robot looking at mathematical expressions on blackboard

Emerging Tools

First a reaction to the readings from this assignment.  I was fascinated and pleased to be introduced to the article by Umang Gupta and his business assessment as to why technology has not translated well into the educational environment.  In this article, he assessed that the US spent approximately 1.3 Trillion in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education each year and that only 1% was spent on educational technology.   I’m assuming that addresses direct costs, not indirect costs such as the parent purchasing the tablet that is ultimately used by the student. Gupta approaches that by suggesting that the total addressable market is close to 14B in the K-12 segment alone, which by his initial numbers suggest that we spend only 0.1%.  These numbers seem too large to be useful and perhaps not as accurate as one might expect.  While I greatly appreciated his perspective, I think his analysis is too broad to draw any conclusions, despite his positive spin on the continued possibilities of the edtech market and I agree with his assessment that investors are going to need to be focused on the longer time horizon to observe a real Return on Investment (ROI). 


I found the abstract as shared by Lee et al (2010) to be more insightful with the enjoinder to focus on these three things as we attempt to capitalize on Web 2.0: 

(1) the use of social networking tools to build social presence; 

(2) the reconceptualization of the design approaches used to create and implement e-learning activities in distance education contexts; and 

(3) the consideration of pedagogical strategies used to support distance learners.


While the article on “Confronting the challenges of participatory culture” was intriguing, I found the most information on emerging tech from the two book chapters by Pacansky-Brock.  I always have a great appreciation for hearing other teachers share their journey as they introduced their own learning experiences with emerging technology as they introduced it into the classroom.


There are many pros and cons of introducing emerging technology.  This article by shared that, by definition, “emerging technologies are new, innovative, and still in development, but expected to have a large socioeconomic impact.”  While the article focuses on emerging communication technologies, the assessments can be easily extrapolated to other facets such as education, of which communication is clearly one aspect.


While one could make the case for using different emerging technologies at different steps of a student’s journey, I would suggest that the process is the same regardless of the age – after all, many adults have had to learn about digital privacy concerns the hard way after their accounts were hacked.  Based on our readings and others, my initial thoughts are as follows:



  • Introducing technology to students at an early age
  • Enhance teachers’ skills and knowledge
  • Developing Media Literacy Skills for both student and teacher
  • Enhance the possibilities for student-based learning
  • Enhance student autonomy
  • Model real-world media interactions.  Technology is certainly not going away anytime soon and it enhances skills to understand how to deal with the myriad of interfaces and tools
  • Enhance creativity through new outlets
  • Identify the market gaps and create possible new markets
  • Best when linked to pedagogical frameworks – to link theory and practice – not just games for the sake of games
  • Addressing ethical and digital privacy concerns
  • Can be expensive to procure, implement and/or maintain
  • Emerging technology, by definition, can be initially clunky and difficult to learn.  One needs to take the time to learn how to use the tool – e.g., a friend bought new navigation electronics for his sailboat but didn’t update the maps and ran aground during a recent trip – fortunately without damage. 
  • May be met with resistance by students
  • Leaving behind those who are not using the technology – e.g., telehealth visits have begun to assume that all patients (or students) have access to technology when COVID-19 has shown that access is not equal for all. 


I reviewed three emerging tools on my blog – Quick Rubric, Kahoot, and Adobe Spark – and those three posts explore the individual pros and cons of the tools.  I look at these as fulfilling different needs – Quick Rubric is predominately used by the teacher while Kahoot and Spark can be used by both the teacher and students. I’m not sure that they by themselves will have a large socioeconomic impact as shared in the initial definition.  However, these are really just offerings in a much larger edtech sandbox that will continue to be refined as new applications are developed and implemented.  


It was interesting that there seemed to be a dearth of materials when I went to search for a review of emerging technologies in the peer-reviewed literature.  That suggests that perhaps it is too soon to measure the effect of such technologies, although this article in EdTech Magazine suggested a number of ways to measure the ROI for K-12 applications.  And this article, although a bit dated from 2012, suggested a number of ways in which edtech could be managed effectively.   


Edtech cannot be used in isolation – it must be employed in order to determine its effectiveness.  And nothing else has challenged both teachers and students more than dealing with COVID-19 – which has forced us to embrace technologies that, perhaps, were not as well developed or well understood as they could have been.  This article, focusing on schools in the UK and Ireland, identified many of the changes, shifts, and challenges that were identified, and perhaps emphasized, as a result of this past year’s experience in education. 


But beyond the logistical challenges of procuring, implementing, and training both students and teachers on these newer technologies, there are those who are finding that technology could inform a new pedagogical framework (Kim et al, 2007).  The roles of teacher and student evolve along with the evolution of technology, showing how students become more active learners and more accountable for their own outcomes (Kuddus, 2018).  Koehler et al (2016) share thoughts on how to implement Web 2.0 tools in case-based instruction, focusing on enhancing student-based learning.  Lastly, for purposes of this discussion, teachers are reaping their own benefits in building their own Personal Learning Networks through collaborations with others using the same tools (Pop, 2017). 


