Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F077948-0006 / Engelbert Reineke / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons


Technology in Education (The 1980s)

Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F077948-0006 / Engelbert Reineke / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

Most recently, seeing developments in technology has not been regarded as much of an achievement. People see new technologies every now and then, which has led to these discoveries not being perceived as exciting.

The entire world has come a long way from the first use of technology in education. In the 80s, people regarded every development as a huge achievement as digital technology was still at its grassroots levels.

Here is a breakdown of the most common technologies that were popular back then and how they were used in the educational sector:

The rise of using computers in schools

Personal computers were starting to rise back in the 80s and as a result, some tried to start functional computer programs in schools. These programs were launched in different higher education institutions, especially in developed countries.

As a result, many schools had personal computers or what became colloquially known as computer labs. This rise in computer labs in schools made their popularity more widespread.

These computers were used for research purposes mostly at first and then, later on, they started being implemented for other training purposes. Educators had a larger learning curve because they had to familiarize themselves with these machines that were something new at that time.

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Using technology to teach basic skills

The rise of personal computer technology in education expanded to other daily uses. For example, computer program developers started brainstorming ways on how they can make functional programs that can be used in class. This resulted in educational computer programs teaching skills such as mathematics, literacy, and other school subjects.  

It was an effective and interactive way of passing instruction to students regardless of how antiquated it seems now. A more interactive approach to teaching and learning improved the experience students had at schools. As time went on, this trend started growing stronger in other countries and academic levels.

The popularity of using projectors

Another technology advancement that started being seen in higher and tertiary educational institutions was the projector. The projectors used back in the day are a far cry away from what you use nowadays for PowerPoint presentations. However, they were efficient for teaching a large group of students.

They mostly relied on having transparent pages that educators would write notes or draw diagrams on. Afterward, they would be projected to a solid color wall using light and a magnifying glass. This reduced the number of notes that had to be printed or written for students. It also started reducing the need for a chalkboard.

Audio learning in the ’80s

With the rise of the compact disc being manifested in the 80s, students were introduced to a new concept called audio learning. Although not all had the privilege of using this technology, it was a phenomenon that grew popular in certain areas.

The concept worked pretty much as podcasts nowadays because it was recorded classes that could be listened to later on. This method of using CDs was much better than trying to implement it on a cassette. Therefore, the development of CDs also changes the landscape of the educational sector a bit. Audio learning became an efficient technology in studying process, especially when students were alone or isolated.

Basic computer skills development

Another great skill that students needed to master was learning how to use the machines that populated their schools. To facilitate that demand, programs for teaching students basic computer skills were launched.

The students learned a lot from using Microsoft Windows and other computer programs that existed at the time. It was an exciting time for both students and educators to learn more about using computers.

These programs were launched internationally in the mid to late 80s. These programs played a huge role in familiarizing students with new computer technology that has become so popular today. Individuals that learned those skills back then are thankful they did because the world revolves around having computer skills nowadays.

The bottom line

Technology has always played a huge role in the educational sector. From projectors to audio learning, technological developments always improved the way people learn new skills. The hugest achievement in the 80s was having functional computers with usable computer programs to use in schools around the world. Although this privilege was mostly in developed countries, it was not long until it was available worldwide. Thankfully, technological developments continue to grow as many new advancements are being made, specifically for the education sector.

Author’s Bio:

Vendy Adams is a university topper and an education researcher currently working with a group of academicians on developing holistic solutions for the welfare of the students. She plays a lead role in the group and her research work is centered on the top 25 universities in the US. She’s a truly skillful research and project writer and her college essays are published regularly.