7.1 Emerging Technologies and You

Although the 2017 Horizon Report focuses on higher education most of their findings are also relevant when discussing technology in both the secondary and elementary environment.  Though, I would argue that elementary and secondary classrooms are even a little ahead of post-secondary when discussing technology in the classroom.  Blended learning environments, which are becoming more and more popular in post-secondary, have been showing in up in both elementary and secondary classrooms a lot over the years.  Students are increasingly able to use technology to not only personalize their learning but also to meet their different learning styles and abilities.  I see this particularly in the numeracy and the literacy environment.  Online tools such as Raz-Kids, Mathletics, Dreambox Learning, and Reading Eggs are tools I see employed in many an elementary classroom that allows teachers to provide resources at each student’s required level and also give students choice in regards to preferred learning style.  At the secondary level, many a classroom teacher is using online tools such as Khan Academy, IXL, and Newsela to do the same thing.  I have also seen a couple of teachers who have created videos of all of their lessons and ask students to watch them prior to class so class time is spent having engaging discussion and critical practice.

As mentioned in the Horizon Report “the pervasiveness of mobile devices is changing the way people interact with content and their surroundings” and this is especially true in the secondary environment (2017, p. 40).  As a secondary teacher, I used the ubiquity of cell phones to my advantage.  On a daily basis, my students were using their mobile devices to access tools such as Quizlet, Remind, QR scanners, and Kahoot.  They were also used to do research, collaborate with their peers, give feedback, and respond to formative assessment.  As personal computers and mobile labs have become more prominent over the last couple of years, students are also expected to become more competent in the use of cloud-based tools.  Students as young as grade 3 are using Google Apps for Education on a regular basis and are also becoming familiar with learning management systems such as Google Classroom.

All of these tools have allowed teachers to take education to further heights.  We are no longer confined to the four walls of our classroom nor the 8-3 timeframe of a school day.  Students are able to easily communicate with their peers and their teachers through a variety of online tools and can easily access information that used to be out of each.  The issue for us as educators is figuring out how to best harness all the technology related tools to create meaningful and pedagogically sound learning experiences for our students.  As mentioned in the Horizon report ” training must go beyond gaining isolated technology skills toward generating a deep understanding of digital environments, enabling intuitive adaptation to new contexts and co-creation of content with others” (2017, p. 2).

The New Media Consortium. (2017). NMC Horizon Report 2017: The Higher Ed Edition. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2017-higher-education-edition/


3 thoughts on “7.1 Emerging Technologies and You

  1. Hello Abbi,
    We are using most of the technological tools mentioned in your post. However there are some that I have never heard of before.Thanks for sharing I will share them further with the other teachers.
    I agree with your thought that the tools should be used “to create meaningful and pedagogically sound learning experiences for our students.” It is a technological world but let us be aware that the end result has to be learning in the students.
    Looking forward to your next post

  2. Hi Abbi,

    I would agree with your observations that in many ways elementary and secondary classrooms could be a little ahead of post-secondary institutions in many ways. I have seen many fantastic examples of blended learning in these classrooms mixing e-learning with practical work. One of my issues as you so correctly identified is “figuring out how to best harness all the technology related tools”. Less we forget that we as teachers have always been investigating and developing good practice in the classroom (even before our beloved technology) and yet somehow, we as a profession do not always deliver. To this end I have also seen teachers essentially with their feet up in a classroom while students plough through on-line math and literacy rote testing and learning. This is because training teachers in digital literacy needs to be an ongoing endeavour as being technologically savvy is not the same thing as being a good technological teacher, (In the same way that knowledge of a subject doesn’t make someone good at teaching it).

    Thanks for the share


  3. Hi Abbi,
    I enjoyed reading your post. It is amazing how the speed of technology is accelerating learning for those who are younger. I reflect to my own learning when I was in grade three and how learning was slower, and I spent most of my time playing with other students. I wonder if technology will begin making kids grow up at a younger rate.

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