How do we define emerging technologies?

As I began my research for this week’s blog, I thought about the word emerging and what it meant to me. In my mind, things that are emerging are coming forth or making new developments. During research, I found that another word for emerging could be evolving (Veletsianos, G., 2008), which fit well with the thoughts and ideas forming in my mind. In an effort to create a definition for emerging technologies, the source describes four other characteristics of what constitutes an emerging technology.

These other four characteristics are: “emerging technologies can be, but are not necessarily new, emerging technologies go through hype cycles, emerging technologies fit the ‘not yet’ criteria, and emerging technologies are potentially disruptive but their potential is mostly unfulfilled” (Veletsianos, G., 2008, p. 1-3). For me, these characteristics give greater meaning to the term emerging technology and extend my knowledge deeper.

While I have worked quite a bit with technology, I would not consider myself an expert. However, my current principal is very knowledgeable when it comes to technology. He spent many years teaching technology classes at a college level. When I discussed this class with him, his excitement was evident. In the year since he’d started as principal, he had already made many improvements on our school technology. Because we are a small catholic school, we faced one major challenge moving forward, one not mentioned by Horizon Report 2014 K-12 Edition, 2014, and that was lack of funds. However, we made it work, so our students could have the best possible learning experiences. At the start of this past school year, each classroom had a Samsung TV installed with an Apple TV, the K-1 classroom and my classroom the 2-4 had one-to-one iPad usage, my class also had one-to-one HP laptops, while the older grades 5-8 had one-to-one Chrome Books. With these new technologies, we were able to implement some of the developments Horizon Report 2014 K-12 Edition, 2014 discussed.

One of my biggest challenges as a teacher, comes not from the emerging technologies, but rather from teaching second through fourth graders with varying maturities and readiness levels. Our first semester ended in December, and I was left wondering how best to teach my students in math because their abilities had become so far spread out. Our upper grade teacher was currently utilizing Khan Academy for her students. After spending Christmas break researching, I decided to create accounts for my students and set them up online. I had now incorporated a mid-range trend of hybrid learn (Horizon Report 2014 K-12 Edition, 2014) without realizing it.

The research on what defines an emerging technology is vast as are information on the challenges in adopting emerging technologies, most notably protecting student data and keeping our children safe online (Horizon Report 2014 K-12 Edition, 2014). Moreover, there are numerous resources on how to incorporate emerging technologies in any classroom – from history to music to to math and writing (Briggs, S., 2013). The possibilities are endless. As teachers working to grow and adapt, we must be willing to seek out these resources to provide the best learning experiences possible for our students. As teachers, we must be willing to emerge or evolve.


Horizon Report 2014 K-12 Edition. (2014). Retrieved May 20, 2015, from

Briggs, S. (2013). 10 emerging educational technologies and how they are being used across the globe. Retrieved May 22, 2015, from

Veletsianos, G. (2008). A definition of emerging technologies for education. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from


13 thoughts on “How do we define emerging technologies?

  1. You are fortunate to have a principal willing to go to bat for your students’ access to technology. I am beginning a stint with what many consider the wealthiest school district in Alaska yet there is a minimum of technology available, especially at the primary level. In some ways, the absence of technology is refreshing, for 4-year-olds should be driving cars and trucks and learning to share and cooperate in the real world.


    1. Absolutely! Much of it is his background with technology and always being a forward thinker. I do count my blessings for having a principal that is open to working with us. While we don’t have some technologies like SmartBoards, he has equipped us with Apple TVs so that we can share student work easily from the iPads. Another component is that we are a small Catholic school and therefore have more freedom to explore with our students.

      I do like your perspective of the break from technology. Sometimes I find myself being overwhelmed by it. However, one thing I’ve been able to do in my classroom is have the students help teach, especially my more gifted students. They are able to help with the technology and teach the other students how to use it, which is a wonderful blessing.


    2. Question – for 4 year olds in today’s society is technology a part of their “real world?” What might the NAEYC think of using technology with infants – school aged children in today’s schools?


