Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University

The Defining Characteristics of Emerging Technologies and Emerging Practices


Posted on June 13th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

What follows is a summary of one of the chapters included in Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications. 

The terms “emerging technologies” and “emerging practices ”are catch-all phrases that are often misused and haphazardly defined. This chapter defines those two terms. It argues that what makes technologies and practices emerging are not specific technologies (e.g., virtual reality) or practices (e.g., openness), but the environments in which particular technologies or practices operate. It is argued that emerging technologies and emerging practices share four characteristics:

  • not defined by newness;
  • coming into being;
  • not-yet fully understood or researched (i.e. not-yetness); and
  • unfulfilled but promising potential.

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Defining Characteristics of Emerging Technologies and Emerging Practices. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications (pp. 3-16). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.





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  1. Pingback: Complexity, Mess, and Not-yetness: Teaching Online with Emerging Technologies | George Veletsianos

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