Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obsolete and Emerging Technology

Obsolete and Emerging Technology: An analysis of the Palm Pilot and Smart Phone

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Module 5: Widespread Movie Access

Growing up if I wanted to see a movie, my parents had to take me to the movie theater, rent or buy the movie. Today movies can be accessed almost anywhere. Mobile devices, computers, gas stations, grocery stores, on demand, libraries and devoted rental stores are just a few of the places where once can access movies. My personal favorite way to access movies tends to be through cable on demand. Renting movies on demand does not require me to travel to a specific place to retrieve and return the movie. I am able to access it conveniently in my own home and not worry about due dates or managing a toddler as I am trying to check out a movie. If I was a more avid movie watcher, I am sure I would love the convenience and features of Netflix. Though it is hard to beat RedBox’s prices for rental, however fees can add up due to failure to return movie by the given deadline. Consumers and movie watchers have plenty of choices and can even access a limited number of titles for free through the internet.
What force of emerging technologies is behind the competitive movie market? Is it increasing returns that are influencing the widespread access to movies or is it a case of the Red Queens? Increasing returns are summarized as two innovations that emerge around the same time with only one remaining successful as it causes the other to become extinct (Thornburg, 2008). This does not appear to be the case with movies. Some rental stores have closed recently, but others still thrive. Blockbuster is still a heavy contender in the competition over consumer’s movie purchases by creating their own version of the Red Box. Not everyone has access to the convenience of video on demand, something I recently experienced after moving and not having established cable service in my new residence. However, I can just go down the street to rent a movie for my son if desired. My recent move gave me different perspective in how and why people would access movies in different ways. Red Queens are defined by intense competition between two different technologies. The competition leads to other competitors being left behind. One could argue that Netflix and Red Box are fighting fiercly to be the Red Queens of the movie world. However, video on demand services provided through companies such as Cox Communications are still in the fight. As the fight continues the services and type of technology begins to evolve and change. Netflix, originally founded in 1999 (Anderson, 2004), was primarily a mail order business. Now Netflix can be streamed through devices like the Roku as well as your computer. Their service plans have changed to be more competitive. The fight is still on and people everywhere are able to benefit from the widespread access of movies.


 Anderson, C. (2004). Chris Anderson of Wired on tech’s long tail [Video]. Retrieved from

Thornburg, D. (2008). Red Queens, butterflies, and strange attractors: Imperfect lenses into emergent technologies. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

Thornburg, D. D. (2009). Increasing returns. [Vodcast]. Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from

Thornburg, D. D. (2009). Red queens. [Vodcast]. Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Module 4: Second Life

Back in 2007, I remember watching a CSI episode that involved a murder that crossed over into an online meta-world, Second Life.  I had never heard of Second Life before but was rather intrigued by the idea of an online virtual world, but never gave it much thought until recently.  Fast forward five years and I am reading about Second Life references in books, watching a music video produced in Second Life at an ISTE conference, critiquing a fellow student’s technology presentation done in Second Life, and seeing that a Walden professor holds office hours in Second Life.    After doing more exploration of Second Life, I discovered it started emerging into 2002 with beta users and was publicly available in 2003 ("Wired travel guide," 2006).  Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, do not publish statistics for the public, but after doing some investigating it seems that there are about 49,600 residents online with a total of 31,281,835 residents ( ).  Resident is the term for a Second Life user.  The drastic difference between the two numbers could be indicative of the number of people who have had an account but no longer actively use Second Life.

Joining and creating an account is free for a basic membership.  However, you do have to pay monthly for a premium account.  With the premium account you receive a stipend where you are able to purchase different things including genitalia.  When you join you choose an avatar that you are later able to customize along with a name ("Wired travel guide," 2006).  You basically have the ability to invent yourself.  The Destination Guide featured on Second Life shows a wide range of categories from adults only to education to a wide variety on special interest groups.  It seems that there is a destination guide for you regardless of how common or obscure your interest is.

Second Life is a perfect example of a disruptive technology.  Disruptive technologies have been defined as technology that is brand new and is not a product of an already existing evolving technology (Laureate, 2009).  People have used chat rooms to interact and communicate online for the same purposes that people use Second Life; however the chat rooms were limited by text only.  Through Second Life users have the ability to interact with each other in a more dynamic way and use voice and/or text to communicate with each other.  People who use Second Life invest a significant amount of time in the virtual world with an average of forty hours a month ("Wired travel guide," 2006).

