Getting to the bottom of “Emerging Technologies”

| July 29, 2010

Emerging Technologies in Distance Education, edited by George Veletsianos, promises to be a useful resource for those interested in the impact of tech in ed (which should be all of everyone at the Lab…).

The very first issue that the editor takes on is an interesting conundrum; his method of solving it was even more so. Culling bits from social media resources (blogs, Twitter) and publications like The Horizon Report, Veletsianos came up with a definition for the often ambiguous term “emerging technologies:”

“…Tools, concepts, innovations, and advancements utilized in diverse educational settings (including distance, face-to-face, and hybrid forms of education) to serve variededucation-related purposed (e.g. instructional, social, and organizational goals). Emerging technologies can be defined and understood in the context of the following five characteristics:
1. Emerging technologies may or may not be new technologies
2. Emerging technologies are evolving organisms that exist in a state of “coming into being.”
3. Emerging technologies go through hype cycles.
4. Emerging technologies satisfy two “not yet” criteria:
     a. Emerging technologies are not yet fully understood
     b. Emerging technologies are not yet fully researched or researched in a mature way.
5. Emerging technologies are potentially disruptive but their potential is mostly unfulfilled

Veletsianos argues that, while we may still be learning of the potential of emerging technologies in education, we are in a great position to experiment. With this experimentation though, comes the responsibility to consider altering pedagogies, educational theories, and approaches to teaching and learning.

The book is available for free download here.