balancing actThe Balancing Act: Juggling the Demands of Emerging Technology

It’s the best of times and the worst of times be an educator. Each emerging technology comes with new opportunities to address individual needs, alternative ways to motivate students, and innovative approaches to learning in an expanding world. At the same time these new tools and resources can have financial and program implications, trigger social and ethical concerns, and present professional development challenges. How are you dealing with the endless waves of technology pouring into your school?

No longer does one technology or a single solution fit everyone’s needs. This session explores strategies to balance the enthusiasm associated with new technology with the real-world programmatic and curricular implications. Blogs, wikis, podcasts, videocasts, and open source software are just a few of the emerging technologies prompting discussions about social networking, censorship, misinformation, plagiarism, and the role of technology in our schools. Are you riding the waves to exciting new places or drifting out to sea? This session will help you set a course for successful infusion of emerging technologies.


Twenty Trends: The Balancing Act

LizzieTrend 1: Mix and Match
- Balance Tools and Spaces

  • Reading WITH Content
  • Writing WITH Content
  • Technology Tools and Learning Spaces

Example: Use books, audiobooks, maps and technology together such as Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.
Example: The Geo-Literacy Project, CSI Cemetery Website

Most in the WorldTrend 2: Open Source Software
- Balance Quality with Cost

Examples: TuxPaint, GIMP, Get Paint, CMAP

Example: Read Things that are Most in the World by Judi Barrett. Use Tuxpaint to create your own page.

Trend 3: Freeware Enhancements
- Balance Loyalty with Cost

Example: Photostory 3 for Windows is only available on Windows.

viewsTrend 4: Starters
- Balance Structure with Creativity

  • Pathfinders
  • WebQuests
  • Templates
  • PowerPoint Sidekicks
  • Photo Starters

Example: Photo Starters that provide starters on two viewpoints (see right)
Example: PowerPoint Sidekicks; PowerPoint Sidekicks Workshop; Money Example

Trend 5: The Social Web
- Balance Academic Rigor with Engagement

  • The CreationSocial Intelligence
  • Social Technology
  • Identify standards-based, engaging objects for discussion

Example: Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Example: Footnote; Ning

Example: YouTube, TeacherTube, SchoolTube

Example: The Smithsonian Encyclopedia of Life is a collaborative project by the US National Museum of Natural History to document the earth's diversity by scientists and citizens of Earth described by E.O. Wilson in The Creation. A related project is Consortium for the Barcode of Life. Check out the Barcode Blog.

Trend 6: Visual Literacy
- Balance Testing with Individual Needs

Trend 7: Email Communication
- Balance Skills with Ethics

  • Content Areas Standards
  • Ethics Across the Curriculum

Trend 8: High Tech Gadgets
- Balance Cool with Practical

  • Do I really need this?
  • How does it compliment what I already have?

Example: 3D Visor

Example: Celestron SkyScout

Trend 9: Blogs for Everything
- Balance Novelty with Purpose

  • What are really effective applications of blogs?

Example: Event Blogs - turtle nesting, conferences

Example: A Really Different Place

Example: Blooks - using a blog to post a book for comments - Web 2.0 Booklet

Example: Radio WillowWeb

Example: Plants that Bite Back

Example: Blogs and Blogging

Trend 10: RSS
- Balance Info Need with Info Overload

  • RSS Feeds for news, blogs, podcasts, videocasts

Example: Bloglines Eduscapes

Example: Google Reader

Example: Letter of the Week Podcast

Trend 11: Wikis
- Balance Authority with Collaborative Ownership

Example: Nile Kinnick

Example: CSI Wikispaces

Example: Wikispaces - Digital Photography

Example: Wiki World

mud soupTrend 12: Participatory Projects
- Balance Primary Sources with Quality Info

  • Oral Histories
  • Family Histories
  • Local Histories
  • Plant and Animal Studies
  • Human Genome Project

Example: Students reading Mud Soup by Judith Head might share their recipes online at

Example: Oral history websites are an excellent example of the use of participatory technology. Users are ased to read stories and add their own experiences. For example the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Project asks visitors to add a survivor and tell a story. Other projects such as the StoryCorps, Kids-Learn, and TechnoSpud.

Trend 13: Collaborative Writing
- Balance Individual and Group Authoring

Trend 14: Crowd Sourcing
- Balance Quality and Junk

Trend 15: Simulations & Gaming
- Balance Motivation with Time & Cost

  • Immerse Learners
  • Rules, Roles, and Responsibilities
  • Content Knowledge Consequences
  • Intrinsic Motivation

Example: Knowledge Matters

Trend 16: Personalize, Customize, Folksonomy
- Balance Standards with Evolution

Example: LibraryThing

Example: Pandora

Trend 17: Desktop vs Network vs Web-based Applications
- Balance Setting with Security

Example: Reunion, Heredis, Roots Magic, Family Atlas (Gedcom file)

Trend 18: Multimedia
- Balance Access with Bandwidth

  • Accessing, Creating, Sharing

Example: Can I Have a Word?

Example: Podcasting: Young Hoosiers

Example: Radio WillowWeb

Trend 19: Interactive Whiteboards Apps
- Balance Cost with Use

Example: National Gallery of Art

Example: Grapher

Example: Read about Chinese letters Beyond the Great Mountains and use the Calligraphy tools to learn Japanese. Compare it with Korean.

Trend 20: Virtual Social Worlds
- Balance Real with Virtual Life

  • Second Life - 911
  • Second Life - International Space Station & Planetarium
  • Second Life - Library

Example: Whyville

Example: Second Life

Example: Metaplace; Learn more about it at YouTube

The Challenges

Challenge 1: Storage

  • Student Test Data
  • Student Portfolio Space
  • Student Workspace
  • Student Collaborative Space
  • Instructional Materials Space (i.e., templates, visuals, United Streaming)
  • Teacher Spaces
  • Communication Space
  • Issues
    • Security
    • Levels of Access

Challenge 2: Dynamic Web

  • Reloading issues with proxy
  • Filtering issues
  • Spamming issues

Challenge 3: Bandwidth

  • Virtual Worlds
  • Streaming audio and video

Challenge 4: Software Updates

  • Auto-updates
  • Network-wide considerations
  • Specialty software

Challenge 5: Authority

  • Who says? Who's the author?

Challenge 6: Evidence

  • Demonstrate effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal

Challenge 7: Anywhere, Anytime Access

  • Digital divide
  • Update rules to address social networks
  • Students need varied communication tools

Putting It All Together

With technology and with other resources, balance the "classics" and the new or unique.


More Ideas?

Look for Award Winner

Explore the resources at the following online courses:

| Eduscapes | Home |
Developed by Annette Lamb, 2/07. Updated 9/07.