Education is one of the most important inventions of the human race. Through education, humans have created an enormous wealth of knowledge, beliefs, theories, and ideas. Education creates new tools to aid us, while these tools often help us educate more efficiently and thoroughly. It is for this reason that recent innovations in technology should continue to be incorporated into today’s public education system in a quick manner, rather than lagging behind the global norm.
Inventions throughout the history of mankind have helped our educational quest. The invention of paper in China, or the Greek philosophers teaching in their schools. Each new construct helped edge humans further along. Getting closer to present day, the Gutenberg printing press of the 15th century vastly improved the potential of European education. This difference between this printing press and its earlier relatives was the ability to change the print. Older presses had a fixed print—it could only press one page of a book. The Gutenberg press, however, had moveable print. The type could be set into different pages, allowing for an infinite amount of possibilities.
In the 19th century, when public education began to flourish throughout the United States, more commonly known educational devices came into existence. The chalkboard, for example, came into major use in schools. Anyone with even only a year of education will know what a chalkboard is and its many uses, even if it is taken for granted now. The chalkboard’s smaller version, the school slate, was also widely used. In the early 20th century, the beloved pencil began to replace the school slate. As motion pictures began to take America by storm, similar film projectors soon appeared in classrooms, another major step in education. The overhead projector, which I remember from my grade school days, first started to be used around WWII. Other technologies, which many of us take for granted now, got their start after WWII. Television, video tapes, and calculators all were invented in the latter half of the 20th century.
Clearly, education has always been supplemented with current technology. It is curious that today’s technology is not being equipped by school districts as readily as one would expect. Laptops, iPads, and Smartboards have all been in existence for some years now; yet, relatively few schools use them. Schools are not given the funding to purchase enough, decent quality laptops or iPads for students. Smartboards are underused by teachers who do not fully understand their capabilities. Yet, many complain that the United States is falling behind in our public education when compared to other countries in the world. Trained teachers using the correct technological tools can help bridge this gap. Technology being incorporated into schools works—Mooresville School District, in North Carolina, has shown vast improvement in test scores and graduation rates. If it is shown to work, we as a nation should pursue the possibilities. If we are to ignore them, we will stagnate as a community and reduce the progress of humanity.
Technology’s importance in the history of education is vast. Improved technology has made us what we are today, for better or worse. It is important then to support funding for education to allow for schools to continue to upgrade and stay at pace with the world. It makes little sense for the younger generation’s education to be taught in the past generation’s style, when education is supposed to prepare them for the future.