This article discusses how technology can be used as an educational tool in the classroom to foster meaningful learning.
Some of the first educational technologies were illustrations in 17th-century books and slate chalkboards in 18th-century classrooms. Educational technologies in the 20th century include lantern-slide and opaque projectors, later radio, and then motion pictures. During the 1950s, programmed instruction emerged as the first true educational technology, that is, the first technology developed specifically to meet educational needs. With every other technology, including computers, educators recognized its importance and debated how to apply each nascent commercial technology for educational purposes. Unfortunately, educators have almost always tried to use technologies to teach students in the same ways that teachers had always taught. So information was recorded in the technology (e.g., the content presented by films and television programs), and the technology presented that information to the students. The students’ role was to learn the information presented by the technology, just as they learned information presented by the teacher. The role of the technology was to deliver lessons to students, just as trucks deliver groceries to supermarkets (Clark, 1983).