The rapid development of technology in the latter years of the 20th century until today has had a tremendous impact on how students learn. The 1950s saw educational content televised for the first time, and in the 1980s, the inclusion of the computer in the classroom provided students with access to learning software not before readily available, such as digital calculators, art programs, and learning games. The advent of the Internet opened the flood gates to seemingly endless access to information. Students were no longer tethered to the school library and had a wealth of resources at their fingertips. Today technology has become even more ingrained in education.
Online and blended learning solutions are transforming the makeup of the traditional classroom, not only in geographic-free learning but also in how students learn from student-centered and self-directed activities. The use of collaborative software suites and virtual simulations are also opening new avenues to accelerate learning and promote continued growth. More recently, we can see the growth of mobile technologies and the advancements they offer in the educational environment. Mobile learning has gained so much popularity it has even been separated as a different method than traditional e-learning methods and challenges the definitions of formal and informal learning models.
The history of western education is a diverse and intriguing story, from the ancient Athenians developing philosophy to religious reform in Europe, great discoveries in science and math, to civil rights movements and technology breakthroughs. It is amazing how far our society has come in providing a robust and inclusive educational environment. How interesting, no one could have known any of these points of history would have had the impact it did in western education. As Steve Jobs once said during his 2005 Commencement speech to the graduating class at Stanford: “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.” What we can pray for, that learning from this history will continue to propel and promote advancements and inclusion in Western Education always.