A Retrospective on Technology's Impact on Education: A 25-Year Review

Shouldn’t you be in school?

25 years ago for some may feel like yesterday, and for others, their first steps on this planet. For education, 25 years has been a long and demanding task of understanding how technologies can quickly transform, disrupt, and re-shape the work our educational institutions.

Iris & Barend welcomed me to work on a project that tried to grasp this transformative period while highlighting notable changes and impact of technologies that changed the educational landscape.

The slides will be available to view at the Onderwijsdagen next week in the future campus exhibition, so please be sure to stop by and remind yourself how much has changed in just a quarter of a century!

A timeline interpretation of computers overtime

Topical Headlines and Reminders

I had a lot of fun digging through the archives of the NOS, NRC and other public newspaper archives and reading (with some translation help) on educational headlines. The archives are not the most, shall we say accessible, but they are open to try and get through with some search engines built into the websites.

Here are a few interesting ones that came up along my search:

1998: Onderwijsraad wil af van rol religie bij schoolstichting:

2004: De Googlificatie van het onderwijs leidt tot Googlificatie van de kennis:

2016: Spieken met je smartwatch:

While looking through old headlines, it’s hard not to notice that much of the discussions we have today been going on for a long time. Even some of the same arguments, never resolved, just re-packaged. Yet, change, moral progress and our ideas continue to evolve and fluctuate.

An image of students exploring XR in education

Looking towards the Future

So, what is there to learn from a retrospective? In some ways, it is a way to remind yourself that things move very quickly depending on where you look. I think education has a bright future if we remind ourselves why we do it in the first place. In other words, the question ‘what is education for?’ has not become less relevant. If it is to make better future citizens, then what kind of citizens do we want to shape? For me the most important question is what role do these technologies play in shaping that future citizen? For in the evolving realm of technology, it's the intentional interplay between these tools and our human values that will shape our collective future.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Onderwijsdagen next week!



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