Czech educational technology in the 90′s

internetIt is not long ago when we celebrated 20th anniversary of internet in our country. I have to say that we must be very grateful to fortune that we get the opportunity to use this connective open space almost from the beginning of its existence. When Stephen Downes a year ago mentioned 15 years of the services functioning like the blog (15 years of Scripting News), I realized that thanks to the internet we really had the same starting position as the well developed countries. Here is my evaluation report mentioning the 15th anniversary of our information service Teachers’ Helper providing edtech news for teachers in form of the blog- 15 years old helper (automatic translation by Google).

Off course, not all conditions were the same. For example the shortage of our budget was much more significant. But what stepped us down probably even more it was the post- totalitarian mentality everywhere around. In the middle of 90′s the interest of our teachers was mainly oriented in free stuff. There were already a huge quantity of public domain or shareware software in the online repositories accessible by ftp, which we downloaded, tested, described and offered for free initially on diskettes and later also for online download. But that time only the higher education institutions were connected and only a few teachers (of informatics) were interested.

The web Teachers’ Helper started in 1995 simultaneously with my teaching on Charles University Prague, Faculty of Education. It immediately began to overhand not only software but also interesting news. I wrote the textbook using the hypertext structure for my students (Learning with computer) and successfully established the connection to the colleagues abroad. That time there was only one working organization connecting mostly (but not only) European teachers interested in cooperation on the educational activities with the children supported by technology. Its name was European School Project and I became the Czech national coordinator. In March 2011 I described the first stages of our connection to the world in the contribution for the 25th ESP anniversary conference in Denmark – The Role of ESP in the introduction of educational technology to Czech schools.

Until the end of 90′s our online service Teachers’ Helper has built up the prime position in the area of professional support of educational technology in our country. It was integrated to the activities of the Department of Information Technology on the Faculty of Education. We have offered free software, evaluated proprietary educational programs, regularly published proposals for international cooperation and informed about interesting news in technology development and relevant research.

I am very happy I can say that we have overcome all serious obstacles and we continuously do such kind of services even in different conditions to date.

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