The social benefits of using Second Life can vary depending on the person.  Based off a study conducted at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Dell talks about her own experience with the findings that self-perception affects behavior.  She discovered that when she first entered the virtual world of Second Life she chose a “plain-Jane” avatar and ran away with the slightest prompting of social interaction.  Later on, with more confidence she changed her avatar to be more attractive and began to exert herself more in Second Life.  Dell experienced how her exerted self-confidence in Second Life transferred over to her feeling more confident in the real world (Dell, 2008).  People have the opportunity to explore different sides of themselves and their personalities through Second Life.  This virtual world also brings people together in a completely different way to interact and even collaborate.  It has even been proposed that Second Life could be used as a form of Student Management System and called “Sloodle” – a combination of Second Life and Moodle.


Dell, K. (2008). How second life affects real life. Time, Retrieved from      

Laureate (Producer). (2009). In Emerging and future technology [Audio podcast].
Retrieved from

Wired travel guide: Second life. (2006, October). Wired,14(10), Retrieved from

Friday, October 5, 2012

Module 3: Rhymes of History: The Evolution of Stories

Whether one is a young child or an older adult, few people can resist a good story.  Stories have been around seemingly since the beginning of time. There is evidence of stories being shared as early as 15000 B.C. (Lockett, 2007).  In the Pyrenees Mountains, children found drawings in the Lascaux Caves. More than 2,000 figures that were painted in a narrative fashion of animals and other creatures.  Scientists who carbon dated the place believes that these narrative paintings were created around 1500 to 1300 B.C. (Lockett, 2007).  All over the world and throughout history, stories have been used to entertain and to explain.  Through the sharing of stories, people were able to “pass on wisdom, knowledge, and culture through the generations” (Lockett, 2007, p. 2). 

The concept of recording stories has been around as long as they have been shared.  Paintings on rocks, cuneiform found on tablets, hieroglyphics on papyrus (Lockett, 2007), written word on paper and now text on eReaders and other handheld devices (Barnard, 1999).  Since the first mechanically printed book first emerged around 1452 (Barnard, 1999), the technology of printing books has evolved drastically.  In 1999 Barnard accurately predicted that we will be reading books in handheld electronic book readers.  He described the quality of the screen as well as the ability to navigate through the stories, search, and use the device similar to a printed book (Barndard, 1999). 

The popularity of eReaders has begun to emerge into classrooms. Fourth grade teacher, Julie Kaplan, writes grants for Kindles through Donors Choose so individuals and companies can fund her project.  She has been quite successful and has received nine Kindle eReaders for her classroom with the desire for more.  Her students enjoy reading stories using the Kindle eReader.  She also helps assist her students in purchasing their own Kindles.  Kaplan is a huge fan of the Kindle and enjoys spending her leisure time reading books through this device.   

After a recent move, I downsized my book collection of over 200 plus books in exchange for an iPod Touch that has different apps for books.  I enjoy having the easy access to my books day or night.  Back in 2007, Brewster Kahle spoke about his desire to have a free digital library available to everyone that included every single book ever published.  Mobile devices are making it even easier for people to access books.  Easier access can lead to more reading.  Wouldn't it be nice if more people used their phone to read a book instead of catch up with Facebook or play Angry Birds?  


Friday, September 21, 2012

Module 2: The Invention of the Car

The invention of the car drastically change the lives of people. It has given people freedom and convenience as they are able to more freely travel from one place to another. The biggest downfall of the car is that the majority of cars are dependent upon a nonrenewable source. Inventors have been up to the challenge of creating alternatives.

Larry Burns, the Vice President of General Motors, gave a TED talk back in 2005 in regards to the future of cars and how they would run on hydrogen.  Seven years later this new technology does not seem to be emerging.  It is interesting to see where we will be going and what will be the next step.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Module 1: Emerging Technology: The "Flipped" Classroom

Emerging Technology: The Flipped Classroom

One of the buzz words in education today seems to be “flipped” classrooms.  This classroom model has students receiving instruction at home and doing the practical application in the classroom.  For the flipped model, instruction is usually received through an online podcast that is video or audio.  Educators who are incorporating this model are working on the assumption that every student has internet access of some sort to receive this instruction outside of the school day.  This model has received a lot more attention through the work of Salman Khan, the voice and person behind Khan Academy

This new technology and model for instruction is not without its challenges.  The most obvious hurdle is the technology infrastructure.  A doctoral fellow who has been studying the model points out, “You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to flip the classroom without establishing a foundation of the instruction and technology. . . you have to create the environment in which students can go online” (Sparks, 2011, p. 1).  Classrooms and school districts approach this issue in various ways.   Decisions makers in my current school districts have been having discussions and drafting plans on what they will do in regards to district-wide wifi and policies in regards to having studies bring their own device or to supply devices to students.  And then there are the talks about what does the management of all of this look like.  

