There is no written evidence which can tell us exactly who has coined the phrase educational games technology. Different educationists, scientists, and philosophers at different time intervals have put forwarded different definitions of Educational Games Technology. Educational games technology is a multifaceted and integrated process involving people, procedure, ideas, devices, and organization, where technology from different fields of science is borrowed as per the need and requirement of education for implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems involved in all aspects of human learning.
Educational games technology, broadly speaking, has passed through five stages.
The first stage of educational games technology is coupled with the use of aids like charts, maps, symbols, models, specimens and concrete materials. The term educational technology was used as synonyms to audio-visual aids.
The second stage of educational games technology is associated with the ‘electronic revolution’ with the introduction and establishment of sophisticated hardware and software. Use of various audio-visual aids like the projector, magic lanterns, tape-recorder, radio, and television brought a revolutionary change in the educational games scenario. Accordingly, educational technology concept was taken in terms of these sophisticated instruments and equipment for effective presentation of instructional materials.
The third stage of educational games technology is linked with the development of mass media which in turn led to ‘communication revolution’ for instructional purposes. Computer-assisted Instruction (CAI) used for education since the 1950s also became popular during this era.
The fourth stage of educational technology is discernible by the individualized process of instruction. The invention of programmed learning and programmed instruction provided a new dimension to educational technology. A system of self-learning based on self-instructional materials and teaching machines emerged.
The latest concept of educational technology is influenced by the concept of system engineering or system approach which focuses on language laboratories, teaching machines, programmed instruction, multimedia technologies and the use of the computer in instruction. According to it, educational technology is a systematic way of designing, carrying out and evaluating the total process of teaching and learning in terms of specific objectives based on research.
Educational games technology during the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age
Educational games technology, despite the uncertainty of the origin of the term, can be traced back to the time of the three-age system periodization of human prehistory; namely the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.
During the Stone Age, ignition of fire by rubbing stones, manufacture of various handmade weapon and utensils from stones and clothing practice were some of the simple technological developments of utmost importance. A fraction of Stone Age people developed ocean-worthy outrigger canoe ship technology to migrate from one place to another across the Ocean, by which they developed their first informal education of knowledge of the ocean currents, weather conditions, sailing practice, astronavigation, and star maps. During the later Stone Age period (Neolithic period), for agricultural practice, polished stone tools were made from a variety of hard rocks largely by digging underground tunnels, which can be considered as the first steps in mining technology. The polished axes were so effective that even after the appearance of bronze and iron; people used it for clearing forest and the establishment of crop farming.
Although Stone Age cultures left no written records, archaeological evidence proved their shift from nomadic life to agricultural settlement. Ancient tools conserved in different museums, cave paintings like Altamira Cave in Spain, and other prehistoric art, such as the Venus of Willendorf, Mother Goddess from Laussel, France etc. are some of the evidence in favor of their cultures.
Neolithic Revolution of Stone Age resulted in the appearance of Bronze Age with the development of agriculture, animal domestication, and the adoption of permanent settlements. For these practices Bronze Age people further developed metal smelting, with copper and later bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, being the materials of their choice.
The Iron Age people replaced bronze and developed the knowledge of iron smelting technology to lower the cost of living since iron utensils were stronger and cheaper than bronze equivalents. In many Eurasian cultures, the Iron Age was the last period before the development of written scripts.
Educational games technology during the period of Ancient Civilizations
According to Paul Saettler, 2004, Educational games technology can be traced back to the time when tribal priests systematized bodies of knowledge and ancient cultures invented pictographs or sign writing to record and transmit information. In every stage of human civilization, one can find an instructional technique or set of procedures intended to implement a particular culture which was also supported by a number of investigations and evidence. The more advanced the culture, the more complex became the technology of instruction designed to reflect particular ways of individual and social behavior intended to run an educated society. Over centuries, each significant shift in educational games values, goals or objectives led to diverse technologies of instruction.
The greatest advances in technology and engineering came with the rise of the ancient civilizations. These advances stimulated and educated other societies in the world to adopt new ways of living and governance.
