reflections in response to Emerging Technology course EDUC 7108

Emerging & Obsolete Technologies: Overhead Projector & Interactive Whiteboard


One of the greatest tasks of an educational technology leader is to be certain that all students have access to resources and technological applications, regardless of socioeconomic background, culture, or gender.  We see students each day with limited resources, who simply do not have access to, or familiarity with technology outside of school.  For this reason, I feel it is vital to provide access to the technology used elsewhere in the schools, since these students require additional assistance, rather than less. One method of leveling the playing field, is through free programs, and services, such as Open Source applications.  Another manner in which to provide additional technology is through grants, and involving the community and local businesses.  In these times of economic hardship, many families have to make tough decisions to provide for basic needs of the family.

Ellit Solloway in his presentation ” The Digital Divide: Leveling the Playing Field” suggests that cell phones can level the playing field for a segment of society who lacks the means to access internet.  This may well be true, and there are many interesting, enjoyable and useful programs created as “apps” for cell phones to make them well worth having.  This seems especially geared toward higher education, when students are older, and most students have access to cell phones.  However, cell phones are also expensive, so that a large number of middle and high school students still do not have a basic cell phone, no less one with additional service, to include internet access.

In order to obtain one of the films based on the books by Philip K. Dick in module 4, I began first with the resources I have immediate access to.  I reviewed the “guide” listings of movies scheduled for broadcast on cable television, which produced two of the Dick films.  After reading each review, I chose Minority Report; set it to record digitally via TIVO and watched it the following day after it was recorded for me.

There was a time when the only option to seeing a movie was to rent one from a video store or purchase it.   Technological advancements now allow the very same film to be streamed or downloaded immediately to one’s television or personal computer. This emergence in technology has also led to competition between DVD sales and Video on Demand.  The current competition between Video on Demand and DVDs is an example of increasing returns (Laureate Education, 2009). Since high speed internet is now more affordable, with larger screen size displays, and with superior image and graphics quality than was available in the past, more people use online resources than ever before, causing the video rental business to slowly become obsolete.  This is easily represented in the competition between Netflix and Blockbuster.

Netflix began in 1997, moving to subscription services in 1999, and now with customer subscriptions including both rented movies delivered in the mail, as well as streamed movies through TIVO, Wii, Xbox 360, Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices as well as select brand-name televisions.  While Netflix was concentrating on video on demand business, Blockbuster, as its primary competitor, did not expand to the video on demand market soon enough, which ultimately led to their demise as they filed for bankruptcy in 2010.  As the transition was made to digital format in the United States in June of 2009, many Americans have flocked to stores to purchase updated televisions, many of which are fully equipped with internet connection, and ready for streaming with automatic access to streamed or downloaded content, for example, my Samsung Blu-Ray player came equipped with recommended internet TV applications:  Pandora internet radio, VUDU, Netflix, and Blockbuster, with capabilities to access Twitter, Google maps, You Tube videos and more.  The TIVO offerings on my television include Blockbuster, Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix, You Tube, Rhapsody, Pandora, Live 365, and Podcaster.   These companies will all reap the benefits of being readily available and “on the screen” as customers tune in to their newly-acquired television sets.  The law of increasing returns (Laureate Education, 2009) suggests that as one technology is chosen, customers continue with it, contributing to even more growth for the first-chosen technology.

Video on demand rekindles the movies at home concept.  The fact that companies such as Netflix continue to “rent” movies by delivering them to mailboxes, suggests that DVDs are not becoming obsolete; one only has to look at the shelves in Walmart to realize they continue to be sold.   As image quality becomes better and better, Blu-Ray DVD will obsolete the basic DVD however.

Vint Cerf: It’s all about Video on Demand

Anderson, C. (2004). Tech’s long tail [Video]. Retrieved from

Cerf, V. It’s all about video on demand. Retrieved from

What you need to know about the digital tv transition.  Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (2009). Emerging and future technology. Baltimore: Author.

