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Two thousand years ago the Chinese standardized educational technology. "By requiring set standards and prescribing teaching methods and uniform syllabi, and by establishing controlling bodies of literary superintendents, the [Chinese] examination system assumed a systematic comprehensiveness unknown in the West before the mass education systems of the early 19th century" .
Jumping rather unceremoniously forward to the early 20th century, we note in a textbook from that time : "Two new kinds of equipment which have already influenced teaching and are likely to influence it further are the radio and the motion picture. The motion picture as an aid to teaching began to attract attention early, but the expense, the lack of suitable films, and an efficient manner of using them long prevented their introduction into schools. The matter of expense has become less burdensome by the development in recent years of a standard narrow (16mm) film that produces pictures large enough for class use at a greatly reduced cost and can be shown by means of a portable projector and without fire hazard." The use of film in the classroom has not progressed at the rate the authors of the 1936 textbook had imagined but certainly the moving picture as presented on television has become a dominant force in "educating" society.
For most of its 50-year history, digital educational technology has been non-standard. However, the Web provides a standard platform for educational technology that encourages the decomposition of educational technology tools into exchangeable components. As publishers, broadcasters, software companies, employers, educators, and students get progressively more interested in educational possibilities not constrained by place, time, or institution, …