Wednesday, May 25, 2011

EDUC 7108: Module 6 Blog

The Digital Divide

As a leader in educational technology, what can I do to help make emerging technologies valuable to others, while maintaining gender, cultural, and socioeconomic sensitivity?

In order to do so, we must first understand the group of people as a whole. We must identify their needs and how the emerging technologies can best be utilized to meet those needs. Once those needs are identified, we can then devise a plan to meet those needs. In my classroom, I have students with IEP’s. The accommodations that I make allow them to learn and participate in grade level material by level the proverbial playing field so my students can have their needs met. Once we identify gender, cultural, and socioeconomic needs, then we can create an individualize plan to meet their needs with the emerging technologies.

Secondly, to make emerging technologies valuable to others, our primary focus cannot be on the device. Getting the device or innovation into everyone’s hand is good, but it is not the entire solution because the devices are useless without a person using it. As Dr. Thornburg suggested, we cannot “…do it by giving them a bunch of technology and software and then leaving them alone” (Thornburg, 2009). They will need support and guidance while trying to meet their needs. We must find a way to create an infrastructure that supports them after the device is in their hands. By doing so, we can ensure the emerging technologies continue to meet the learner’s needs while maintaining gender, cultural, and socioeconomic sensitivity.

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

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Red Queen or Increasing Returns?

When we were first notified that we had to watch a DVD of a movie that I did not own, I first asked my mom because she has collected videos for years. However, when I couldn’t find it there, I checked Redbox movies and Walmart to see if they had it. Eventually, I had to turn to Netflix to find the movie online. Renting Blade Runner was the first time I had ever watched a movie digitally using my laptop, and now it probably will not be my last.

I believe that the current competition between DVDs and video on demand is an example of Red Queens simply because of the fierce competition between the two types of technology (Thornburg, 2009). Essentially, these two technologies allow people to rent movies in their homes instead of going out of the house to get it from a store. By promoting their essential details and competing to be the best they have suddenly moved ahead of Blockbuster, Movie World, and other movie rental places.

Enhances: What does this technology do that is new?

This technology allows people to watch movie from any computer, from any place, and at anytime. With our ever-changing schedules, this tool gives us the opportunity to watch movies even when the rest of the world is sleeping.

Obsoletes: What does this technology replace?

This technology replaces the need for movie rental stores. It replaces the need to rush back to return the movie at the last minute before the store closes in order to avoid a late fee as well.

Retrieves/rekindles: What does this technology bring to mind (or retrieve) from the past?

This technology brings to mind peoples need for entertainment. At first, it was stories by a campfire to teach the tribes history and rituals, and then we moved to entertainment by radio. Next, we were able to bring about television show (first black/white and then in color). Lastly, it brings to mind movies showing at local movie theaters.

Reverses: What might replace this technology in the future, or what might it cause to occur?

One thing that might replace this technology is if local theaters cease to exist and entirely new movies can be beamed directly into our living rooms. With the increasing speed of internet connections downloads are clearer and quicker than ever. In addition, with the use of portable projectors (like the ones in our classes) people have the ability to watch movies with their neighborhoods on the side of their houses. The only new thing would be instant access to movie premieres.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Disruptive Technologies: Second Life

Thornburg (2009) aptly explained that disruptive technologies are a completely new type of tool that changes how things are done, but they are not gradual extensions of the older type of technologies. Recently Second Life was considered a disruptive technology because it interferes with the way people interact with each other on the internet. In Second Life, people create avatars that represent who they are or who they want to be (alter egos) in order to set up relationships in the virtual world.

If this new world is a disruptive technology, it would replace how and where people go to meet others on the Internet. Instead of using chat rooms or having to interact with people on a face-to-face level, people now have the ability to create a new world and develop characters for how they want to be seen in their virtual environment.

Since disruptive technologies seem to come out of nowhere and make an existing technology obsolete, I am not quite sure it will totally replace how we can interact with others. Second Life, has been around for several years, but I do not see it being replace with another innovation within the next 5 years. I do see it being used more in education because in certain situations it can be an effective tool for learning. By using virtual worlds, teachers and students can travel to worlds and access information that we cannot obtain in face-to-face environments.

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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rhymes of History

Rhymes of History

After reflecting on Kevin Kelly’s speech on “The Next 5,000 Days of the Web,” which can be found at, I decided to re-explore the technologies we use to communicate. Doing so, I was able to see the plethora of technologies that are in existence for communication. Currently we use landline phones, cell phones, video conferencing, email, and even cloud communications, but the tool that I associated the most was Skype. Skype is a communication tool that is also a rhyme of history, and it allows users to make phone calls, participate in video conferencing, collaborate with group members, send instant messages, and share documents all live on the Internet.

