From Blackboards to Interactive Displays: The Evolution of Classroom Technology

From the humble beginnings of Blackboards to the dynamic capabilities of interactive displays, educational tools have undergone a remarkable evolution. In this post we will explore the journey of classroom technology and the transformative role of interactive displays in modern education.

The Dawn of Classroom Technology: The Blackboard Era

The blackboard or chalkboard, introduced in the early 19th century, was the original centrepiece for classroom instruction. James Pillans, Headmaster of the Old High School of Edinburgh, Scotland is widely credited with inventing the blackboard in 1801. It was a revolutionary tool that allowed teachers to present information to the entire class, fostering a new group learning dynamic. This simple innovation set the stage for a more visual and interactive form of teaching. Blackboards have been a classroom stable for over 200 years and while many schools have phased them out in recent decades in favour of modern technology, they are still used in many schools across the globe to this very day.  

From Blackboards to Interactive Displays: The Evolution of Classroom Technology
From Blackboards to Interactive Displays: The Evolution of Classroom Technology

The Rise of Overhead Projectors and Whiteboards

Throughout the 20th century the overhead projector, invented way back in 1853 became popular at places of learning, casting transparencies onto a screen, allowing for pre-prepared material to be displayed and interacted with. The whiteboard also became popular, eliminating chalk dust and introducing colourful non-permanent markers into the mix. (I wonder if there’s a whiteboard in existence today that doesn’t bear the scars of the accidental permanent marker streak). The whiteboard and overhead projector paved the way for a cleaner and more vibrant method of presentation but were still limited in their interactivity and engagement.

Overhead Projector

The Digital Leap: Computers and Projectors Enter the Scene

The advent of computers and more modern projectors in classrooms introduced multimedia, bringing images, videos, and sounds to educational settings. This multimedia approach catered to various learning styles and brought lessons to life, in a much more engaging way. However, the interaction was still predominantly one-way, from teacher to students.

The Interactive Era: Smartboards and Beyond

The introduction of smartboards marked a significant milestone in educational technology. These interactive whiteboards allowed teachers and students to touch and manipulate digital content directly on the screen. This technology fostered a hands-on approach to learning, encouraging collaboration and participation in a way that traditional tools could not.

Today's Interactive Displays: The Pinnacle of Classroom Technology

Modern interactive displays are the heirs to the blackboard, offering an unprecedented level of engagement. With features like multi-touch capabilities, internet connectivity, and access to a plethora of educational apps, these tools have transformed the classroom into an interactive learning hub. They cater to diverse learning needs, support real-time collaboration, and prepare students for a digital future.

Interactive displays for schools
Interactive displays for schools

The Transformative Role of Interactive Displays

Interactive displays have revolutionised the learning experience by:

Encouraging Collaborative Learning: With the ability to support multiple users at once, interactive displays foster a collaborative learning environment where students can work together on projects and problems.

Facilitating Diverse Teaching Methods: They accommodate various teaching styles and methodologies, from flipped classrooms to blended learning, ensuring that every student can be reached.

Integrating Technology Skills: As digital literacy becomes increasingly important, interactive displays integrate technology skills into everyday learning.

Supporting Special Education: Interactive displays offer unique opportunities for special education, with customisable interfaces and activities that cater to a wide range of learning challenges.


From blackboards to interactive displays, the way we teach and learn has undergone a remarkable transformation. This evolution is not merely about technological advancements; it’s about how we perceive and approach education itself.

Interactive displays are not the ultimate destination in this journey; they are stepping stones leading us towards a future where technology seamlessly blends with education, opening possibilities we can only begin to imagine


Since 2004, has been more than just a tech provider—we’ve been a dedicated partner to schools all over Ireland. We know that when it comes to the classroom, it’s about understanding the real, day-to-day needs of teachers and students and giving them technology that doesn’t just work but works wonders for them.

That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with Clevertouch Technologies and their Irish distributor Avio Technologies. Clevertouch interactive displays come straight from the minds of people who know schools best—teachers. Designed with a teacher’s insight and a student’s curiosity in mind, Clevertouch screens are all about getting hands-on, diving into learning, and making every lesson memorable.

At, we’re all about making connections—connecting teachers with tools that make their jobs easier and connecting students with a way of learning that sticks. Together with Clevertouch, we’re turning classrooms into vibrant learning hubs where education meets excitement, head-on. From the best-selling Impact Max to the very latest Impact LUX you can find out more about Clevertouch Interactive Displays for Education from our website. If you would like to talk to one of our experts or arrange a demonstration with our partner at their state-of-the-art new showroom, please email    

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