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.