Author: Komlan E. Ezunkpe

Thornburg (2013a) uses the term “Red Queens and Increasing Returns” to explain competition and attraction in the context of future and emerging technologies. He uses the term Red Queens to describe the elements which are in play when two products are in close competition, and each continues to find a way to create something new to beat the other. The fluctuation of the market and technology are some forces in play in the event of Red Queens. For example, Kurt Eichenwald (2014) in an article details a legal war Apple and Samsung had held costing more than a billion dollars. This legal war began with the project that created the iPhone and the late Steve Jobs’s fury when Samsung, an Apple supplier, revealed a similar device.

Further, Thornburg (2014) uses the term “Increasing Returns” to explain what causes one product to become attractive than the other to the point that one pushes the other out of the market. The example of Video-on-Demand and DVDs illustrates “Increasing Returns;” it explains the growth of the market of Video-on-Demand over DVDs. Video-on-Demand is becoming so popular, and DVDs are becoming obsolete, and people prefer Video-on-Demand rather than DVDs. With this shift, one could think that in the coming years, Video-on-Demand will become people’s first choice over DVDs and will make DVDs obsolete.

Internet services is a product associated with Video-on-Demand. But the problem of reliability, stability and accessibility and cost of the Internet will make DVDs continue to be used. If a competition remains between these two products, DVDs and Video-on-demand, they will stay in the category of Red Queens for a long time. They will continue to be close competitors for many years.  Overall, McLuhan reminds us that what is new today will be obsolesced tomorrow. The reinvention of products will not stop. According to McLuhan’s Laws of Media including a Tetrad (enhances, obsolesces, retrieves and reverses), VHS became obsolete and replaced by DVDs. The same DVDs and Video-on-Demand will become obsolesce one day, but when they are pushed to their extremes, they will rekindle something of the pass under a new form.


Kurt Eichenwald (2014). Retrieved February 6, 2016 from http://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2014/06/apple-samsung-smartphone-patent-war

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014e). David Thornburg: Increasing returns [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014g). David Thornburg: Red queens [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Thornburg, D. (2013a). Emerging technologies and McLuhan’s laws of media. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

Thornburg, D. (2013d). Red queens, butterflies, and strange attractors: Imperfect lenses into emergent technologies. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.



Author: Komlan E. Ezunkpe

SixthSense: A disruptive technology and gesture-based computing system

Disruptive technologies serve as creative forces for emerging technologies (Thornburg, 2014a); SixthSense technology is one of these technologies. In a conference, The Thrilling Potential of SixthSense Technology (TED India, 2009), Pranav Mistry has demoed a model of SixthSense system that uses Gesture-based computer interface. The system consists of a camera, mirror or projector, and special fingertips colored thimbles. In the demo, Mistry places these special colored thimbles at his fingertips to interact at a distance with interfaces. Mistry was able to rotate, stretch out, reduce, bring to the forefront, push aside and back digital objects on the interface. In the demo, physical objects and digital environments were blurred.

SixthSence uses any surface as interface (Example of walls used as interface and e-papers)

In another sequence of the demo, Mistry showed that we can carry digital worlds with us wherever we go. He took a photo just by the gesture of taking a photo. And later, he used some surfaces he found around him, including walls, as interfaces and started browsing and modifying his photos taken earlier and sent them as an email (TED India, 2009). The system finds information about people and objects such as books. In the demo, Mistry called a friend using the palm as his hand as an interface. Electronic paper technology was also part of SixthSense. The device, SixthSense, can recognize the cover of a book, and finds out reviews about it that you can hear on the physical book. Mistry demonstrates this by a live video on a newspaper he had in hands, a live weather information that appeared on a map in his hands, and a live flight information on a paper flight ticket. So, we are looking for a computing era where the digital world is ubiquitous, where we will use any surfaces to acquire information and this can be done anywhere we find ourselves.

SixthSense will obsolesce surface and smartphone technologies

With the development of SixthSence technology, we won’t need computers to input and process information. We won’t have output devices or physical interfaces to display information. This will be the end of surface computing technologies and smartphones and holographic technology will be the disruptive technology which will take over. Although SixthSense has been around for six years, it is not ubiquitous. I would like to see SixthSense become ubiquitous in a few years, and I would like it to be used in the area of autistic students’ education.

