How do we define Emerging Technologies?

Defining “Emerging Technologies”, seems quite simply originally, but when you actually stop and try to decide what that actually means, you realize that it is a bit more tricky. According to the article, A definition of emerging technologies for eduction by George Veletsianos, “Emerging Technologies are tools, innovations, and advancements utilized in diverse educational settings” (p. 1) He goes on to say that there are five characteristics that can help us understand ET better. I connected most with the following statements: “1. ET can be, but are not necessarily, new, 2. ET are evolving organisms that exist in a state of ‘coming into being’,][and 4. ET satisfy the ‘not yet’ criteria”, because they, “are not fully understood” (p. 2).

The idea that Emerging Technology doesn’t have to be brand new, is quite interesting. It could be that something has been around, but not discovered or the program has been changed or updated and is now more likely to be used or to fit with what we need at that time. Examples of this could be Microsoft’s SPOT smart watch, which was introduced in 2004. Microsoft’s watch was discontinued in 2008, but within the last couple years, the smart watch industry has really taken off. Another example could be the use of Google Docs- now termed Drive.  Although, Google released docs in 2006, it wasn’t truly utilized in schools until around 2012. According to Hal Friedlander, former chief information officer for the NYC Dept. of Ed., “Between the fall of 2012 and now, Google went from an interesting possibility to the dominant way that schools around the country teach students to find information, create documents and turn them in.][Google established itself as a fact in schools”(NYTimes).

Emerging Technologies as the “Not Yet” or as “organisms that exist in a state of coming into being”, is what I would usually think of, if asked to give voice to my own confusion over the definition. This is the area that leaves me grasping at ideas that seem to float away. What are those new organisms or ideas. In order to help myself with this, I went to Google and searched: Emerging Technology Education. After sifting through articles from ages ago…2013, I came across this article from trustED, What’s Next for Education: Emerging Tech Trends for 2017 The author believes that in 2017 more makerspaces will be built in schools to encourage “real-world learning”, “Virtual science labs will enhance science and STEM learning”, and there will be online hotspots on schools busses (trustED). These ideas are also supported by the NMC/CoSN Horizon Report of 2016. This report includes: “Redesigning Learning Spaces, Rethinking How Schools Work, Advancing Digital Equity, Coding as a Literacy, Maker Spaces, Online Learning, Robotics, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligences, and Wearable Technology,” to name a few.

Of the two lists,  I have been exposed most to Redesigning Learning Spaces, Rethinking How Schools Work, and Wearable Technology. I’ve also been around Maker Spaces, Online Learning, and Robotics, but haven’t experienced them first hand. Redesigning Learning Spaces has been an interesting change for us. The traditional classroom has been revamped to include chairs with wheels, moveable desks, white boards on both walls with a projector that rotates, collaboration rooms with a tv and study table, nooks with other seating and other special moveable white boards and cupboards. The goal of these new spaces is to make the classroom less teacher focused and more adaptable to different daily activities/lessons. All rooms have wifi, but students aren’t just using technology. These rooms are made to be used, not to have students sit in desks in rows and listen.

Rethinking How Schools Work has been an interesting topic at my current school for the past few years. We’ve had specialist and committees on a variety of areas including, Personalized Learning, Inquiry, Project Based Learning, The Design Process, Digital Media, Inclusion (ELL learners), Co-teaching, Making Thinking Visible, Backwards by Design, Standards Based Grading, and more.  It’s been overwhelming at times, but also inspiring. I am not the teacher I was just five years ago.




7 thoughts on “How do we define Emerging Technologies?”

  1. Pepper,
    I love that you brought in how these emerging technologies are helping us to revamp the very format of our classrooms. And how that transition also brings a transition to the role of teacher and the role of student.
    I found myself reflecting on this quite a bit during my reading, but it did not come up in my own blog post. I guess I too am trying to wrap my head around how this emerging, growing, changing technology has an effect on the very structure of our classrooms. How the fact that we are using Google Drive, online learning, and makerspaces means that our rooms need to adapt to the new needs of the devices and structures we are using. It is so fascinating and exciting.
    I feel like these advances mean that we will more closely mimic and prepare students for the workplace. We often have projects, where we collaborate, research, and move flexibly around a space and technology to accomplish our goals. It would make sense that we would not have the strict bell schedule or separate rooms, but rather spaces that are adaptable and schedules that are flexible.
    So exciting!

  2. Hi Pepper! Your cover photo is absolutely fantastic!
    So you’d mentioned a few of George Veletsiano’s characteristics of ET, specifically “Not Yet” or as “organisms that exist in a state of coming into being”. These are the two characteristics that really stood out to me as well. These speak of evolution of technology as well as untapped potential. Both are essential in bringing technology to life in classroom. It creates a space for these pieces to be individualized and relevant to specific groups.

  3. Hi Pepper,

    It is interesting that the classrooms are rigged out for technology, but that the students aren’t able to use it. Is the problem with poor teacher training or with restrictive technology policies? At my girls’ local school the principal, teachers, and parents want to implement more technology and to provide trainings to help teachers learn to use it, but we are held back by the district policies. We wanted, for example, to raise money for ourselves to buy chromebooks to do a 1 to 1, but our plans were shut down by the superintendent because he didn’t think it fair that our school would have better technology than other schools. We suggested that we could use them as a pilot program, but he doesn’t seem to have any vision. There are a lot of tools that we could use, if only there weren’t so much red tape in the way.

    1. I think that I am lucky in that area, as we aren’t in a district. We are able to suggest things or do research/experiment and then share our results with the school. I think that my school is very advanced in many areas. I didn’t really recognize how forward thinking we were until I started talking with people from other schools who didn’t have the resources and professional development that we have.

  4. Pepper,

    I like how you talk about the technologies that aren’t yet understood. I hear about cool things to use in the classroom, but then when it comes down to it, I have no idea how to actually use them within the classroom. It takes practice, effort, and planning to get emerging technologies up and running in the classroom. Our school does not yet have Google Drive, but I have been using it for the past few years. It is so great to have everything all in one spot that is safe and not vulnerable to being lost in a crashed hard drive. Keeping up with these technologies and exposing students to them will help everyone adapt them faster.

    1. I totally understand what you are saying about no knowing how to use the new tech. I also have trouble sifting through all the different apps, in order to find the right one.

  5. I think you have some great items in your blog. It would be interesting to visit your classroom sometime. Very thorough research. It will be interesting as we share what we find. Good work.

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