Being able to correspond in this manner reflects man’s desire to reach out communicate with the world around him. What was once only possible through clay tablets in Mesopotamia, Egyptian hieroglyphics on papyrus paper, Chinese script on bamboo, and printed books in Europe to text messages on cell phones, email on the Internet, and now Skype. By rekindling communication in this manner, we are able to communicate more effectively with others and at greater distances. Skype has many attribute that make it a wonderful rhyme of history, but the most impressive is the fact that it allows individuals to communicate for free if both parties have access to a computer and the Internet. With the availability of computers and Internet access in libraries, one only has to be able to set up an account to “reach out and touch” someone across the world.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

As a learning community, we decided to explore the Nook Color E-Reader from Barnes & Noble.  This device is an emerging technology that has gone through a series of changes to become what it is now.  As McLuhan (2009) indicated, tetrads can grow as clusters or as chains.  The Nook Color would be a part of a chain because it continues to evolve by making improvements within itself.  The following is a tetrad regarding the Nook Color E-Reader:
Enhances: What does this technology do that is new?
This device allows us to carry an enormous amount of reading material with us without dealing with the cumbersome job of literally carrying it with us. According to the Barnes & Noble website (2011), this device has a built in Wi-Fi to surf the web, provides free social sharing of books, has the ability to store and listen to music, and is the first device that provides color to enhance our reading material.

Obsoletes: What does this technology replace?

This technology replaces the need to carry or make traditional books and text books, the need to have traditional libraries, traditional music or book stores, the need to have mp3 players and iPods, and the original Nook or Kindle.

Retrieves/rekindles:  What does this technology bring to mind (or retrieve) from the past?

It brings to mind clay tablets, which were the first forms of books. It also brings to mind the papyrus manuscripts from Ancient Egypt.

Reverses:  What might replace this technology in the future, or what might it cause to occur?

A solar powered/alternate battery source to improve the Nook’s battery life may replace this technology. With only about an 8 hr built-in battery source and only 800 MHz processor, the Nook will not allow you to read or surf the web for very long without carrying a charger everywhere with you (Barnes & Noble, 2011). This requires you to mooch off someone else’s power source to remain operational. Maybe the Nook can develop a battery source that absorbs the excess energy projected off objects around it in order to extend its own battery life.

Barnes & Noble. 2011. Retrieved from on March 30, 2011.

Barnes & Noble. 2011. Retrieved from http://www.barnesandnobleutm_term=nook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Nook%20Top&isIndexPage=1&cm_mmc=Google-_-Nook%20Top-_-Nook%20General%20-%20Exact-_-Nook&cm_mmca1=44743a65-3493-59e8-6269-000053eb2947 on March 30, 2011.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"The constantly changing landscape of educational technology can be thought of as a series of transactions from older tools to newer ones" (Thornburg, 2009). With Thornburg's words in mind, we too are facing many transformations at my school when it comes to integrating new technology. One of the most prevalent changes is the incorporation of the document camera. Even though there are many types of document cameras being integrated, the most popular brand is the ELMO and can be located at

What needs does the document cameras meet in our school? Document cameras not only let you project information and books on to SmartBoards, but they also let teachers move the camera's arm to project from different angles. As the arm moves, it allows the camera to show views of the object's side, front, and top positions just by making slight adjustments. Secondly, document cameras allow teachers to zoom in and out on an object or perform tasks, like experiments, live so the entire room can see them at the same time. As the teacher manipulates the arm, more students are able to see the demonstration without getting in each other's way or moving up to the front. In addition, document cameras are able to connect to a microscope and go into "microscope mode" so everyone can see magnified images on a slide. Being able to see microscope images as a class, allows teacher to cut down on the expense of buying a classroom set of microscopes and slides.


In addition to positive effects, there are some negative aspects of document cameras. First, some of the document cameras are only being used as glorified overhead projectors even when they can do so much more. Teachers are only focusing on their simplicity rather than their ability to be an interactive tool. To fix this problem, we can provide training for teachers on how to use it in more interactive ways. In addition, the ones that we have at our school tie teachers to one place in the classroom. They do not allow teachers to walk around the room and monitor students' progress as they complete assignments. This problem has a solution, but it requires another type of innovation called a slate. Purchasing this tool would cost extra money to purchase and time to train teachers on how to use them. Lastly, the only other negative aspect of the document cameras is the fact that we do not have enough money in our budget this year for everyone at our school to have one in their classrooms because of their price. Although we have several documents camera at our school, I hope that we will continue to integrate their innovativeness within our classrooms.


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