1969: The internet, as ARPANET, is established as a global network of computers, marking the beginning of a new era in information sharing and communication. 

1976: The Apple 1 was released on April 11, 1976 (Wozniak, 2006).

  • Wozniak, S. (2006). iWoz: Computer geek to cult icon: How I invented the personal computer, co-founded Apple, and changed the world. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

1978: Computer-Using Educators (CUE) is founded as a nonprofit organization to promote the use of technology in education and provide professional development opportunities for educators in California.

1979: The International Council for Computers in Education was founded, later becoming the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), to promote the use of technology in education and provide professional development opportunities for educators. 

1980: The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is founded as a professional organization for educators and technology leaders in Texas, dedicated to promoting the use of technology in education and providing professional development and networking opportunities.

1981: IBM PC is introduced.

1981: Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) is founded as an annual conference to showcase the latest trends and innovations in educational technology, providing professional development opportunities for Florida educators.

1982: The Commodore 64 was released, becoming one of the most popular school 


1983-1993: Back of the Classroom

1983: Apple IIe was introduced, becoming a popular computer for educational use.

1984: Apple Macintosh was released, revolutionizing personal computing and graphic design.

  • Moglen, E. (2014). Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Built. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

1985: Oregon Trail was released for the Apple IIe.

1985: Windows 1.0 was released, increasing computer accessibility.

  • Microsoft. (1985). Windows 1.0 User’s Guide. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.

1987: Smart Technologies was founded by David Martin and Nancy Knowlton, developing interactive whiteboards and collaboration solutions.

1990: The World Wide Web was invented, paving the way for online learning. 

1992: CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) is founded as a professional 

association for school district technology leaders to promote the use of technology in education and provide leadership and advocacy for effective implementation of technology in K-12 schools.

1993: The “Quest Atlantis” project was launched, which utilized a virtual world and videoconferencing to connect students from different schools and promote inquiry-based learning in K-12 education.

  • Individualized, Reflective Guidance in an Educational Multi-User Virtual Environment. (2007). Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(1), 83-97. doi:10.1007/s10956-006-9016-4.  

1994-2004: Welcome to the Web

1994: The Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA), established the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund to provide grants for the integration of technology into teaching and learning. 

1994: The U.S. Department of Education established the Office of Educational Technology (OET) to provide leadership and support for integrating technology into education at all levels.

1994: Netscape was launched, revolutionizing internet accessibility for the general public.

1996: The U.S. Department of Education established the Office of Educational Technology. The office created a long-term national plan for using technology in education. 

  • U.S. Dept. of Education. (June 1996). Getting America’s Students Ready for the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge. Report to the Nation on Technology and Education. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED398899.pdf 

1996: The E-Rate program was established, providing discounted telecommunications and internet access to schools and libraries.

1997: Microsoft launches Anytime Anywhere Learning program to promote laptop use in schools. 

1997: PowerSchool was founded, offering a web-based student information system.

1997: Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) Association was founded as a nonprofit organization to develop a technical infrastructure that enables K-12 educational data to be easily accessible and usable. 

1997: Florida Virtual School (FLVS) founded as the first public, an online school serving K-12 students in Florida and beyond, providing a flexible and personalized learning experience through innovative use of technology.

1998: Michigan Virtual University (MVU) was founded in 1998.

1999: Blackboard Inc. is founded, providing one of the first commercially available learning management systems for school use.

2000: U.S. Dept. of Education releases second National Edtech Plan. 

2000: High Tech High School was founded in San Diego, California with a focus on project-based learning and technology integration across all subjects 

2000: The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is established as the first cyber charter school in the United States.

2000: K12 Inc. started as a for-profit education company offering online curriculum and courses for K-12 students in the United States.

2001: Title II, Part D, also known as Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT), is added to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, providing federal funding for educational technology initiatives in K-12 schools. 

  • National Education Association. (2002). Title IID: A new opportunity for educational technology. NEA Today, 20(5), 4-7.

2001: Connections Education starts offering online learning solutions and blended learning programs to K-12 students nationwide.

2001: Microsoft loses an antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and 20 states, paying states $550 million intended for educational technology-related purposes.

