Thursday, December 21, 2017. As I ponder over the emerging technologies that we have studied so far in this program, I feel the need to properly define the term. Emerging technology is the name given to any technology which can be perceived as creating a prominent impact and changing the status quo. It is a fast-growing technology, which persists over time and possesses the potential to create a considerable impact in the socio-economic domain. Its impact, however, lies in the future. Hence, in the emergence phase, its impact is still ambiguous.
What fields do these technologies encompass? Emerging technologies encompass educational technology, information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, cognitive science, robotics, and artificial intelligence. It is worth noting here that emerging technologies can overlap across these regions. The most significant example in this case, perhaps, is the inclusion of artificial intelligence in educational technology.
Sticking to the education domain, what are some of the prominent examples of emerging technologies? Cloud computing, open content, mobile learning, educational apps, MOOCs, learning analytics, gamification, 3D printing, adaptive systems, augmented and virtual reality are some of the prominent examples of emerging technologies in education.
Before delving into the details of my preference for a particular kind of emerging technology, it is important to know the factors that would make a particular kind of technology promising. For me, it would be an innovation that would target either “low-end footholds” (customers who are overlooked because companies are targeting more profitable customers) or “new-market footholds” (creates a market where none existed). In other words, the technology should be disruptive. Keeping these factors in view, the technology I favor is “open educational content”. Why? The reason for my preference for this particular technology is that open access and resources provide opportunities for sharing and development of diverse content. Hence, open content possesses the potential to disrupt a dependence on expensive traditional educational tools and resources. It creates an access to diverse resources for those who had no previous access, as well as for those who want an enhanced learning experience for free. It is true that open content has been available for quite a while now. However, it is only recently that this particular technology has started receiving serious attention (Teach Thought staff, 2013).
Open content supports self-learning environment, whereby a learner develops the ability to find relevant information, evaluate it and put it to use. Whereas textbooks are usually cumbersome, expensive and difficult to update on the spot, open content is free, mostly engaging and can be updated easily. As a result of, many educators now make use of open repositories to support their lectures. Khan Academy is perhaps the most well-known platforms for open and structured content.
A term commonly associated with the open content is “Creative Commons License”. What is the purpose of this license? This license provides content creators with a standardized way to grant copyright permission for their work. In this way, content can be created, distributed or re-used within the boundaries of copyright law (About the Licenses, n.d.).
If we analyze Pakistan’s educational landscape, it seems as if the open content will be more beneficial as compared to other forms of emerging technologies. In a region where schools don’t even have proper infrastructure, flashy technologies like Microsoft Hololens (mixed reality) or Aurasma (augmented reality) are of no benefit. The minimum that the teachers of such government schools can do is view open content and improve their content knowledge and pedagogical skills, in order to deliver a lesson which is engaging. Open content can also assist in improving the quality of assessments in such classrooms. Teachers can learn ways to improve their current forms of assessing students by viewing videos which talk about conducting meaningful assessments. Thus, open content currently is more relevant and applicable in Pakistan as compared to other emerging technologies in the education sector.
About the Licenses. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://creativecommons.org/licenses/
Teach Thought staff. (2013). 10 specific examples of emerging educational technologies. Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/10-specific-examples-of-emerging-educational-technologies/.