Rhymes of History Technology


New ideas rekindle ideas from the past (Thornburg, 2009).  Technology today is a reinvention of ideas from the past.  Cavemen used fire to light their nights.  Prior to electricity from steam engines, underground gas lines were used to light up street corners.  The long-lasting incandescent bulb was lit by electricity passing through tungsten.  Now, compact fluorescent and LED lights are finding their place within homes.  The basic idea is having light through a source.  Cavemen had fire, and now we have energy-efficient light bulbs.

Online education has evolved over time like the light bulb has evolved over time, which is a reinvention of prior ideas.  Online education takes ideas of face-to-face classrooms and applies technology to enhance the experience.  Hiltz and Turoff (2005) noted that online education is starting to become a feasible substitute of face-to-face learning and distance learning.  Face-to-face and distance education are heavily characterized as a teacher-centered model where the teachers provide instruction through PowerPoint presentations, lectures, sharing of notes by the teacher, and transmittal of static video.  The current leap in online education is to offer a substitute of what prior models of education looked like.

moodle_with_bytes_texture_and_hat_and_sloganThe future of online education will incorporate learning theories that are more collaborative because information will become easier to share.  Kelly (2007) noted that society is moving from getting information from static web pages to that of linking databases together.  The effects of this is monumental because students will not only have access to static content that mirror face-to-face classrooms, but they will have access to collaborative resources for their immediate use as they solve a new problem or generate new ideas.  Williams and Goldberg (2005) posited that “death-by-PowerPoint” would be replaced by an engaging and collaborative pedagogy as the number of online students increase.  Society is moving from face-to-face education to an online format that mirror face-to-face education.  Ultimately, the goal is to create a collaborative environment where deep learning outcomes are produced (Williams & Goldberg, 2005).


Hiltz, S.R., & Turoff, M. (2005). Education goes digital: The evolution of online learning and the revolution in higher education.  Communications of the ACM.  Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

Kelly, K. (2007, December). Kevin Kelly on the next 5,000 days of the Web [Speech]. Speech delivered at the EG 2007 Conference, Los Angeles. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web.html

Williams, J.B., & Goldberg, M. (2005). The evolution of e-learning. Ascilite. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/84_Williams.pdf


Tetrads, Interviews, and Multimedia Presentation

Tetrads, Interviews, and Multimedia Presentation

Tetrad 1: Obsolete Technology: Overhead Transparency Projector


Enhances: Motion projectors were used to show movies.  However, videos were generally not used in classrooms at the time, largely because of the expensive cost of the machines (Saettler, 2004).  The slide projectors allowed for the demonstration of one image at a time, and the costs were relatively lower when compared to motion projectors.  Overhead projectors allowed teachers to make edits on transparencies, which enhanced presentations that make use of editing material.  Overhead projectors enhanced visual aide material like posters, which displayed large images in color.  The light bulb technology was enhanced to have longer usability life.

Obsoletes: Slide projectors allowed for still images in the classroom, which was promoted in the 1930s (Johnson, 2010).  Slide projectors allowed for mass communication of images by projecting that image using a bulb, much like an overhead projector. Overhead projectors make use of transparency films as opposed to slide projectors that use picture slides, much like negative strips for pictures.  Teachers had to prepare their slides ahead of time, and edit markings could not be done with transparency markers.  Slide projectors worked similar to motion projectors except that images progressed one at a time.  Whiteboards and chalk boards are made obsolete with overhead transparency projectors because teachers can now make edits to the transparency film as opposed to writing on the boards.

Retrieves: Overhead projectors reinforced the idea of using visuals in the classrooms to scaffold learning.

Reverses:  Multimedia projectors, document cameras, and interactive whiteboards reversed the overhead transparency projector.  Materials do not have to be placed onto transparency films in order to be displayed.  Interactive whiteboards take this notion further by allowing people to manipulate displayed objects.

Tetrad 2: Emerging Technology: Multimedia Projector


Enhances: The display of information is enhanced.  Static images are no longer the only type of media display since multimedia projectors are connected to laptops that enable the viewing of video files.

Obsoletes: Overhead projectors are made obsolete because it required the use of transparencies.  Multimedia projectors can be used with laptops where special markers and transparency film are not needed.  Motion projectors are made obsolete because multimedia projectors allow users to watch videos.  Also, the quality of the images are improved with multimedia projectors when compared to overhead projectors.

Retrieves:  The multimedia rekindles the overhead transparency projector when showing still images.  The multimedia projector rekindles the motion projector when displaying movies.