2002: Moodle, an open-source learning management system, is released.

2002: Open Educational Resources (OER) term coined at UNESCO forum, promoting the sharing of free, openly licensed educational materials. 

2002: Maine started its one-to-one laptop initiative, providing middle school students with personal laptops for learning. 

2002: The U.S. Department of Education started awarding grants to states to develop Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) for capturing student data from early childhood through postsecondary education and into the workforce.

2002: Turning Technologies is founded, offering student response systems and other interactive learning tools to enhance classroom engagement and assessment. 

  • Lewis Jr., Morgan (December 2007). “Overwhelming Response”. Inside Business. Vol. 9, no. 12. pp. 65–66.

2003: Michigan launches “Freedom to Learn” one-to-one laptop initiative.

2003: Common Sense Media was founded as a non-profit organization that provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media use. 

2005-2015: The Rise of Blended Learning

2005: U.S. Dept. of Education releases the third National Educational Technology Plan.

2005: YouTube launched, allowing users to upload, share, and view videos, and quickly becoming a popular platform for open educational content.

2005: New Tech Network expands to serve other schools by partnering with a school district in Indiana to replicate its project-based learning model.

2006: Khan Academy was founded, offering free online educational resources.

2006: The Michigan Legislature required students to complete an online learning experience before graduating from high school. 

2006: Edmodo launches a social learning platform for schools. 

2007: Apple introduces the iPhone, transforming mobile communication and computing.

2007: Rocketship Education, a network of charter schools, was launched with a focus on personalized learning through a blended learning model that combines traditional classroom instruction with technology-based learning experiences. 

2007: Google launches Google Apps for Education, a free suite of productivity tools for classroom collaboration, including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, and more, designed to enhance teaching and learning in K-12 and higher education institutions.

2008: Clayton Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson published “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns.” 

  • Christensen, C. M., Johnson, C. W., & Horn, M. B. (2008). Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. McGraw-Hill.

2008: Twitter surfaces as a popular platform for educators to form professional learning networks (PLNs) and engage in discussions and resource-sharing using hashtags.

2009: The Investing in Innovation (i3) program is established by the U.S. Department of Education to provide competitive grants to school districts, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education to support the development and scaling of innovative education programs and practices.

2009: Computing in the Core coalition and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) launched the first Computer Science Education Week to promote computer science education.

2010: U.S. Dept. of Education released the fourth National Educational Technology Plan. 

2010: Apple releases the iPad 1, making mobile learning more accessible. 

2010: PARCC and Smarter Balanced state-led consortia are formed with funding from the Race to the Top program to develop new assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics for K-12 students.

2010: New York City launches School of One as a pilot program within a public middle school, using a personalized, data-driven approach to provide individualized instruction to students through a blended learning model that combines online and face-to-face learning experiences. 

2011: Apple introduces the iPad 2 with a forward-facing camera, further enhancing mobile learning capabilities.

2011: Google launches the Chromebook, providing affordable and accessible laptops for education. 

2011: The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) is launched with support from the U.S. Department of Education and other organizations to develop a set of metadata specifications that could be used to describe educational resources and improve their discoverability and use.

2011: Ed-Fi Alliance is founded as a nonprofit organization to develop and promote a set of data standards and tools that enable interoperability among various educational data systems, with the goal of improving data management and analysis in K-12 schools.

2011: Pearson, a multinational educational publishing and assessment company, entered the K-12 virtual school market by acquiring Connections Academy, a leading provider of online education in the United States.

2011: SXSWedu launched as a compliment to the South by Southwest (SXSW), focused on innovation and progress in education.

2011: EdSurge, a news and information resource for education technology, was founded to provide news, analysis, and research on education technology and its impact on education.

2011: InBloom, an educational technology initiative, was launched with the goal of creating a cloud-based student database to improve personalized learning, but was shut down in 2014 due to concerns over student data privacy and security.

2012: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) gain popularity with platforms like Coursera and edX.

2012: Clever is founded, aiming to simplify digital learning by providing an innovative platform that allows secure and easy access to educational software in K-12 schools.