Newman, R. (2010). How Netflix killed Blockbuster. US News & World Report: Money. Retrieved from

Netflix. Retrieved from

Samsung Blu-Ray DVD. Retrieved from

Thornburg, D. (2008c). Red Queens, butterflies, and strange attractors: Imperfect lenses into emergent technologies. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

TIVO Retrieved from

1. How is Second Life a disruptive technology?

According to Dr. Thornburg (Laureate, 2009), disruptive technologies are those which may surface without warning, change the way things are done, but have the same functionalities of an old technology while functioning more efficiently.  Second Life, launched in 2003, enables users to interact in virtual worlds, play games, travel and socialize in real-time with user-created personas, called avatars.  Second Life is considered a disruptive technology because it surfaced rather quickly, applying technology to create virtual worlds which have the potential to replace traditional computer games, and change traditional face-to-face and distance learning.

2. What technology or innovation did it replace?

Second Life replaces social interaction and online games for a segment of internet game users.  Second Life is used by some universities to present a virtual experience of the college, and has the potential to replace the need for field trips, enabling users to visit museums and other educational settings. Virtual environments would allow students to engage in role playing, which would benefit many students, while addressing their individual learning styles.  Second Life and other virtual environments would have to be introduced gradually if used in the classroom, while providing documentation to substantiate claims of benefiting our students educationally or raising test scores.  At present, Second Life is only available to users who are aged 16 or older, which for K-12 education, would only be applicable to high schoolers for a couple of years.   For this reason, it may never fully emerge in the K-12 school setting; rather be more suitable in the college setting.

3. How many years do you think Second Life has left before another emerging or disruptive technology replaces it?

Second Life launched in 2003, and continues to show growth with new users, worlds and applications.  Another technology which could replace Second Life could be some type of holographic image, which allows the user to travel to virtual locations.

4. What are the social benefits of Second Life, and what might the social implications of virtual worlds in your industry be?

Second Life or other virtual worlds provide students access to material, instructors, teaching methods and resources which may not be accessible in physical environments. Second Life allows users to create, manage and control environments which meet their needs, and can be used for entertainment as well as business. The social implications of any virtual world which allows users to remain anonymous, is the potential for misrepresentation.  Younger students, if they were allowed access to the site, could have difficulty discerning reality from fantasy.   For college-age students and in professional development, virtual worlds pose a potential for enriching the learning experience.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2009). Emerging and future technology. Baltimore: Author.

Hologram on CNN:

Second Life in education:


Barn Raising

Futurist, Dr. Thornburg, (Laureate Education, 2009) discusses the emergence of technology, by suggesting that one method in which new innovations “catch on” is due to their ability to rekindle the past.

In the past, communities depended on one another: for support in facing hardships, for survival when faced with natural phenomenon and to provide entertainment within their communities.  As individuals moved away, their ability to maintain contact with friends and loved ones across distance has been handled through limited means over the years: snail mail, telephone, FAX, and email. Modern-day communities have expanded with the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.  Technology now allows users to maintain contact with friends and family, even from great distances, unifying each user’s community from their past and present in the convenience of one website.  Users can chat synchronously, or message asynchronously, share photos, and send/receive updates from groups of personal interest, and friends, and play games together.  These activities are reminiscent of the support and codependence of the communities of the past.






Laureate Education, Inc. (2009). Emerging and future technology. Baltimore: Author.,isz:l&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=124&vpy=144&dur=1439&hovh=195&hovw=259&tx=134&ty=70&oei=yrIvTYaGIIL-8AbXsLzTCA&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,isz:l&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=309&vpy=144&dur=234&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=133&ty=57&oei=yrIvTYaGIIL-8AbXsLzTCA&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0,isz:l0,1246&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=1038&vpy=334&dur=196&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=164&ty=51&oei=JrUvTZjZJJPrgQeWt4GVCw&esq=4&page=4&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:55&biw=1333&bih=629


Cloud computing is a metaphor for the internet, referring to web-based applications which allow users access to their information from work, home, school, or any remote location, so long as they have access to the internet.  Since “information “sits” on a cloud in a centralized location which can easily be retrieved, cloud computing not only changes how we store and retrieve applications and files, but also how we communicate and share them with other members of our group, and how organizations restructure and modernize their IT infrastructure” (Hirsch, 2010).

