Essential Question: How do we define Emerging Technologies?

Aleta May

EDET 693 Emerging Technologies, with Dr. Graham

Blog One

Essential Question: How do we define Emerging Technologies?

Five characteristics frame a definition for emerging technologies (ET). According to George Veletsianos (2010). First, ET are not always new technologies. ET may include how an older technology is used in a new way. For example, the Wii Remote has the capability of detecting motion; this capability allowed the Wii Remote to be used for practicing techniques to increase surgery proficiency. Second, ET unfold and expand capabilities over time. As the demand for a technology increases, often the capacity to serve a wider audience, or the proficiency of the technology tool itself offers more through services and functions.

A third characteristic that defines ET is that the way it is used is strongly influenced by the following: “organizational, cultural, and historical factors, education, as a field of study and practice, is resistant to change” (Feletsianos, p. 2). In an interview with Fredrick W. Baker III (2016), Veletsianos stated that he is “drawn to the non-deterministic stance of the field” of Instructional Design and that is research focus is on the learning environment, specifically “in emerging digital settings such as online social networks and open learning environments” (p. 2). The interviewer framed this view as technology being a tool in the box with a little ‘d’ for design with the designer (big “D”) being preeminent. With a focus on the designer using tools (versus the tools controlling the designer), pedagogies for creating and facilitating the learning environment include: “(1) project-based learning (PBL), (2) scaffolding and collaboration, (3) a blended learning delivery model, (4) an interdisciplinary focus on content, and (5) a dual enrollment framework” (Baker, p. 2).

Fourthly, there is much about ET that has misunderstood or unstated. Currently, there is a lot of emphasis being placed on developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). With a pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), teachers can work together with teachers possessing different PCK to design interdisciplinary units. This is based on a constructivist paradigm in that teachers work together to build inquiry-based project learning or units based on what students know. For example, in a case study, a new teacher, Amelia, used 4th grade state mandated science curriculum, that focused on magnetism and electricity. She integrated math into the lesson by making real world connections and representing the data collected about magnetic force with a variety of objects with iron in it. She responded to what she heard students converse about while in small groups, so they could compare and contrast magnetic with nonmagnetic materials. A Decision-Making Framework provides teachers with a structure not only for interdisciplinary instruction, but allows teachers to reach into that technology toolbox to create opportunities to express learning for 21st-Century learning (Allen, Webb, & Matthews, 2016). For example, in this situation, Amelia might have her students create a bar graph to represent comparisons or an online Mind-node mind map for comparing and contrasting magnetic and nonmagnetic materials; then branching the mind map out to further compare iron based metals.

Fifth, incorporating ET and an instructional design approach with a constructivism paradigm is disruptive to traditional education. Therefore, stronger research support for validating change in educational practices is needed (Veletsianos, 2010). Further, we need to consider what innovations are sustainable. Digital media and learning (DML) has “limited support and embedded, industrial-age practices like standardized instruction taught in discrete chunks of time, common to schools, thwart innovation and change (Herro, 2016). Contextual factors need to determine what works for the students. In order to promote reform, there needs to be change that is deep enough to alter how teachers view their roles, change needs to be sustainable over time, cross over to other classrooms (especially other subject areas) and teachers need to assume ownership of their innovative teaching pedagogy. There is no one-size-fits-all innovation simply because the educational context and situation is ignored (Herro, 2016).

As I read through the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, I noticed the theme of innovative and adaptive platforms being crucial to true learning; “adaptive learning resides in the ability for teachers to review automated data about their students to get to know them on a deeper level” (Johnson, Adams-Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015, p. 42). I have used Dreambox math. This is an example of a program that incorporates some gaming as a reward, individualized instruction based on student needs, and a dashboard for the teacher to track progress. After reading about Moby Max on page 43, I like the customization feature. In my view, it is very important to keep the teacher in the equation! I want to have enough control over a program that I can select and move lessons around for students, add students while simultaneously keeping track of progress—since progress monitoring is so important for tracking foundational skills. Meanwhile, there are so many tools already available to educators online, what is really needed are models that “connect curriculum to life outside the classroom . . . real-world application that is experimentation . . . and opportunities for vision and leadership” (Johnson, et. al., p. 6). My favorite is STEAM. The A in STEAM stands for arts+. Of course, teachers need support in “leveraging technology to connect teachers and students inside and outside of the classroom” (Johnson, et. al., p. 7).

I am excited about learning to use Emerging Technologies, during this class and in the Mechanical Applications of Technology class. Our principal has just signed on to start next school year, however, I have had an opportunity to meet with him (Robert). Robert wants to integrate a variety of online technologies, and specifically, he wants me to teach 3D printing. When I saw on page 8 of this report that designing activities like “integrating 3D printing in science classes,” I thought about the perfect timing of my being in these particular classes.  Wow, this 3D printer looks awesome!


There is media production, as well as intersections between technology and any content area. I have always believed in an integrated, thematic approach. Now I can be a part of this major change! This is also the greatest opportunity for our students who are on individual education plans (IEPs).   We are gradually moving toward individual plans for all students, as they learn together. This IS real-world application!


Allen, M., Webb, A. W. & Matthews, C. E. (2016).  Adaptive teaching in STEM: Characteristics for effectiveness. Theory into Practice. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Baker, F. (2016). Conversations with innovators in learning and technology: George Veletsianos. Tech Trends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 60(3), pp 207-210.

Herro, D. (2015). Sustainable innovations: Bringing digital media and emerging technologies to the classroom. Theory into Practice, 54:2, 117-127.


Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Veletsianos, G. E-learning, Ideas open sharing work. Posted November 18th, 2015. In G. Velesianos (Ed), (2010). A definition of emerging technologies for education (pp. 3-22). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.


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