The other hurdle that most people overlook is the quality of the podcasts that are being used and how they are being used.  Khan Academy has grown in its popularity due to the press it has received over the past couple of years and has received several grants, including five million dollars from the O’Sullivan Foundation (Watters, 2011).    What originally started out as Salman Khan creating podcasts to help his younger relatives in different subjects, emerged into a website that provides the public with free video podcasts of him giving mini lectures on a variety of topics.  Many of these topics have follow up activities for people to apply what they have learned.  Teachers have been tapped into Khan Academy and started incorporating his podcasts into their classroom during class and as a “flipped” classroom model.  I have been one of the many teachers who have used Khan Academy in the classroom.
Khan Academy is a great tool to use in the classroom as well as to use outside of the classroom.  Used whole group in the classroom or outside of the classroom, it can be a great tool to be used to introduce or review a topic.  However, like any tool, it can be over used and abused and it is not a substitute for good, quality instruction.  Khan Academy or any podcast for that matter does not replace quality teaching within a classroom with hands on application and practice.  Students need more than to simply watch a video listening to a lecture and then taking an online quiz to test their ability.  Podcasts can be used as compliments toquality teaching, but not be used as a substitute.  My fear is that too many people are becoming dependent on podcasts that other people have produced instead of focusing in on how to create their own or perfect their own practice. 



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Module 5: Implementing New Technology

During my last two years in the classroom, I was the Educational Technology Mentor at my school.  Mesa Public Schools used the Ed Tech Mentor program as a way to provide onsite support for teachers.  Through one of the district initiatives, technology packages were sent to Title I schools that included of wireless slates, clickers, document cameras, and projectors.  One of my roles was to assist teachers in implementing the new technology into the classrooms.  The wireless slate was a piece of equipment I was particularly excited about.  It gave me mobility during my instruction and use proximity as a classroom management tool.  Students also loved having the opportunity to use the wireless slate during instruction.  The only drawback is that there is a learning curve in implementing the wireless slate into the classroom.  Learning how to use the wireless slate takes a certain amount of hand-eye coordination and most importantly – practice.  I would always use the wireless slate while presenting at staff meetings, I would demonstrate using wireless slates in the classroom, and I would provide one-on-one assistance to teachers.  Despite my efforts, most of the wireless slates can be found in their original boxes, untouched, lying on shelves.  Teachers expressed an interest in using this technology, so why did they fail to be fully implemented into the school?

The answer is that the wireless slate failed to meet Keller’s four conditions for motivation: attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction (Driscoll, 2005).  While teachers’ attention was initially captured during presentations, their attention in using the wireless slate was not sustained. Teachers did not find enough relevance in the use of the wireless slate.  Their current practices of instruction worked for them.  They also lacked the confidence to be able to successfully implement the wireless slate and feared that if they tried to use it that it could hinder instruction.  The blocks that the teachers had became insurmountable hurdles that have kept the wireless slate from being used. 

Despite the initial failure of the wireless slates, I believe a different approach may lead to them becoming successfully implemented into the school.  Teachers are in need of a different model of professional development when it comes to integrating technology into the classroom.  In addition to have a site based educational technology mentor, teachers need to have access to further support. Generation YES (Youth and Educators Succeeding) have developed a professional development model that is easy to implement, affordable, is effective and raises students’ self-esteem and confidence.  The model that they have developed consists of a team of students playing the role of technology experts.  Today’s student has more confidence in using and experimenting with technology than the average teacher.  Allowing students to share their knowledge and experience, with teachers gives students an important role to play and builds’ their confidence and self esteem.  Teachers sometimes feel more comfortable receiving a student’s assistance in experimenting with technology than a fellow colleague.  They do not feel as embarrassed if they struggle and stumble during the initial learning curve.  Having a student work with a teacher in learning how to use a wireless slate will lead to the teacher having more confidence.  Through the experimentation process, teachers will be able to see the relevance of using the wireless slate.  Teachers’ attention will be sustained as they see students enjoy using and demonstrating how to use the wireless slate in the classroom.  Utilizing this model of student experts to assist with technology implementation, will result in both teachers and students being more successful and satisfied. 

SMHS GenYes Rocks! from Debbie Kovesdy on Vimeo.