Emerging Technologies

I have used the terms “emerging technologies” in my writings, but didn’t think much about a technology that is still developing into a must have (I didn’t think much about the development part). Instead, the terms “up and coming” or the latest technology buzz word that may or may not make a positive impact in the educational setting was my first description of an emerging technology. I enjoy reading the yearly Horizon Report, especially the examples of how the emerging technology is currently being used or soon to be integrated in an educational setting. When thinking about the many technologies that were once an “emerging technology” I like the use of the term “emerged” to describe these tools that have changed and improved our daily lives, such as email, a “mature” technology (CoSN, 2005), or mobile devices. Is a mobile device emerging or emerged? Finding a definition of an emerging technology wasn’t difficult, but according to Veletsianos (2010) an emerging technology doesn’t necessarily have to be a “new” technology and goes beyond being just a “tool.” It can be a tool, concept, innovation, or advancement that: “may not necessarily be new technologies; are evolving and coming into being; go through hype cycles; are neither fully understood and neither fully researched or researched in a mature way; and even though they offer powerful potential for change, their potential is largely unattained” (Veletsianos, 2010, p. 12). This definition is used in several articles I located. The Consortium for School Networking’s article on emerging technologies also mentions the opportunity or potential for change in education. Each emerging or anticipated technology has the potential to improve some aspect of instruction and operations (CoSN, 2005).

Emerging technologies in higher education online learning is a research interest. I believe online learning has and will continue to have an impact on higher education. We will continue to see various emerging technologies used in online learning. Because of the time and space differences, emerging technologies are often used to facilitate or establish synchronous and asynchronous learning networks in online learning (Beldarrain, 2006). Integrating social media, blogging, and other Web 2.0 tools or applications in the online classroom are approaches that have been used and researched as ways to increase social interaction and collaboration. “Emerging technologies provide opportunities for instructor-student as well as student-student real-time and/or time-delayed collaboration” (Beldarrain, 2006, p 140). However, the manner in which these technologies are used and integrated in the online classroom for learning outcomes is of significance. Veletsianos (2013) explains that emerging technologies can shape and be shaped when integrated into learning. This is further explained with a social media integration example. When a student uses social media to network with a peer, that technology should “shape” the way the student does this, and the practice of using the technology in this manner will “shape” how the student uses this and other technologies for scholarly purposes (Veletsianos, 2013).

Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139-153.

CoSN The Consortium for School Networking (2005). Hot technologies for K-12 schools: The 2005 guide for technology decision makers. Retrieved from: http://www.ncsl.org/print/standcomm/sctech/dwalery05.pdf

Veletsianos, G. (2010). A definition of emerging technologies for education. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.) Emerging Technologies in Distance Education. Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press

Veletsianos, G. (2013), Open practices and identity: Evidence from researchers and educators’ social media participation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44: 639–651.

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