Technology in Education: Evolution Timeline

Updated: Mar 22

Audience: Middle and High School Students

In the past few decades, technology has come to dominate our lives. It has made humanity highly dependent on its assistance, especially for education. Educational technology has been evolving for nearly a century now and has drastically changed the way we learn.


The radio is made popular and accessible to all. Learning programs begin to take place on certain channels, giving educational opportunity to anyone who could tune in. In 1937, Chicago would use radio to educate children during an outbreak of Polio, similar to what is occurring today with COVID-19.


The ballpoint pen starts to appear on desks. While this is not an electronic technology and may seem insignificant, it fostered a change from the regular pencil to a non-erasable, more elegant writing tool.


Headphones are introduced in schools. Using audio recorders students could now listen and review lessons outside of the classroom while also having the privacy of listening.

1950 headphones. Image by Museo nazionale della scienza e della tecnologia from Wikimedia Commons.


The photocopier makes it easier than ever before to create multiple worksheets, book pages, and more learning materials to distribute to students.


The overhead projector is implemented in American schools, making it easier for teachers to display visuals. Slideshows, photos, and videos could now be broadcasted for the entire class to see.


The handheld calculator becomes accessible, allowing students and teachers to compute mathematical equations in a matter of seconds. Difficult levels of math becomes more accessible since less time is being spent on simple calculations.

The Scantron testing system is also implemented in schools, allowing teachers to grade tests and worksheets more efficiently.


The Internet was created. Before this, rudimentary computers and programs did not have an easy way to communicate amongst each other. With the creation of the Internet, a new era of technological advancements in the education field, such as new teaching programs and emails become a reality. Today, we use the Internet for nearly everything, ranging from online shopping to browsing the web for funny cat videos!


35% of schools in the US have some sort of Internet access. Learners now have access to hundreds of new sources and an abundance of information they couldn’t previously access with books. As a result, research becomes quicker and easier.


97% of classrooms have computers available to students and staff. Companies such as Intel and Microsoft begin to release revisions of earlier attempts at computer technology and some start releasing their first verses of computers.


Classrooms begin using the SmartBoard, the beginning version of IWBs (interactive whiteboards) that makes teaching easier and generates less waste in terms of markers and erasers. Using this SmartBoard, students and teachers can easily project screens of other devices onto the board for easy viewing for learners.


Skype in the Classroom” is introduced, letting students take courses outside of local institutions and from the comfort of their homes. This technology also enables communication between teachers and students across different countries.


Some of the greatest technological advancements for education occur this year: Apple’s iPad is starting to be used in classrooms for quick and easy access to the Internet and online resources. Google Classroom is also developed in 2014, allowing teachers to create assignments and grade student work online. Chromebooks eventually surpass Apple’s sale of iPads for schools, creating a transition back to keyboard technology. Many students in the Bay Area know of the widespread use of Chromebooks and Google Classroom, most having worked with these tools since elementary school.


The Apple Pencil is released, introducing learners to digital note-taking. This new method of taking notes is more sustainable and environmentally-friendly as it does not require the use of paper, pencils, or erasers. All notes can be forever stored on the cloud and shared with other learners.

A student using the Apple Pencil and iPad. Image by Dose Media from

In the past year, students have seen a rise of online platforms, such as Zoom and Canvas, used for distance learning during the pandemic. New technological advancements are made constantly—even as you read this article! Similar to today’s students having a completely different learning experience from their parents, the following generations are likely to have even more advanced technology than we do.


Apple. “iPad in Education.” Apple,, March 2019,

Foss, Katherine A. “Remote Learning Isn't New: Radio instruction in 1937 Polio pandemic.” The Conversation,, 5 October 2020,,in%20a%20time%20of%20crisis.

Purdue University. “The Evolution of Technology in the Classroom.” Purdue University, Purdue University Online,

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