By: Andrea Sieracki, Account Specialist.

With concerns about screen time and teen tech addiction, technology gets a bad rap, even in the classroom. Take the long view, however, and it’s clear that technology is nothing new in education. Teachers have used tools for instruction since early humans were painting on cave walls.

We’ve compiled am abbreviated timeline of edtech, many of which were feared or reviled early after introduction. Some of the tools we find ancient are quite modern (see: pencil).




Horn Book (1650) – Wooden paddles with printed lessons children would copy to help them learn how to write.


Chalkboard (1890) – A schoolroom staple, soon followed by the pencil in 1900.


Projector (1930) – Widely used by the military in WWII, the overhead projector eventually spread to schools where teachers viewed this as an improvement of the chalkboard.



Oregon Trail (1985) – The first educational game to be widely adopted by schools.


Internet (1994) – Despite only 3% of schools having internet access, President Clinton challenged the nation to connect every school to the web.


Interactive whiteboard (1999) – A touch-sensitive white screen, a projector, and a computer.


Personal Computers

Laptops (2004) – 54% of K-12 schools have laptops available to students.


iClicker (2005) – Allowed teachers to poll or quiz students and get results in real time.


iPads (2011) – As part of a pilot program, NYC public schools order over 2,000 iPads for teachers and students.


As of 2017, 63% of K-12 educators use edtech in their classrooms each day, up from 55% in 2016.


How many did you know? Looking for more of a challenge? Take this quiz, and find out which came first, eBooks or 3-D printing.