As a risk manager and as an educator, I believe the pros outweigh the cons and as a whole, the cons can all be effectively managed through appropriate controls and training. The technology is strictly that – technology.  It serves as a tool to enhance the learning experience and if it cannot be shown to improve the experience, then it has served its useful life span.  Ultimately, isn’t the purpose of education to learn – to be curious and to be willing to embrace all that comes with being curious – such as “why this” and “why now”?  Most importantly, we as educators must lead in the exploration because if not us, then who will be there for our students.  We owe it to future generations to contribute to the overall experiment of learning. 



Adam Stone Twitter Adam Stone writes on technology trends from Annapolis, M. (2020, September 15). How K–12 Schools Can Measure Ed Tech ROI. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from

Ascd. (n.d.). Stretching Your Technology Dollar. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from

Kim, M. C., Hannafin, M. J., & Bryan, L. A. (2007). Technology-Enhanced Inquiry Tools in Science Education: An Emerging Pedagogical Framework for Classroom Practice. Science Education, 91(6), 1010–1030.

Koehler, A. A. (2016). Using Web 2.0 Tools to Facilitate Case-Based Instruction: Considering the Possibilities. Educational Technology, 56(1), 3-13. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from

Kuddus, K. (2018). Emerging Technologies and the Evolving Roles of Language Teachers: An Overview. Language In India, 6, 81.

Lee, M. J., & McLoughlin, C. (2010). Beyond distance and time constraints: applying social networking tools and Web 2.0 approaches in distance education. (reviewed only abstract)

Milin-Ashmore, J. (2020, March 18). The Pros and Cons of Emerging Communication Technologies. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from

POP, A. (2017). From Simply Teaching to Teaching with Emerging Technologies. Studia Universitatis Petru Maior – Philologia, 23, 129–135.

The State of Technology in Education Report 2020/21 – Promethean. (2020, October 02). Retrieved November 27, 2020, from

6 thoughts on “Emerging Tools

  1. In my unit, all of my students can participate (K-12th grade) and they all have different targets / standards they will meet through the course. I am so glad you choose to cover Quick Rubrics because I feel like that tool will help give me a starting point in creating rubrics for each student’s assignment. I know all three emerging tools you reviewed were different, but if you had to choose one that you liked best (whether that be for it’s ease of use, simplicity, effectiveness, etc.), which one would that be?

    I also liked your list of pros and cons and your conclusion of, “As a risk manager and as an educator, I believe the pros outweigh the cons and as a whole, the cons can all be effectively managed through appropriate controls and training.”

    1. Morgan, I enjoyed them all, although as an instructor – I’m most likely to leverage quick rubric. Yours sounds like quite a challenge to develop so many rubrics for so many levels! It will be interesting to hear how that works out!

  2. Hi Catherine,

    Welcome back. Glad to hear of the progress on all fronts. Great news!

    Thanks for checking out Quick Rubric. One of the reasons I love Canvas is the built-in rubric tool. It makes grading so nice and very fast. I love it. If I were using Bb, I might look for a tool like Quick Rubric – it seems it fill the gap where a legacy LMS, or perhaps Google Classroom, may not have those features and you need a third-party solution. Cool. Very instructor oriented, however. Would you have a student ever create a rubric? Interesting idea? Certainly an education student. 🙂

    Nice review of Kahoot! Sounds like the design has shifted toward a more aggressively implemented pay model. That’s probably important from the producer side of things but is a bit annoying for us users. Interesting comment about Slack and that your students sometimes complain about having to go outside of Blackboard. I have seen some faculty use Kahoot! as a review tool to play quizzing games with their students. I have also seen it used to ask students to create their own quizzes as an assignment to demonstrate understandings of key vocabulary or concepts. Your mileage may vary. 🙂

    Nice review, also, of Adobe Spark. Lots of power with this tool – and some students may appreciate the different creative options over Powerpoint? Sometimes, it is fun to just give students options. Some will go with PowerPoint, others will choose a new tool – just for the fun of it. That alone can add an engagement layer that has benefit for student learning. The basic dynamics of students creating presentations to demonstrate their understandings aren’t particularly different, but providing some student agency can help.

    Nice work!

  3. Hi Catherine,

    I wanted to respond to your surprise that there seemed to be very few critical reviews or studies of these emerging tools. I think this is because the cycle of traditional academic publication is just too slow. Sometimes these tools change names, ownership, go bankrupt or fold, change their business model or core featureset, all in a couple of years. Most of the writers keeping track of this are doing it more for the purpose of keeping track and always knowing about the newest greatest thing. This can be sisyphean these days, as we saw in the spring when well-meaning educators compiled an exhaustive list of edtech tools intended to help teachers shift to online instruction during the COVID emergency. The end result was more than useless, because it was too massive and without any context.

    I think we learn best from those who have some authority, whose contexts are similar to our own. These are people to include in your PLE, then you can safely ignore the noise of the latest greatest edtech. 🙂

  4. One of the things I see with a lot of technology is that it is either providing stuff for the teachers to do the same routine with technology or has students doing the same activities in a new way. For example, create a poster….with technology. To really change education with technology we might have to change our overall expectations on what education looks like. It may no longer be recreate a scene from the story….what it will translate to, I’m not fully certain yet.

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