reflections in response to Emerging Technology course EDUC 7108

Archive for February, 2011

Emerging and Obsolete Technologies: overhead projector and interactive whiteboard

Emerging & Obsolete Technologies: Overhead Projector & Interactive Whiteboard



Module Six: Addressing the Digital Divide

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.

Module Five: Red Queens, Increasing Returns and the War on DVD/Video on Demand

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