Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coping with Emerging Technologies

The best way teachers can cope with emerging technologies and keep up-to-date is by becoming familiar with them and by being reflective about the different uses they can give to them in and outside the classroom. Also, by talking to students and sharing experiences and ideas about the uses they give to mobile technology to see which educational implications they may have.

In the same vein, Prensky (2005) invites us to reflect on our present students as the ones who will be designing technology in the future. He wonders on the purpose of hindering them from using technology in order to learn new things in the classroom. I consider that this is a reflection all of us educators should have sooner than later.

For example, modern mobile phones are pocket computers that allow users to perform diverse tasks that can be used for educational purposes. For instance, students can have access to internet, videos, images and download dictionaries; all of them useful for language learning. About this, Shuler (2009) states that “Mobile devices allow students to transcend the barriers imposed by a classroom’s four walls”.

Additionally, Shuler states that mobile phones are an easy way to reach almost every child even the most “socio-economic disadvantaged” ones. This is because mobile technology is available “anywhere, anytime”. Most of homes in the world have access to mobile technology nowadays. Hence, teachers should make a better use of these devices for educational purposes.

Other emergent technologies such as digital cameras, Wikipedia, Blogging and instant messaging could be useful tools in the classroom if teachers designed lessons requiring their use. For example, teachers could implement a webquest -in the classroom - to find relevant information on a topic, or they could have students prepare a digital presentation with photos and animations, etc. Students are more familiar with these technologies than teachers, so why not getting to agreements with them about possible uses in the classroom?
In sum, emergent technologies “are here to stay”; they are the future in every field, including education. Keeping students away from them in the classroom creates an unrealistic context for them. The challenge for educators is to integrate more and more technologies so as to cope with the changing world.


BECTA (2007) Emerging technologies. Retrieved from

Prensky, Marc (2005) Mobile Phone imagination. Retrieved from

Prensky, Marc (2004) What can you learn from a cell phone? Retrieved from

Shuler, C. (2009). Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to
Promote Children’s Learning, New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Retrieved from

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