What are Emerging Technologies? #UAEmergTech


The Final Frontier?

When we look at such an overwhelming topic as “Emerging Technologies” it’s easy to imagine a cornucopia of sci-fi electronic wonders and other cutting edge gizmos and devices to help our world become a better place.  It pulls many of us into memories of our past when we used to pretend to talk into our watches like we had access to the latest go-go gadget spy tools.  More importantly, the word “Emerging Technologies” cause us to look into the future and wonder what the next big thing will be.  Emerging Technologies open up a vast horizon for us humans to cast our ever growing curiosities into what feels like an untaped and wildly exciting frontier.

What makes it so exciting?

The unknown always holds an element of excitement, and where Emerging Technologies are concerned there is a mysterious feel to these developments.  I remember a teacher of mine in high school talking about a day when every student would have a computer in front of them in class, and I never thought that was possible.  Today schools embrace the concept of 1 to 1 laptop programs, or bring your own devices (BYOD) in ever-increasing numbers.  Perhaps it is the rapid pace of technological growth, or the ever newly discovered applications of this technological growth that is most exciting.  Regardless, our society is hungrily clamoring for newer, faster, smaller, and wireless.  Conversely, how we communicate, learn, work, shop, play, and recreate are all being impacted.  What makes emerging technologies most exciting is the adaptions we need to make as a society to properly, safely, and effectively integrate them into our lives.

What are emerging technologies?

Emerging technologies are advances or innovations in a wide variety of fields with a multitude of uses.  Their impact ranges across many industries and their effects are still being measured and discovered.  Many of these technologies were originally developed for one purpose or aspect and then later repurposed to fit an entirely different niche.  What was once a social media website, might provide an inspiration or platform for professionals to share ideas.  Bringing people together of common interests and putting people into contact with those who might have answers to problems.  As this body of collective knowledge grows it helps us become more efficient, connected, and empowered.  In education, some of these new technologies are causing many to consider the benefits and challenges our digital world presents.

Spoon fed or hunger led?

With the emergence of technology in the education world we see a shift in the approach many of us need to take.  The traditional formate of teacher being the “sage on the stage” to a “guide on the side” is evident in many classrooms.  Technology allows students to transition to student-centered learning as they have the ability to research, analyze, solve and create at a level never seen before.  As the world of work is being impacted by technology, so to do we need to prepare students to achieve success in this digital world.  Challenge-based learning, is one way that we see the opportunity to develop a level of complex problem solving needed by 21st Century workers.  This and other “soft skills” can be developed as students collaborate on projects in real-time with their peers on Google Docs, Moodle discussion boards, and blogs.  Blended learning institutions are rapidly becoming popular as students develop these technology skills along with face to face collaboration and team building activities.

Who said challenges?

There are of course some growing pains associated with emerging technologies.  The first being what exactly do we need students to “know” and/or what do we expect our students to be able to “find out”.  Students have powerful personal hand-held devices in their possession almost around the clock.  The educator has to be prepared to answer the question “why do we have to know this?”.  When students can have access to virtually unlimited information in a matter of seconds,  it does cause one to pause and consider what information should be retained for the sake of retention and what information isn’t necessary. The second concern deals with policies and procedures that do not always align with reality of technology.  We educators have to find a way to safely and securely provide learning opportunities for students to take advantage of the technology world and also provide for them some safety nets and protections.  We need to secure their personal information, and we also need to secure them from cyber bullies and other threats out there.  Probably the best way to do this is through early education on best practices, cyber citizenship, modeling of acceptable behaviors.  If a framework is not established early about how to responsibly use technology in an educational environment, then schools will always be backpedaling in an attempt to put out fires.  And of course we won’t be preparing students to be effective digital citizens in the workforce either.  The final challenge of emerging technology is how brick and mortar schools can compete with so many online learning environments and what the future of education will look like.  Like many of the challenges posed by emerging technologies, we may not know exactly what this will look like.  Schools are wise to move to blended learning environments, flipped classrooms, and open educational resources (OER).  Brick and mortar schools are not going away any time soon for the simple reason that parents want their kids supervised, nurtured, and socialized while they are away at work.

Does it end?

