How Do We Define Emerging Technologies?

How do we define emerging technologies? George Veletsisanos defines emerging technologies as tools, innovations, and advancements utilized in diverse educational settings to serve varied education-related purposes (Veletsisanos, 2008). I say it is technology that could be new or old that is meant to help us in learning. It could be a tool, or a way of doing things, something that is not being used everywhere. Emerging technology has many faces; we see it in business, education, sports, and recreation. Veletsisanos writes that Individuals and corporations see a potential exists in technology, but that potential hasn’t been realized yet. But it seems everyone is trying to get their product out there and used by schools and teachers.

Saga Briggs writes for Innovation Excellence, and uses data from the NMC (New Media Consortium) who has been following emerging technologies in teaching and learning across the globe. One of their research efforts, The Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition listed ten emerging technologies that would impact the world of education within the next five years. Those technologies were: cloud computing, mobile learning, learning analytics, open content, 3D printing, MOOCs, virtual and remote laboratories, games and gamification, tablet computing, and wearable technology (Briggs, 2013).

Combining that list with the list of author Mariana Ashley from Online Colleges.net who had the top ten amazing emerging trends in elementary ed., there was really no match. Ashley had more hand held hardware, and materials that were or are already in classrooms.

The differences I see between the two are, one author is using actual data, and the other is trying to compile a list for parents and educators. The REMC Association of Michigan has a site with a link titled Keeping up with trends and emerging technologies, where they state right off the bat, “Your first step is to read the Horizon Report each year” (REMC.ORG).

I was trying so hard to find the actual technology to answer this question that I lost focus of the question, how do we define emerging technology. I guess the only simple answer is we need to understand what the technology is and how it is going to improve the learning process. The things that work and can be implemented on a larger scale and are backed by a reputable organization will be the emerging technology until the next big thing comes along.

Ashley, M. (2015). 10 Amazing, Emerging Tech Trends In Elementary Education. Retrieved from http://www.onlinecolleges.net/10-amazing-emerging-tech-trends-in-elementary-education/

Briggs, S. (2013, July 29). 10 Emerging Educational Technologies & How They Are Being Used Across the Globe (Web log comment). Retrieved from http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2013/07/29/10-emerging-educational-technologies-how-they-are-being-used-across-the-globe/#sthash.IrW7P0gb.dpuf

REMC (2015). 21 Things 4 Teachers, REMC Association of Michigan. Emerging Technologies, what’s next? Retrieved from http://www.21things4teachers.net/21-things/emerging-technologies/

Veletsianos, G. (2008, November 18). A definition of emerging technologies for education (Web log comment). Retrieved from http://www.veletsianos.com/2008/11/18/a-definition-of-emerging-technologies-for-education/

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5 comments

  1. wollert7790 · May 24, 2015

    I had a coworker ask today how blogging and tweeting was going to improve our student’s learning processes. I thought it was an interesting question because I don’t plan on doing either things with elementary students. But I can say that doing this does give me hands-on knowledge on what older students do. I wonder if we might sneak in any Instagram or __________? Blogging gives the long-winded a platform to speak but how in the world do we communicate in less than X amount of characters? I’m gonna need a serious salesman on the tweeting thing for me to understand this emerging technology. Coming back full circle, I feel this will enhance OUR learning process but not my elementary student’s learning processes.

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    • jnyboy1131 · May 24, 2015

      There are some great blog tools for students. I understand the use of the tool and in some cases the need. I however cannot see the need for elementary kids who cannot spell, write, or express themselves on paper. I think it is a great tool for kids in grade 5 and up to use a blog for peer editing, and expresinism. other than that, no!

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  2. rockislandtechie · May 24, 2015

    Your closing statements make some important points:
    “we need to understand what the technology is and how it is going to improve the learning process.” – I think educators are in a great position because more and more new AND emerging technologies are being developed specifically with teachers and students in mind. I do think however, that teachers need to take a proactive step in determining which emerging technologies are best used in the classroom; after all, they are the primary individuals responsible for implementing these ideas and tools with students. I’d rather have teachers be testing emerging technologies and making sure they are tried and true, or at least having an important role and voice in product development. Which brings me to your other statement, “The things that work and can be implemented on a larger scale and are backed by a reputable organization will be the emerging technology until the next big thing comes along.” – I think the emerging technolog is the idea or tool that is still in the “incubation” period or development stage, there is a lot that is still unknown, but we recognize that the potential is there. I don’t think teachers (and students) can afford to wait until a reputable organization has spent significant time and resources testing emerging technologies; I think for the emerging technology to pass the “incubation” period, it has to be tested by its potential users and like you wrote, there has to be that evidence or experience that demonstrates how it enhances the learning process. If anything, consumers (teachers) can play an important role in whether an emerging technology becomes accepted or whether it was just a one-hit wonder that didn’t fulfuill it’s potential. But if our experience with or use of the one-hit wonder technologies prompts us to better emerging technologies, then it makes the process worthwhile!

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    • jnyboy1131 · May 24, 2015

      You are so right!! We need to be the beta market not the general public and the home schoolers. if it is something that could potentiely improve learning we should be angle to try it. But I also believe that not all programs will benefit all classrooms. I might have a group of kids this year that love something and use it to gain a better understanding on learning, when the next year the kids have no desire to touch it. The biggest problem I run into is that my district doesn’t allow us to try things, and limits our access to any tech period. This is a lose – lose for the teacher and the student!

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      • rockislandtechie · May 25, 2015

        That is certainly disappointing and can make teachers feel unsupported to meet expectations! That is definitely something we should all make a point to explore as we write our UbD unit plans and analyze tech plans, not only to see where the tech needs are but to advocate for district policies to change!

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