Emerging Tools – Readings

In Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies, it says,

“Teaching with emerging technologies is, by nature, experimental and failure is an implicit step in an experiment. If we don’t fail, we don’t learn, and if we don’t learn, we won’t improve upon what we’re already doing. And in the 21st century, improving upon a centuries-old tradition of teaching and learning is critical.”

Pacansky-Brock

We are constantly trying new tools / resources. We might something that works for our students / learning environment, and we might find something that does not work for our students / learning environment. In the age of technology we are living in, we are overwhelmed by all of the emerging tools coming out with so much potential to make learning and teaching more effective. Through these readings, I have realized that emerging tools are a multitude of providing opportunities in education, but especially these two points:

  • Opportunities for student content creation
  • Opportunities for students to be active in the learning process

Recently I’ve heard a lot of conversation about active learning and passive learning. The traditional school room classroom is usually thought of to be a teacher at the front of the classroom giving a lecture, while students work to memorize key points for their assignment. In the culture full of technology and tools, this is no longer the case. Students are being engaged through the use of technology and building skills necessary for the future. Students are learning skills such as:

“Appropriation— the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content

Multitasking— the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.

Transmedia Navigation— the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities

Networking— the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information” (Clinton)

and more!

Emerging tools also present the opportunity for personalized learning in the classroom. Through the relatively new programs that offer diagnostic testing and adaptive questioning, programs such as MAP Growth & Exact Path can help identify where students struggle. After identifying the strengths and areas that need improvement, these tools have exercises, videos, readings that will help aide that specific student’s learning. Most classrooms these days have an individual laptop or tablet for students, which allows for students to have their own work that is unique to their own needs.

“The devices let students read texts, watch lectures, search for information on the Internet, do homework and interact with teachers and fellow students in a classroom—all at their own pace.”

Gupta

Students are receiving a more personalized and active education through these emerging tools. The tools that I’ve mentioned previously are mostly targeted for classroom time. There are emerging tools that students are using outside of school, that develops skills for their future.

According to a 2005 study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life project(Lenhardt & Madden, 2005), more than one-half of all American teens—and 57 percent of teens who use the Internet—could be considered media creators.

Clinton

That particular study took place in 2005, imagine the percentage of what percentage of teens would be content creators today! We have platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Instagram where you can edit a photo, post art, or create a video and share it for the rest of the world. If you ask a younger student what they would like to be when they grow up, a popular answer you might hear is YouTuber – content creation is everywhere and it is a part of our culture today. We can bring those emerging tools in the classroom, or work off of those ideas to bring it full circle with what is going on in the learning space.

Recognizing the benefits of emerging tools will help a student in the future when used effectively. One of our readings said something to the effect of with all of these emerging tools at their disposal, this particular teacher felt like they were serving their students a buffet rather than a quick bite to eat. Teachers can use some of these emerging tools to develop a more well-rounded learning experience for their students. As well as developing skills needed for the future and creating a more effective learning experience, many emerging tools can build a community in a learning environment. Students can participate online by developing a safe culture of learning. Students want to feel as though their opinions matter, support for sharing work, and feel connected with one another through this process. Especially in a time such as today, we are living in the middle of a global pandemic and a lot of schools are taking place online whether that be the K-12 space or higher education. Though most of us can’t meet face to face, through these emerging tools we don’t have to miss out on any learning. We can still have that collaborative experience though we are miles a part.

It is also important to remember the hardships of implementing emerging tools into our classrooms, Struggles such as learning the technology either before offering it to students or alongside students is often the case as teachers aren’t given an ample amount of time for training. Another hardship could be privacy concerns and student data. Where is all of the information you are giving the technology going? Will schools need permission slips to continue with a certain program as it may have their name on a website?

Overall, I am excited to learn more about emerging tools and see how they can benefit learners. In an additional post I explored a few emerging tools that were interesting to me. Tools such as gamification applications, personalized learning , virtual reality, and many more options.

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