2012: EducationSuperHighway, a non-profit organization focused on upgrading internet 

access in public schools, reports that over 20 million students in America’s schools have gained access to high-speed internet, significantly improving the digital divide and enhancing digital learning. 

2012: Title II, Part D (EETT) officially ended after being defunded by Congress.

  • No supporting documentation. 

2012: Tynker, a programming platform designed for children to learn coding by creating games and programs, reaches a remarkable milestone with 60 million students worldwide, indicating growing interest in computer science education.

2013: Google Classroom is launched, simplifying course management for teachers and students.

2013: Microsoft announces that it will offer free licensing of its software to educational institutions, including Office 365 for Education and Windows 10, as part of its commitment to empower students and teachers through technology.

2013: Code.org was launched, a non-profit organization that aims to increase access to computer science education in K-12 schools and encourage participation by underrepresented groups in computer science and technology fields.

2014: Common Core State Standards Initiative is implemented across the United States, shaping educational technology and curriculum.

2014: Microsoft acquires Minecraft, intending to expand in the education market, where the digital sandbox is widely used to teach programming, creativity, problem-solving, and other skills to K-12 students worldwide.

2014: The Future of Privacy Forum and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) release the K-12 School Service Provider Pledge, a commitment to safeguard student privacy in the digital age, a key concern amidst growing use of technology in education.

2015: PowerSchool spun out of Pearson, becoming an independent company.

2015: The U.S. Department of Education launches GoOpen, a campaign to encourage the use of openly licensed educational resources in classrooms to promote digital learning and reduce reliance on expensive proprietary materials. 

2015: Outschool was co-founded in 2015 by Amir Nathoo. They participated in Y Combinator in 2016, launched their first class in 2017, and were one of the unbundled learning applications to explode in use during the 2020 pandemic. 

2016-2023: Remote Learning and Beyond

2016: U.S. Dept. of Education. (Jan. 2016) released the fourth National Edtech Plan focused on Future Ready Learning:

2016: Google’s Cardboard Expeditions Program becomes public, offering Virtual Reality (VR) experiences to classrooms worldwide. This further enhances immersive learning and captures the interest of students in different subjects.

2017: Nearly all schools are connected by 2017 and two thirds are 1:1 but only 22% have the bandwidth to support rich blended learning.

2017: Mastery Transcript Consortium is founded, with a goal to transform the traditional high school transcript to better reflect student’s individual skills and experiences, pushing forward the movement towards personalized learning.

2018: Khan Academy launched Khan Academy Kids, a mobile application for children 

ages two to five.

2019: The U.S. Department of Education releases an updated Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act Inventory, improving transparency in education technology funding and programs. 

2019: Francisco Partners acquired Renaissance Learning and Discovery Education to enter the K-12 market.

2020: LEGO launched Education SPIKE Prime, a comprehensive STEM education program that incorporates robotics and engineering, boosting hands-on learning and problem-solving skills.

2020: The COVID-19 pandemic forces schools to switch to remote and online learning almost overnight, dramatically accelerating the adoption of digital learning tools and strategies.  

2020: In response to the pandemic, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) swiftly transitioned to remote learning within three weeks, distributing thousands of devices and hotspots to students and families, exemplifying how school districts across the nation tackled the sudden change.

2021: Chicago Public Schools launches Skyline, part of the district’s Curriculum Equity Initiative, a culturally responsive digital curriculum and formative assessment.

2021: An early AI in education startup Riiid, which launched in Seoul in 2014,  raised $175 million from SoftBank, to expand its test prep business. The funding marked a high-watermark for edtech. 

  • Lunden, I. (2021, May 24). Korea’s Riiid raises $175M from SoftBank to expand its AI-based learning platform to global markets. TechCrunch. https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/24/riiid-ai-education-softbank/

2022: Digital Learning Institute (digiLearn) launched the Micro-Credentials Partnership of States to expand access to high quality teacher learning opportunities. 

2022: Launched in 2017, Prenda raised $20 million to expand microschools fueled first by Parent pandemic demand and then expansion of Education Savings Accounts.

2023: TeachAI Toolkit Provides AI Guidance for Schools.

2023: Built on OpenAI’s GPT-4, Khan Academy launched AI learning assistant Khanmigo in in March 2023.