      1. It is true that technology has become a part of the real world for everybody, even infants. Many times, I will see people out to dinner and cell phones are out, and people are doing more on their phones than communicating with each other. I have also seen parents give technology to children in an attempt to placate them or to avoid a tantrum. While I am not a parent and cannot comment on parenting skills, I do believe that as technology continues to grow, it can affect the social skills of some children and leave them feeling forgotten if they do not experience face-to-face communication. This is one article that I found interesting:
        I did do some browsing at the NAEYC page and found that they have a publication that provides strategies on how to use technology with preschool aged children. I have found many preschoolers to know exactly how to download an app on their parent’s iPad, and sometimes even know the password and parents get charged. They are smart children, and with many things, I think it is a balancing act of incorporating technology and also providing appropriate social interactions.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. For some reason I can’t reply to your comment – but yes – it is a balancing act. We can’t say no technology at all – but we do have to teach them to use their technology for GOOD…in addition to using it for time wasting…and school can make a big impact on that.


  2. I agree with Margret and the comments that have been made. Technology has allowed to me to differentiate learning in my kindergarten classroom. I feel I have already implemented the hybrid model described in the Horizon Report 2014 K-12 Edition. I currently have 5 IPads in my room provided by the district. In addition I have 6 LeapPads purchased through Donors Choose, a great resource if you haven’t used it before, and 5 HP Chromebooks (which I purchased myself). With this technology I am able to provide instruction at the many levels my students require. Because kindergarten and preschool are not required by the State of Alaska, students come in at a range of prior knowledge levels. For example this year I had students who didn’t know the difference between a letter and a number compared to students who were reading at a 2nd grade level. This situation is challenging for a teacher who wants to keep high students and bring low students up to grade level expectations while still honoring student individuality.

    This brings to the challenges of implementing technology.
    1) The willingness of parents, teachers and administration to embrace a new or not so new way of educating.
    2) Funding for hardware, software, and bandwidth to implement technology. I as I am sure you do spend a lot of money out of my own pocket for materials.
    3) Comprehensive training for school staff on technology training.
    4) The latitude to educate students with new teaching methods, which support the new Alaska State Standards, instead of using old prescribed book curriculum.

    A comment about getting parents on board. Most of my parents are fine with their child using technology like DVDs, electronic devices, computers, and the internet, but l have had parents that consider this teaching method inappropriate. To quote one parent, “I don’t want my child playing games or watching cartoons at school.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And of course now I can…

      Yes – it is a balancing act. We can’t say no technology at all – but we do have to teach them to use their technology for GOOD…in addition to using it for time wasting…and school can make a big impact on that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I work in a Christian school and there is also a fear of technology that many parents have. I would say the internet suffers from a really bad reputation (maybe well deserved) and I keep going back to the need to educate people – and students about the pitfalls and dangers of the internet and how we can guide our children to safety. I would say the highway is a really dangerous place too, and most of us need to be able to safely navigate it for operating productive lives. Children today are “digital natives” and grow up intuitively interacting and learning in a digital world. “Digital Immigrants” are much less convinced about technology and its place in our world. Like Mark Prensky says: “Immigrants have to watch out for thinking the way they learned to do things is still the best way. Natives need to realize that they still have to learn many things about technology — and life. That is why it is important that we all learn to work together, with mutual respect, to find Digital Wisdom.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I encounter that fear from parents too. Though I work at a Catholic school, most of our students are non-religious; however, we still deal with parents wondering if technology is the best way for their child to learn information and how their child will stay out of trouble on the internet. With my class (Grades 2-4) I found that my parents had less concern, with the exception of one parent. I noticed that most of my students knew how to get to the internet, but didn’t even fully understand how to navigate that resource. They knew how to find Minecraft or other games they wanted to play but didn’t know what Google was. Offline, students didn’t even know how to use Microsoft Word, let alone Google Docs. It became evident to me that the parent who was concerned had the student who knew what he was doing – both online and offline in regards to technology. It was a real eye opener for me and allowed me to differentiate my teaching just in showing students how to use an iPad or laptop.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to be hesitant to put my students on the computer for tutorial help, but it was one choice that my principal made for me. I run a classroom with at least four grade levels at the same time, so he has had computer practice be one of the centers while I work with students. I often wonder if it is too much computer time, to put them on for 20 minute sessions in math, and 20 minutes during language arts, but it seems to help my students learn concepts we are practicing. I also like the fact that I can monitor online progress for the programs my school district uses. That and using that to help with instruction time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maybe Cindy Duncan will share her strategy for getting elders and parents onboard with Minecraft in her classroom! She was able to help them to see how beneficial this was to actual student learning. It’s been amazing but with our Givercraft experience (we’ve had over 1000 students go through it at this point – it or one of the variations of it) we have never had parent complaints that I am aware of. You can read about it here:

    Liked by 1 person

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