Do you get to play with any neat toys at school? As more and more schools take advantage of new technology to make learning easier, you may get the chance to use personal computers, laptops, tablets, or maybe even smartphones and handheld devices in the classroom.

Classrooms were not always as well-equipped as they can be today, though. One-room schoolhouses once used hornbooks, which were wooden paddles with lessons written on them to teach. We've come a long way since then!

Before students had pencils and paper, they often used slates, which were small, handheld blackboards that they could write on with chalk. Can you imagine taking notes on those?

In fact, the classroom chalkboard didn't come along until the late 1800s. It must have been nice for teachers to be able to write on a large surface that the entire class could see at one time. While chalkboards certainly seem like a thing of the past today, they were cutting edge technology at one time!

Over the years as new technologies developed, new items were slowly added to classrooms as educators figured out how they could be used to improve the learning experience. This was the case with items such as film projectors, radios, televisions, videotape players, and overhead projectors.

Copying machines also revolutionized classrooms when they came along in the mid-1900s. Being able to give students copies of lessons for homework and studying expanded the classroom beyond its walls and the confines of the usual school day.

The use of audio tapes and headphones in the classroom made learning foreign languages easier. They also helped students with vision or reading problems, since they could now listen to lessons rather than read them.

Handheld calculators made math class easier for students. They also helped math teachers move more quickly through advanced material.

There are hundreds of other examples of educational technology over the years. In the past couple of decades, though, schools have seen a tremendous increase in the use of cutting-edge, modern technology in the classroom.

With the invention of the personal computer, education took a huge leap forward. When you factor in the Internet, modern education looks radically different than it did when your parents were in school.

Today, it's not uncommon for children to use their own laptop or tablet computers in school. Other schools may incorporate the use of handheld computers, MP3 players, or smartphones. Some schools even use Internet services to communicate with other teachers and schools around the world!

You may even be viewing today's Wonder of the Day via the Internet in your classroom! How cool is that? Some classes even use technology to create their own websites to share with their friends, relatives, and parents what's going on in their classroom.

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