A story from American Public Media’s Marketplace highlights the history of technology in the classroom, dating back to 1922 when Thomas Edison claimed that motion picture would be the future of education. The article covers several technological revolutions from the 21st century from radio, television and computers, emphasizing that each wave of modernization rarely lived up to the hype that proceeded it. While enthusiasm seemed palpable in the early phases of innovation, the real-world applications seemed to wallow in disappointment and lackluster results.
Modern observers of education technology could point out that a similar trend seemed obvious with the rapid rise and fall of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) over the course of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Critics of online learning have made the same claims about web-based instruction, pontificating that Internet instruction is a fleeting trend, but those critics have been proven wrong by more than 20 years of steady growth worldwide. The major difference between online courses and previous ed tech trends is that the Internet is largely an interactive medium. Students receive instant feedback and can interact in real-time with educators and their peers.