Emerging technologies have shaped and will continue to change many facets of our lives.  Schools are striving to keep up with an ever-evolving industry and forever trying to employ the best practices when it comes to education.  Preparing our students for careers that may not even currently exist using technologies that are not even invented sounds like an impossible task.  Schools who invest in the professional development of their teachers to embrace these changes and create policies friendly to technology integration are on the right path.  These schools are placing students in a position to achieve 21st Century skills which will provide students with the ability to meet whatever challenges the future holds.



Key Trends Accelerating Educational Technology Adoption in Schools. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition, 2014, 50-50. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org

6 Emerging Technologies in Education. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2015, from http://www.learndash.com/6-emerging-technologies-in-education/

A definition of emerging technologies for education | George Veletsianos. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2015, from http://www.veletsianos.com/2008/11/18/a-definition-of-emerging-technologies-for-education/


5 thoughts on “What are Emerging Technologies? #UAEmergTech

  1. I really enjoyed your post and the way you organized it. When I came across the mention of 1:1 devices and how this has changed recently, I chuckled. I remember attending high school and having a cell phone zone, which was the only place you were allowed to use your cell phone. If you used your cell phone outside the zone, you were either sent to the office or given detention. Now administrators are encouraging teachers to have students use their cell phones in class. I thought of how far we had come, but then paused.

    Last year I had a coworker, who was leaving at the end of the year to join the Peace Corps. She had taught for many years and was almost clueless about how to use technology in the classroom, except when it came to typing up formal essays. Despite our principal encouraging her to use the technology and giving her suggestions, she was constantly taking students’ cell phones away. What advice would you give a teacher in this situation, especially when they already have one foot out the door? How would you encourage them to take that leap of faith?

    This year, my principal didn’t just encourage teachers to incorporate technology, it was a requirement, especially when he gave each teacher a device for 1:1 with students. As part of that 1:1, the upper grades (5-8) were each assigned a Chrome book. Before they could use the Chrome book and take it home, they had to complete a digital citizenship course, similar to your mention of cyber citizenship. My class (2-4 grades) also received a version of the course. Though we are a small school, we were able to monitor the students to see who was being a good digital citizen and closely monitor those who weren’t. How do we reach those students who aren’t being good digital citizens without taking away the emerging technologies? Personally, I never want to take away as a consequence. I feel there might be other more productive ways of having consequences without cutting the students off from technology completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was at a district that did take the laptops away from students at least for the 24/7 access portion. I think that would be acceptable. If students show no regard to being responsible or accountable for the equipment then there is a problem. But I agree, in the classroom itself, I would have a problem taking the laptop away as it is a necessary educational tool.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for pressing “Like” for my first, one-paragraph post. I was experimenting with how to post for this class. I didn’t really expect any comments on it. Hopefully I will become more eloquent as the class progresses!


  3. Answering “the why do we need to know this?” question is one that’ll never end. I’m taking a math class right now and last night we were discussing finding the roots of quadratic equations using synthetic division. It’s really time consuming (which you probably know) and someone asked if it was really important to teach this to students, because of the extent of time it takes when they have graphing calculators to do it for them with a few clicks. It goes from a mundane process to an answer within seconds. It made me think yeah why not just show them on their graphing calculator? When I took college trig, the professor didn’t even teach us how to graph trig functions, just told us to use our calculators, which was awesome then, but now it would take quite a bit of review for me to actually do it on paper with no calculator. I get why students ask “why do we need to know this?” or “when are we ever going to use this?” because with the way technology is going, some of the concepts we do teach kids seem to be mundane when technology can do it for them so much quicker. I hate hearing that question from kids, so I can talk for quite a bit about it, so thanks for bringing that up in your blog 🙂 I feel like it will forever be a challenge and only get worse the more technology emerges into the classroom. Enjoyed reading your blog, have a great holiday weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There are definite challenges as we look to adopt new or existing technologies. Funding is always tight which means justification is imperative. Jumping on the tech bandwagon and trying the latest and greatest just because it exists will not work. We need to be purpose driven when we look at the things we are going to use in our classes. As you said, we are preparing kids for future careers that do not yet exist and technologies that haven’t been imagined yet. The same could be said for past generations as well. The biggest difference I see from 20 or 30 years ago is the speed at which things change. Our goal needs to be teaching our kids how to learn and adapt. Using current technologies wisely forms the building block that kids can expand upon. We are leading our kids (and ourselves) down a path to the unknown. I agree that this is an exciting prospect.

    Liked by 1 person

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