Social/educational implications

Autistic students lack social and communication skills. They avoid eye contact. The use of traditional computers including a mouse, keyboard, and vertical monitor may not be ideal for them because the manipulation of these objects on traditional computers is not direct (Brave, 1998). SixthSense technology pulls together physical and digital items into a single domain where the forms are blurred (Ulmer, 2000). And these new arrangements of digital and physical objects based on gestures, touching, and grasping may bring some advantages to autistic students.


Brave, B. B. (1998). Tangible Interfaces for Remote Communication and Collaboration. (Master Thesis). Retrieved December 30, 2015, from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). David Thornburg: Disruptive technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

TED India. (Producer). (2009). The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology [Video file]. Retrieved June 7, 2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potential_of_sixthsense_technology.html

Ulmer, B. & Ishii, H. (2000). Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interface. IBM Systems Journal, 39, No.3 & 4, 995-931

McLuhan’s Law Applied to OG/Zero Generation and 3-4G/Third & Fourth Generation Mobile Phones




Instant communication

Ubiquitous mobile Network Access


Telegraphy: “write at a distance”



Verbal communication/expression of “affection”

Paying attention

Access information in real-time


Device will be naturally in sync with our biological and emotional impulses

The early mobile phones are often referred to as 0G mobile phones, or Zero Generation mobile phones. This technology evolved into 1G or First Generation and 3G and 4G mobile technology telephones. The very first mobile phones were two-way radios that allowed people such as soldiers and taxi drivers to communicate. Instead of relying on base stations with separate cells, the first mobile phone networks involved one very powerful base station covering a much wider area (Leggett, 2015).


Communication at distance. Telegraphy, instant written communication represented by dots and codes became instant verbal and voice communication when the mobile phone was invented. The size and weight of mobile devices communication compares to the early radios and telegraphs devices were considerably reduced. The advent of mobile phones increases ubiquitous and mobile network access. The mobile network access was based on Radio Access Networks allowing the user to use the Radio Access Technology beyond their cells or networks. It allows usage of the position of Mobile Terminals (MTs). It also predicts and picks locations within heterogeneous network infrastructures. It set the platform for combining wireless communications and navigation for future mobile communication systems, Preethi (2011).


The wireless radio transmissions obsolesced the telegraph; a communication technology that uses a device and electricity and magnets to instantly “write at a distance” without a physical object transporting the message. The introduction of radio in the early 1900s combine both technologies, radio and telegraphy, to create radiotelegraphy and other forms of wireless and mobile communication systems. The development of this technology, the radiotelegraphy, in the era of the Internet creates natural interfaces such as electronic mail and SMS text messaging. In sum, this technology obsolesces face-to-face talk, (History of Radio: The FCC Kids Zone).


It retrieves verbal communication and expression of “affection”, share humor, argue viewpoints, and strengthen relationships. It retrieves instant coordination of activities; coordination of activities or to simply touch base. Through the mobile phones one pay attention to the other person and stay connected to that individual, at least, during the time of their communication. Also it retrieves information access in real-time which was lost with the telegraph.


The regular cell phones disappeared entirely. Years later, a new generation of phones called smartphones replaced the appellation. As OG phones could not escape the Four Laws of McLuhan, they became obsolesced, smartphone technology would not do it. I believe smartphones of the future will take different forms, and their functions will differ from what we know today. Perhaps, they will be adapted to our emotional senses. I believe in the future, cell phones will become even more naturally in sync with our biological and emotional impulses and such as thought would process them.




Real-time remote collaboration and communication

Synchronize remote activities

Touch and physicality


Input devices: keyboard and wired/wireless mouse, trackpads


Replication of movements


Interpersonal communication


Electroencephalographic echoes of neural activity—Think what you want your device to do and it will happen

Smartphone/Touch screen is a technology widely used nowadays. Although PCs are being still used, the smartphone/touch screen technology, is growing at a rapid rate and is becoming ubiquitous. Its improving capabilities and practicalities are positioning it as the technology of choice in everyday life, business, and education. Within the classroom context, this technology is emerging and can bring tremendous benefits to teachers and students particularly to autistic students who have difficulty learning by interpersonal interactions and looking at a horizontal monitor or screen—looking up or eye contact is one of the autistic impairments. The smartphone can bring countless benefits to the education of these students. This project analyzes how the smartphone technology has evolved from PC to Smartphone. In the process, we will examine smartphone technology in the light of the four laws developed by Marshall and Eric McLuhan (1992) as Thornburg (2013) introduced to us. We will consider what it enhances, obsolesces, retrieves, and reverses in the education of students living with autism disorder condition.


