the new technologies allow more convenient data storage.

We are going to explore different ideas and techniques that were adopted 50 years ago and how they exist today. What path they have taken in the course of progress and what fuelled the change. Some of the most notable concepts are discussed below.

  • The Chalkboard

This idea was developed in the 17th century in Scotland and remained constant over the past 50 years. The only part that has been touched by progress is the chalk. Better materials and techniques have fuelled the development of dustless chalks that are very distinct from the original idea.

Another idea that developed out of the concept of the chalkboard is the whiteboard. This idea features the use of plastic surfaces and felt pens. Interactive whiteboards that are sensitive to touch came up at the fall of the millennium. They utilize a projector and a computer aided by several sensors and are manipulated in a way the chalkboard or the traditional whiteboard will never be able to.

  • The Internet

Considered by most as the most important part of the 21st century, the internet has really matched up to this status. The internet has single-handedly broken down the boundaries of all countries creating a single global classroom. The power of connecting the globe into one network could not be kept out of the education sector. In fact, the internet is the classroom of the modern educational system. Millions of people attend lectures and seminars over the internet from the remote locations of the world.

The ways the internet has been incorporated into the education system are enough to create a discipline of its own. There are millions of processes that the internet alone supports for the purpose of educating humanity.

Barely 50 years old, initially a military project, it made its first appearance to the public in the late 80s. It was popularized in the 90s with the development of multimedia content.

It offered a new frontier that had not yet been imagined. The most significant is its ability to connect people from different locations in real-time. This is the magic of the internet that makes it a modern miracle. Almost all human experiences and knowledge are available at your fingertips on the internet making it an invaluable source of knowledge.

  • Computers

The invention of computers ushered in a new era of the human history. We entered the digital era and our destiny took a different turn. Through the computers, the power of the internet was realized. This made the computer the most significant device of the time.

Computers entered the world with a bang and were immediately absorbed into every corner of the world economies. The most successful business ventures of the 21st century are connected with computers. There were also campaigns for the incorporation of computers into schools and the education sector.

Even without an active intervention, computers quickly found their way into classrooms. The efficiency they brought with them could not be resisted by the hungry students. There are several disciplines that would be impossible to undertake without computers. Even in the most fundamental stages of education, there is apparent evidence of computer influence.

Not present in the education spectrum 50 years ago, computers plus the internet are the cornerstone of education in the modern era. Research analysis of data is more accurate and efficient with the aid of digital computing. The information age, which we currently live in, is basically the age of rapidly developing powerful computers. Size has drastically changed, from the first computers occupying an entire floor of a building to miniaturized gadgets that fit in the pocket. Today, computers exist in various forms with very varying capabilities and the tasks they perform.

The first computers were housed and developed by educational facilities, mostly universities. This makes them very significant to the education sector right from their birth. First being operated by a few skilled engineers, disciplines sprung up overnight to teach students how to use them, changing the education field forever.

  • Pen and Paper

These are the two features that have been completely incorporated into the education sector. Having different origins and different inspirations for development, they’ve had their light shining in the classrooms for over a century now.

Developed in different times in different locations, these two met in the classroom and never parted ways. They have seen years of development together. From rough and rugged edged predecessors, now we have fine executive quality pen and paper.

The ballpoint pen was developed in the late 18th century and commercialized in the early 19th century. 50 years ago they were fairly stable products as the paper was invented several centuries ago. Over the past 50 years, the major process has been refining the quality and increasing production volume.

These two serve as the medium of imparting knowledge. Until a more efficient medium is developed, pen and paper are permanent residents of our classrooms. They have been faithful companions of generations on end, and we are not about to go our separate ways, at least not anytime soon.

  • Education Support Services

Education is a very sensitive field in the aspect of human knowledge. This means that entire economies will develop and flourish around it as a way of enhancing education. There are many players in the education industry with so many varying services to offer. We shall discuss a few of these services below:

  • Proofreading – Proofreading has developed into a full professional venture over the last 50 years. Although not a new idea, since it has been around for as long as writing has been there, it has seen a remarkable revolution as a profession. Mostly applicable to higher education and professional publishing, its major purpose is to check the quality of the writing. Many proofreading services are available online.
  • Writing Services – These are the core services of the education field. Also applicable to higher education and production of education books and media, writing has been around even before paper was even invented in the BCs.

Dissertations That Changed the World in the Past 50 Years

Some of the most famous dissertations that changed the world include:

  1. Edward Earl Catmull, University of Utah, in 1975, “A Subdivision Algorithm for Computer Display of Curved Surfaces.” 
  2. Rebecca Mercuri, University of Pennsylvania, in 2001, “Electronic vote tabulation checks and balances.” 
  3. Ivan Edward, Sutherland Massachusetts Institute, in 1963, “Sketchpad: A man-machine graphical communication system.”


The education field has seen huge progress over the past 50 years resulting from technological advances. The technologies in place today and those that were in place 50 years ago have changed in very obvious ways. Several motives have driven this agenda which seems to not ever take a break. You are free to leave a comment below with your views on this topic.

Technology in Education 50 Years Ago Compared to Now