The Indus Valley Civilization was an early Bronze Age civilization which was located in the northwestern region of the Indian Subcontinent. The civilization was primarily flourished around the Indus River basin of the Indus and the Punjab region, extending up to the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, (most of the part is under today’s Pakistan and the western states of modern-day India as well as some part of the civilization extending up to southeastern Afghanistan, and the easternmost part of Balochistan, Iran).
There is a long term controversy to be sure about the language that the Harappan people spoke. It is assumed that their writing was at least seems to be or a pictographic script. The script appears to have had about 400 basic signs, with lots of variations. People write their script with the direction generally from right to left. Most of the writing was found on seals and sealings which were probably used in trade and official & administrative work.
Harappan people had the knowledge of the measuring tools of length, mass, and time. They were the first in the world to develop a system of uniform weights and measures.
In a study carried out by P. N. Rao et al. in 2009, published in Science, computer scientists found that the Indus script’s pattern is closer to that of spoken words, which supported the proposed hypothesis that it codes for an as-yet-unknown language.
According to the Chinese Civilization, some of the major techno-offerings from China include paper, early seismological detectors, toilet paper, matches, iron plough, the multi-tube seed drill, the suspension bridge, the wheelbarrow, the parachute, natural gas as fuel, the magnetic compass, the raised-relief map, the blast furnace, the propeller, the crossbow, the South Pointing Chariot, and gun powder. With the invent of paper they have given their first step towards developments of educational technology by further culturing different handmade products of paper as means of visual aids.
Ancient Egyptian language was at one point one of the longest surviving and used languages in the world. Their script was made up of pictures of the real things like birds, animals, different tools, etc. These pictures are popularly called hieroglyph. Their language was made up of above 500 hieroglyphs which are known as hieroglyphics. On the stone monuments or tombs which were discovered and rescued later on provides the evidence of the existence of many forms of artistic hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt.
Educational technology during Medieval and Modern Period
Paper and the pulp papermaking process which was developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, was carried to the Middle East and was spread to Mediterranean by the Muslim conquests. Evidence support that a paper mill was also established in Sicily in the 12th century. The discovery of spinning wheel increased the productivity of thread making process to a great extent and when Lynn White added the spinning wheel with increasing supply of rags, this led to the production of cheap paper, which was a prime factor in the development of printing technology.
The invention of the printing press was taken place in approximately 1450 AD, by Johannes Gutenberg, a German inventor. The invention of the printing press was a prime developmental factor in the history of educational technology to convey the instruction as per the need of the complex and advanced-technology cultured society.
In the pre-industrial phases, while the industry was simply the handwork at artisan level, the instructional processes relied heavily on simple things like the slate, the horn book, the blackboard, and chalk. It was limited to a single text book with a few illustrations. The educational technology was considered synonymous to simple aids like charts and pictures.
The year 1873 may be considered a landmark in the early history of technology of education or audio-visual education. An exhibition was held in Vienna at international level in which an American school won the admiration of the educators for the exhibition of maps, charts, textbooks and other types of equipment.
Maria Montessori (1870-1952), internationally renowned child educator and the originator of Montessori Method exerted a dynamic impact on educational technology through her development of graded materials designed to provide for the proper sequencing of subject matter for each individual learner. Modern educational technology suggests many extension of Montessori’s idea of the prepared child centered environment.
In1833, Charles Babbage’s design of a general purpose computing device laid the foundation of the modern computer and in 1943, the first computing machine as per him design was constructed by International Business Machines Corporation in the USA. The Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) in which the computer functions essentially as a tutor, as well as the Talking Type writer, was developed by O.K. Moore in 1966. Since 1974, computers are interestingly used in education in schools, colleges, and universities.
In the beginning of the 19th century, there were noteworthy changes in the field of education. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), right from its start of school broadcasts in 1920 had maintained rapid pace in making a sound contribution to formal education. In the USA, by 1952, 20 states had the provision for educational broadcasting. Parallel to this time about 98% of the schools in the United Kingdom was equipped with radios and there were regular daily programs.