This timeline features links to a video for each. These are third party, hosted on YouTube. I’ve added a link to the relevant blog post, but of course, the associated chapter in the book gives a more detailed account.

1994: Bulletin Board Systems

January 1, 1994

Bulletin Board Systems

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1995: The Web

January 1, 1995

The web

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1996: CMC

January 1, 1996

Computer Mediated Communication (CMC)  (this is a video of the system we used at the Open University, called FirstClass)

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1997: Constructivism

January 1, 1997


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1998: Wikis

January 1, 1998


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1999: E-learning

January 1, 1999

E-learning (This video isn’t really about e-learning but it emphasises just how different being online was in the 90s)

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2000: Learning Objects

January 1, 2000

Learning objects (In this video Brian Lamb really gets at the problems with LOs in his casual style)

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2001: E-learning standards

January 1, 2001

E-learning standards

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2002: LMS/VLE

January 1, 2002

The Learning Management System (LMS)/Virtual Learning Environment (I originally had this as 2004 but I shifted it earlier in the book) (This video is of a semi-famous…

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2003: Blogs

January 1, 2003

Blogging (This video is of Jim Groom talking about students use of blogs, which I think really gets at their potential)

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2004: OER

January 1, 2004

Open Educational Resources (This was originally 2002 in the blog series but I’ve swapped it around with VLEs in the book as that seems a more fitting…

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2005: Video

January 1, 2005


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2006: Web 2.0

January 1, 2006

Web 2.0 (This video from Michael Wesch was very influential at the time)

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2007: Second Life

January 1, 2007

Second Life (This video is a follow up to an article I reference in the book)

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2008: E-portfolios

January 1, 2008

E-portfolios (I like the optimism and 2010 style of this video)

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2009: Twitter

January 1, 2009

Twitter (I’m embarrassed by this video now, but it highlights the optimism we felt back in the day).  

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2010: Connectivism

January 1, 2010

Connectivism (Here George Siemens gives an overview of the key ideas in connectivism)

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2011: Personal Learning Environments (PLE)

January 1, 2011

Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) (Stephen Downes, a proponent of PLEs, gives his view of how they differ from LMSs)

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2012: MOOCs

January 1, 2012

MOOCs (I don’t necessarily agree with everything Daphne Koller – one of the Coursera founders – claims in this TED talk but it captures much of the…

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2013: Open textbooks

January 1, 2013

Open textbooks (Amanda Coolidge talks about open textbooks and the work of the BC Campus project)

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2014: Learning analytics

January 1, 2014

  Learning analytics  (My Open University colleague Rebecca Ferguson sets out the practical applications of learning analytics)

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2015: Digital badges

January 1, 2015

Digital Badges

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2016: The return of AI

January 1, 2016

Artificial Intelligence (My OU colleague gives a good overview of the possibilities and limitations of AI in education)

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2017: Blockchain

January 1, 2017

Blockchain (This video is an advert for a company that captures the “because it’s the blockchain” hype I think)

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2018: Ed Tech’s dystopian turn

January 1, 2018

Ed tech’s dystopian turn (Audrey Watters gives a good overview of trends in ed tech and their social implications)

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