NOW READING: Classroom Tech: Looking Back and Moving Forward

Classroom Tech: Looking Back and Moving Forward

My, my, how times change. Compare the classrooms of today with the ones from 10 or 20 years ago. It blows your mind how much things have transformed. The classroom tech of old is gone, never to return. That said, what kinds of technology can we look forward to seeing in our classrooms as time goes on?

The answer is in a terrific Edudemic article from Adam Gutierrez, called Flashback to 2000: Classroom Tech That Doesn’t Exist Anymore. Altogether nostalgic, bittersweet, and ultimately hopeful, Adam takes us on a trip down memory lane as he looks at some of the classroom tech of old that will have you saying to yourself, "Oh man, I remember using those!"


Entering the Classroom Tech Graveyard

Adam recalls that even almost two decades ago our educational tech was decidedly less advanced that what we see today. It reminds us just how quickly and drastically things have transformed in that time:

"Educational videos were often shown on videotapes with a TV and VCR that were wheeled into the room. Overhead projectors and floppy disks were classroom staples, and blackboards were still to the go-to teaching tool. In 2000, Wikipedia and iPods were months away, while Facebook, Youtube, and SMARTboards took several more years."

He points out that this rapid transition hasn't just presented teachers and learners with the challenge of exercising their adaptability. It's also led to increased opportunities for teaching and learning and for making global connections.

So what's on the tombstones in this classroom tech graveyard Adam's talking about? Here lies:

  • Floppy Disks: The 3-inch floppies we once were so worried about bending by sitting on them held a fraction of the storage capacity found on today's average smartphone.
  • Microfiche/Microfilm: Research in the past meant searching through a library’s film stores using a microfiche. Today we have access to digitized collections of news documents available with quick online searches.
  • TV and VCR Carts: Remember having to roll in a big bulky TV on a cart and fumble with a VCR recorder that maybe might decide not to work on any given day? YouTube made short work of that.
  • Notebooks and Binders: Paper may never disappear from our classrooms altogether. It has made room, however, for tablets and laptops and even the concept of collaborating on documents online.
  • Chalkboards: SMARTboards have largely taken the place of the more traditional whiteboard and even more traditional chalkboard. Nevertheless, some educators still like the feel of the latter two and still use them now and then.
  • Graphing Calculators: These have been improved dramatically over the years by heavyweights in the industry such as Texas Instruments. Still clunkier than the average smartphone, though.
  • Language tapes: These were once in wide use with language learners but have been supplanted largely by more powerful and more interactive apps and online software.
  • Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Reference Materials: You can sum up the death of these with one word—Google.

What's on the horizon? Read Adam's full article here to learn more.