Cloud computing enhances collaboration:  among colleagues, in classrooms, to provide a forum for projects of all types.  By working on a network, the information created on isolated personal computers  can be collectively manipulated by remote users, as is the case with a program such as Google Docs, or posted and responded to as with a blog or wiki (Owen, 2010).

Cloud computing obsoletes the limitations of physical space, whether it be on a computer, or in a flash drive.  Expensive programs become obsolete such as the Microsoft Office suite.  Copyright and intellectual property laws and infringements are also becoming obsolete as a result of socially constructed work.

Computing on the cloud also rekindles a sense of commonwealth, a social concept from the past in which the work of one or some is used for the improvement of all.  We also regain a sense of control over our media input that was lost by these same technologies (Saunter, 2010), as we consider the implications of using RSS feeds in each person is “fed” the information source of his or her own choice.  Operating systems are freed for open access, and owners of computer and smartphone are given greater manipulative power over the apps chosen for their devices.

The disadvantages which will reverse cloud computing include issues with loss of privacy, and lack of security.


  • collaboration among colleagues, and in classrooms
  • collectively manipulate texts using programs such as Google Docs
  • post and respond asynchronously using blog or wiki

  • limitations of physical space: on a computer, or in a flash drive
  • expensive programs such as the Microsoft Office suite.
  • Copyright and intellectual property laws and infringements
Rekindles from

the past

  • a sense of commonwealth
  • a sense of control over our media input as users choose the information sources of one’s choice (RSS feeds & applications)


  • loss of privacy
  • lack of security


Cloud Computing Tetrad Cloud Computing Tetrad

Hirsch, O. (2010). Technology education: Emerging and future technologies.  Retrieved from

Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010).The 2010 horizon report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Owen, W. (2010). Mady by Many: Cloud culture, the internet wars, and sublimation of self. Retrieved from

Saunter, T. (2010). Digital cortex: Applying mcLuhan. Retrieved from

Cloud computing

In his article “Current Trends in Educational Technology,” Thornburg (2009) discusses how a variety of new technologies are shaping and being shaped by society.

The field of education is greatly influenced by emerging technologies in society at large.  One new development emerging in technology is cloud computing.  Cloud computing is a metaphor for the internet, referring to web-based applications which allow users to utilize any interface to access their information.    Cloud computing “increase(s) capacity or add(s) capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities” (Knorr & Gruman, 2008).  This technology is in the process of emerging in K-12 school systems.  While it is not fully functional in all of its capacities at present, cloud computing has already made its mark in the area of information storage, and has huge potential for the future.  The primary benefit of this technology for schools is that the information is not stored locally (Pang, 2009).    Therefore, teachers can work on documents: planning, correcting, collaborating either at school or at home, using laptop, computer, or hand-held device.  The potential benefits for students with regard to group work, real-time collaboration even from remote geographical locations.  Google Docs is one example of online document collaboration tool, Drop Box is an example of storage application, spam filters, and mapping services are all examples of cloud computing technology. Some issues remain so far as security with this technology due to unauthorized use.  The technology for document creating and collaborating isn’t always stable and may not allow for formatting in the traditional sense.  Web-based storage is more stable, but less secure than collaboration tools. As the world wide web began to break down barriers of distance, and language in communication, cloud computing proves a great potential in collaboration tools among people separated by distance.  As the technology improves, greater security will be provided for collaboration, and storage of information, while implementation of new applications remain (Johnson, Levine, Smith & Stone, 2010).

Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010).The 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Knorr, E., & Gruman, G. (2008). What cloud computing really means. InfoWorld. Retrieved from

Pang, L. (2009). Applying cloud computing to the classroom. Retrieved from

Thornburg, D. D. (2009a). Thornburg, D. D. (2009a). Current trends in educational technology. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.


You Tube explanation of Cloud computing: