Emerging Technologies

What's Next? 
Keeping up With Trends and Emerging Technology

step 1  As educators, we are often on the frontline of seeing the new gadgetry that our students are bringing to school.  Because new and emerging technology will impact your classroom, it's a good idea to have your eye on the future. This will help you as an educator anticipate changes to your curriculum and to ensure your learners are ready for their technology-infused world.

The method educators use to acquire information about technology, trends, legislation, and relationships outside of one's organization is referred to as environmental scanning. Having this knowledge will help you and those working within your organization to plan future courses of action. This module will help you learn about some of the technologies on the immediate horizon and will assist you in making informed decisions as technology grows and expands in our schools.

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First Steps

Your first step is to read the Horizon Report. Each year, the National Media Consortium publishes the NMC Horizon Report. This collaboration with CoSN and ISTE identifies the technology trends and challenges to watch. In 2010, 21things4teachers was listed under the web conferencing technologies. The current top trends include Bring your Own Device (BYOD) and Makerspaces. They identified 3D Printing/Rapid Prototyping and Adaptive Learning Technologies as being adopted in the next two to three years. Check out their report to prepare yourself to think about the impact that these trends can have on your classroom.

There are also a number of online materials that will keep you informed and up-to-date.  Please visit and bookmark each of these Staying Informed websites and blogs, as you will revisit them later in this module, and use them for your hands-on assignment.  As you initially visit and read the most recent stories, make a mental note about something that interests you.

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Next Steps

Next, we’d like you to look at some trends and research in both technology and education. Throughout this section, take some notes as you will be writing a reflection about this later.

Let’s start by visiting Speak Up, a national online research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow, which gives individuals the opportunity to share their viewpoints about key educational issues and produces a final report each year. Start this section by reading the latest survey findings: Digital Learning 24/7: Understanding Technology — Enhances Learning in the Lives of Today’s Students

Next, we’d like you to visit the Pew Internet and American Life Project. There you will find ongoing research into how technology is changing the way we live. In particular, look at what they are saying about Internet and Technology

Finally, we’d like you to look at the IES What Works Clearinghouse where their goal is to provide educators with the information they needed to make evidence-based decisions. Select the Find What Works section, and find a topic that is of interest to you and read a report about that subject.

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Future Trends

For the past decade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) has been part of the curriculum. Critics suggest that art should be added as it is essential and central to the learning process. STEAM is about about applying creative thinking and design skills to STEM. The Maker Movement which encourages making and creating in the classroom is becoming increasingly popular and incorporates all 5 essential skills. 

The following are examples of technology both emerging and current that you might use or begin to use in your teaching practice. For each object, listen to the audio (play icon) and then check out the information link (i icon) for more in-depth overviews and use-cases.

As you listen and watch, make some notes about ideas you may have for using tools like these in your classroom.  What sort of things do you think your students could do with them?

Note: (watch this series of videos created by an elementary student who now has her own show on making)


Coding is a skill that goes hand in hand with the maker movement. It is also a skill that taught at a basic level, improves problem-solving and thinking skills. Looking at future demand in the workforce shows that having digital skills will improve chances of being employed in the future.

Code.org is an organization as well as a website for teachers and students. Its goal is to increase diversity in computer science, inspire students, create fantastic courses, prep new computer science teachers and change school curriculum.Through Code.org, the Hour of Code is available to teachers, students and parents. The Hour of Code are fun engaging activities that teach basic coding skills. There are how-to tutorials and videos.

Check for additional resources for Emerging Technologies

Learning Objectives

After completing this Thing, the educator will:

  • Know how to find online information to monitor educational trends
  • Understand that there are numerous resources to stay up-to-date
  • Make connections with technology standards and best practice
  • Transfer the learning to professional practice by evaluating and reflecting on the emerging trends 

21 Things Hands-On Activity and Assignment:

1. After visiting the sites in the First Steps section, pick out a story or blog post that piques your interest. Post a brief synopsis in your Digital Portfolio. Summarize what you found, identify a best practice strategy and level of the SAMR model it could address in a lesson you would teach. Make sure to include a direct link to the original story or post.

2. After looking at the overviews of emerging technology in the Future Trends section, summarize in your Digital Portfolio how they might impact your students as they both create and interact with their world (physical and virtual). Describe at least one idea you could implement in your teaching practice from one of these trends. Do you know of any other technology that isn't listed above that you think we'll see in your classroom in the next 5 years ? Share it in your Digital Portfolio post.

3. Go to the Hour of Code and choose an activity. Go through the tutorials and learn basic coding skills. Have fun with this activity. Take a screenshot of your final project. 

4. Take the very short survey giving feedback for this Thing.


Addressing the ISTE Standards•T:

  1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity a;
  2. Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments a;
  3. Model Digital Age Work and Learning d;
 5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership b,c


  1. Cues, Questions, and Advance organizers;
  2. Homework and Practice