The introduction of innovative technologies in education is not a new concept in the 21st century. The most common innovative technologies applied in the discipline include blogs, wikis and podcasts. Each innovative technology is considered integral in improving functions in learning institutions, and among teachers and students. Blogs are websites with updated information regarding any discipline of interest. However, blogs or weblogs include dated entries of information that is arranged in a reverse chronological manner. The information in blogs is knowledge-based or part of personal or online diaries (Churchill, 2009).
Importantly, the information is shared and made available to the public. Wikis are part of a computer-based technology that consists of web pages that are regularly updated through iterative and collaborative means (Wheeler & Wheeler, 2009). Wikis are facilitated by the internet, World Wide Web, HTTP and HTML protocols (Wheeler & Wheeler, 2009). From a technological perspective, web pages are created and shared to the general public. Finally, podcasts involve the technology of creating educational recordings, either in audio or audio-visual forms (Copley, 2007). The recordings are later retrieved through computers, mobiles phones and memory disks.
The above technologies are effective and efficient when applied in a learning environment. Precisely, the innovation technologies are cost-effective and allow both teachers and students utilize space and time. For example, no classroom is required for internet or computer-based lessons.
Blogs encourage active learning and are suitable for peer review exercises and research writing (Churchill, 2009). Wikis encourage collaborative learning and effective for group assignments and brainstorming activities. On the other hand, podcasts are applicable for auditory and visual learners. In addition, podcasts are used in case-based instructions, recorded class lectures and supplement course materials.
According to Reich, Murnane & Willett (2012), challenges posed by emerging technologies in regard to diversity and equity include globalization, poverty and learning disabilities. In addition, lack of funds, legal considerations, teaching incompetency, cultural, racial, sex and age diversity issues affect the use of emerging technologies in educational settings. Although modern technology has made globalization possible, there are challenges associated with the same.
The transfer and sharing of knowledge across learning institutions is a challenge in education. In this context, it is difficult to integrate, and harness knowledge acquired through web-based technologies especially from the internet, blogs and wikis. According to Schweisfurth (2011), developing countries and societies find it difficult to implement innovate technologies in education compared to the developed counterparts. From this perspective, the level and quality for education are not equal among the learners (Schweisfurth, 2011). Instructors’ incompetency especially in applying emerging technology in education is a common challenge around the world.
There are cases of learning disability where teachers and learners cannot use some of the technologies. Many of the emerging technologies do not consider students who are blind, deaf and possess learning disabilities. Institutions of higher learning are comprised of diverse students’ population. In this context, different cultures, age groups, race and gender are a challenge to the use of technology in schools.
Special training especially for teachers is critical in addressing how technology will be applied in the curriculum (Berkeley & Lindstrom, 2011). Consultation from education policy-makers and technology experts is required for curriculum-technology integration.
The second strategy is to include special features in the emerging technologies to address issues of proficiency and learning disabilities among the instructors and students. In order to ease the process of e-learning, the features of the new technologies must be use-friendly (Berkeley & Lindstrom, 2011). Reforms in education policy are essential in ensuring adequate funding for schools that require learning technologies.
Berkeley, S. & Lindstrom, J. H. (2011). Technology for the struggling reader: Free and easily accessible resources. Teaching Exceptional Children, 43(4), 48-55.
Churchill, D. (2009). Educational applications of Web 2.0: Using blogs to support teaching and learning. British journal of educational technology, 40(1), 179-183.
Copley, J. (2007). Audio and video podcasts of lectures for campus‐based students: production and evaluation of student use. Innovations in Education and Teaching international, 44(4), 387-399.
Reich, J., Murnane, R. & Willett, J. (2012). The state of wiki usage in US k–12 schools leveraging web 2.0 data warehouses to assess quality and equity in online learning environments. Educational Researcher, 41(1), 7-15.
Schweisfurth, M. (2011). Learner-centred education in developing country contexts: From solution to problem?. International Journal of Educational Development, 31(5), 425-432.
Wheeler, S., & Wheeler, D. (2009). Using wikis to promote quality learning in teacher training. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(1), 1-10.