Reading the article by Bates on the history of educational technology made me reflect on my own teaching history with regards to technology. The changes in my educational practice over that past 25 years has been quite dramatic. In the past to gather information on topics, students all had textbooks and used library books. My lessons would have involved me lecturing and writing notes on a chalkboard and the occasional use of a tv and vcr for an educational video. That was the extent of the technology in the classroom. Now we have tablets replacing textbooks and students can research any topics in the palm of their hands with a smartphone. The classroom has been completely transformed. Topics that were complicated or boring are much more easily dealt with today with such things as virtual lessons, use of video and tablets. Addressing a multitude of learning style and students with different learning needs is also much easier with todays tools. From a personal standpoint my teaching has been enhanced with and ever expanding knowledge about the curriculum through a multitude of web based programs.
I agree that technology has revolutionized most classrooms (I’d make an exception for graduate History seminars). At a macro scale it’s a good way to look at a model coming up in the course that considers practices that have been replaced with a more efficient technology (film projectors replaced by YouTube on a digital projector) and entirely new learning experiences like virtual worlds.
I think we are still in a world where there is a significant gap between what teachers could do and what they are able to do – for a variety of reasons. Just closing this gap could have a great impact in the next decade.