The burgeoning of computing and networking technologies in the education field opens up a new world of virtual learning integrating work lives into our homes. Educational software abet in blending the work and home environment thereby helping to structure our lives on our own. The field of educational technology is a gradual movement with advances manifesting in the 20th century. The use of media for teaching purposes is traced back to the introduction of educational films and Sidney Pressey’s mechanical teaching machines in 1900’s and 1920’s.

Now let’s have a look on how it has progressed moderately…


Flight simulators were developed using analog computers for generating onboard instrument data.It re-creates aircraft flight and the environment for design, pilot training and other purposes.Flight simulation is used for the design and development of the aircraft, flight training and research into aircraft characteristics. The first known flight simulation device was to help pilots fly the Antoinette monoplane. The Antoinette used two wheels, one for roll and one for pitch. The pitch wheel operated in a natural sense whereas the roll wheel did not (It continued till the “invention” of the “joystick”)


Type 19 synthetic radar trainer was built


PLATO system has been developed at the University of Illinois


IBM partnered with Stanford University to develop the first CAI elementary school curriculum in California and Mississipi


IBM Partnership developed materials and marketed it to schools through CCC (Computer Curriculum Corporation) which is known as Pearson Education Technologies today


Introduction of PLATO IV system which features primitive sound generation, bitmap graphics etc.


Altair 8800 ,the microcomputer based on the Intel 8080 CPU created a change in software industry.Altair put everything on removable cards when it was developed.It made the motherboard very simple and acted as a connector between cards

Altair and Bill Gates

Bill Gates saw an ad for the Altair 8800 in the Popular Electronics Magazine. Foreseeing the future of Altair, he called up Altair and talked about a programming language suitable for 8800.What Gates told was not true because he didn’t have any programming language for Altair! Altair’s problem was that in order to program it, you needed to flip the front panel switches that inputs 8080 instructional code- A tiresome job indeed ! Later Gates developed a programming language that allows you to type in code to instruct Altair 8800 do what you want. The programming language is called BASIC !

Do you know what the funniest part was?

Bill Gates developed this without an Altair 8800 ! He used his PDP-10 to write a simple 8800 emulator. After finishing BASIC he hurried to Altair on paper tape for testing. The words “Altair BASIC” popped up and it was enough for Altair! Allen and Gates co-founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975 and started marketing a BASIC Programming language interpreter.

Early 1980s

Several new companies and non-profit organizations were created with the availability of Apple ii, Commodore PET ,Commodore VIC-20,Commodore 64.Companies like The Learning Company, Broderbund etc developed a range of titles for personal computers during this period.


First half

  • Advancement in computer hardware technology paved way for development in educational software
  • Educational programs incorporated sound and multimedia graphics thereby enhancing the educational system
  • Several digital encyclopedias were released as Multimedia application CD-ROMS

Second half

  • New methods emerged with the spread of internet
  • Computers and Internet were made affordable in this period creating effective virtual learning environments


  • Blackboard Inc.,a developer of education software began as a consulting firm which contracts to the non-profit IMS Global Learning Consortium
  • The company provides communication, mobile, education, and commerce software and related services to clients including corporations, education providers and government organizations
  • In 1998,the company offered its first product, a course management software
  • In April 2010 it released its latest version, Blackboard Learn 9.1, a learning management system that provides a content management system for centralized control over course content , a community and portal system for communication, a learning system for course delivery and management for institutions and a system to record and analyze student assessment results
  • Blackboard became a public company in 2004.It continued its operation publicly until Providence Equity Partners purchased the company in 2011
  • In 2011 the firm launched Course Sites, a free version of its Blackboard Learn for which it provides hosting and support
  • Chamilo open-source VLE, which is a fork of Dokeos was released publicly in 2010
  • OLAT 7 which implements important standards like REST API, IMS Global Basic LTI, IMS QTI 2.1 was released in 2010
  • Teletaleem, a Live Classroom service has been released by Comcept Pvt Ltd in 2011


Be it entertainment, publishing or games ,apps have made their presence felt across diverse fields. The proliferation of education apps have created a difference in the industry attracting big investments and generating lucrative acquisitions. Thousands of mobile apps influence students and they find it interesting and entertaining. Hundreds of apps are particularly used by kids for educational purpose. So,the question is “Do they really improve learning?”

Some interesting points which provides basis for answering this are as follows :

  • 38% of all the children who are under 8 years of age have started using mobile phones
  • 57% of the children use tablets for educational apps according to Nelsen’s survey
  • In the iTunes store’s education category,80 % of the best selling paid apps are targeted towards children

So what will be the biggest trends around apps and brands that are creating them? Here are a few thoughts.

Tablets into classrooms

2014 pushes the initiatives to get tablets into classrooms from android devices to iPads. Even though a lot of children are having it at home,there are many who don’t have access to these. In order to bridge the gap schools will be instrumental in aiding those students who are left on the other side of the digital divide.

Marketing Educational Apps

Developers are redoubling their efforts to make educational apps aiming to market their products. Interestingly enough schools, educational institutions and teachers find it difficult to choose the right app which suits the existing curriculum.

Apps created by children

Stories about 13 year olds who have created new apps have delighted the world. Using diverse tools and schemes children are studying
to code all over the world !


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