Reverses: interactive whiteboards reverses multimedia projectors by allowing interactivity with the images being displayed.  Holographic displays allow for realistic displays as opposed to 2D objects.

Table 1. Participants for Interview

Name Title/Position Employment Date of Interview Why Chosen
A.B. Science Teacher John F. Kennedy High School October 4, 2013 30 years of experience as a teacher
T.F. Librarian/Multimedia Coordinator Price Elementary School October 14, 2013 Multimedia coordinator for school
J.L. History/P.E. Teacher Okkodo High School TBD (has not confirmed meeting date) 28 years of experience as a teacher
C.M. Elementary Teacher Finagayan Elementary School TBD (has not confirmed meeting date) Over 30 years of experience as a teacher

Interview Questions:

There are no IT specialists in the school district.  The option to purchase technology is left to the teachers who vote by content area.  In essence, the teachers are the decision-makers for the technology and supplies they use.

  1. When you were a student, were teachers using overhead projectors?  If yes, approximately what year?
  2. In your teaching career, did you ever make use of overhead projectors?  Why or why not?
  3. What did you like or dislike with overhead projectors?
  4. In your teaching career, did you ever make use of multimedia projectors?  Why or why not?
  5. What did you like or dislike with multimedia projectors?
  6. Are there any perceived disadvantages to overhead or multimedia projectors?
  7. For librarian/multimedia coordinator: Do some teachers in your school still make use of overhead projectors?  Why do you suppose?
  8. For librarian/multimedia coordinator: Why did your school start implementing the use of multimedia projectors in the classroom?
  9. For librarian/multimedia coordinator: How are multimedia projectors used in your school?  Meaning, are the teachers showing images, videos, or other types of displays?

Multimedia Presentation

I have access to Adobe Premiere, so my final product will be produced as a video.  Images from Adobe Photoshop will easily blend into Adobe Premiere.  Text material will be captured as an image or typed into Adobe Premiere.  The final product will be uploaded to YouTube if fewer than ten minutes.  Otherwise, the video will be uploaded to Vimeo.


iPads in the Classroom

Emerging Technology Tetrads for iPads

iPad Tetrad

iPad Tetrad

The iPads have only been around since April 2010, but there is no shortage of talk regarding the use of iPads in the classroom.  The iPad has the potential to replace certain technology.  Likewise, certain technology can replace iPads in the classroom in the near future.  Viewing the iPads and other types of tablets through the tetrads formed by McLuhan, which are retrieve, enhance, obsolesce, and reversal (Thornburg, 2008), puts the devices into perspective.

The iPad is built on similar ideas that have existed prior to the iPad.  Touchscreens were built before the iPads, but the iPad allowed for multi-surface touch capabilities.  The iPad makes use of 3G and Wi-Fi Internet, which was already available in other devices.  PDAs and e-book devices existed prior to the iPad, and the iPad incorporated their functions into its device.  The iPad makes use of technology that existed before the iPad.

The iPads have enhanced portable computers.  Portable computers come with faster processors, lots more RAM memory, larger storage, and longer lasting battery life than the iPads.  Yet, the iPads have enhanced portable computers by the ease in transportation, touch screens, and no need to set the device on a table or lap to begin typing.  Simply put, the iPad is more convenient than carrying around a device that needs to be placed on top of something before work can get done.

Technologies are made obsolete by the iPad.  Physical copies of books will not be needed because digital versions can be placed on the iPad.  Students can take notes on an iPad and use applications like a calculator on the device.  iPads have already enhanced the idea of portability, so laptops and netbooks are obsolete in comparison.  Since the iPad replaces many technology tools, students will not have to bring school bags to class anymore.  The clickers used in classrooms as a formative assessment tool can be wheeled into storage because iPads allow students to communicate via the Internet and Bluetooth.  The iPad is an all-in-one wonder that makes many technologies obsolete.

As advanced as iPads are, they will be replaced by other technology.  Wearable technology, which is more portable than carrying an iPad, will be the norm.  Smaller devices that are more portable with upgraded specifications will replace the iPad.  The iPad offers a glimpse into the future by looking at the benefits it offers today.

Using McLuhan’s Law of Media, the iPad is put into contexts of what ideas helped in its formation, what will replace it and what it is replacing and enhancing.  Technology devices do not appear out of nowhere; rather, they are built on tools from the past (Thornburg, 2008).  Just as the iPads have enhanced the idea of portability, a future technology will enhance and make iPads obsolete.


Thornburg, D. D. (2008). Emerging technologies and McLuhan’s Laws of Media. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.