Smartphone/Touch or touch screen technology enhances Tangible User Interfaces (TUI) technology. TUI began with Synchronized Distributed Physical Objects (SDPO). It is a technology which creates the illusion of a shared physical object across distance. The SDPO approach enables the extension of TUI into the space of distributed Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CRSW). This approach enhances real-time remote collaboration and communication, based on the idea of Tangible Interfaces, which places a greater emphasis on touch and physicality to distributed multi-user interactions (Brave, 1998). This approach has significant educational advantages for students who live with autism disorder conditions. This population of learners better collaborate in virtual environments because it allows them to synchronize remote activities even though they operate in different physical environments. Another benefit of TUI for autistic students is that it restricts opportunities for isolation and reflects back movements at the user. Also, cooperative actions occur when autistic children use this type of technology compare to passive technology (Farr, 2009). In sum, the external representation of objects via tangibles can help autistic students to learn to read other people’s actions and intentions and can give them a chance to think and talk through smartphone/touch screen based on this technology (TUI.).


Tangible User Interfaces (TUI) obsolesces Graphic User Interfaces (GUI) technologies. An example of how GUI functions is the clicking of the mouse and the resulting digital representation on the monitor. This mechanism is indirect. More precisely, the user makes a sort of movement, but the monitor does not accurately represent the object and the movement. Traditional PCs including input devices, such as a keyboard and wired/wireless mouse, trackpads, have controlled digital spaces on output spaces. TUI technologies blurred the traditional distinction between physical and digital components. The gap is bridged between cyberspace and the physical spaces as physical representations of numerical values and operations (Ulmer, Ishui, 2000). This is of great utility for autistic students in terms of using physical objects and words.


Before modern educational systems including lecturing, reading, and writing, apprenticeship was the model widely used centuries ago. In the apprenticeship model, learners replicate their Master’s movements. Technology based on movement, such as smartphones, create simulations. Brave (1998) states in his thesis for the degree of Master of Science in Media Arts and Sciences that “Touch is a fundamental aspect of interpersonal communication. “Whether a greeting handshake, an encouraging pat on the back, or a comforting hug, physical contact is a basic means through which people achieve a sense of connection, indicate intention, and express emotion” Smartphone/touch screen retrieves the sense of interpersonal communication lost in education.


We have the impression that there won’t be anything that will surpass the touched or gesture-based technology. McLuhan’s Four Laws of media reminds us that every new development will become obsolete. So, what is it that might replace touch or gesture-based or natural language interfaces technology? We already have voice-recognition, motion-sensing, devices controlled by thoughts. The keyboard, mouse, touch screens, voice and motion sensing, are slipping into the darkness of the pass. The future belongs to thinking about what you want your device to do. Brain–Computer Interface (BCI) has already some products such as headsets, which pick up electroencephalographic echoes of neural activity through the skull. What’s a fascinating foretaste of emerging technology to come, when we will not wear headsets, but when we think things would happen! This technology will transform how humankind acquires knowledge.


Brave, B. B. (1998). Tangible Interfaces for Remote Communication and Collaboration. (Master Thesis). Retrieved December 30, 2015, from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=

Farr, W. Yuil. N. & Raffle, H. (2009). Collaborative Benefits of a Tangible Interface for autistic children. Boston: MA, USA

FCC Kids Zone – History of Radio. Retrieved January 2, 2016, from https://www.fcc.gov/cgb/kidszone/history_radio.html)

Leggett J. (2015). History of mobile phones. What was the first mobile phone?  Retrieved January 2, 2016, from http://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/guides/history-of-mobile-phones/

McLuhan, Marshal, & McLuhan, Eric (1992). Laws of Media: The New Science. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press

Odom, D. (2015). Teaching with Smartphones in the Higher Education Classroom. Retrieved December 27, 2015, from http://www.swdsi.org/swdsi2012/proceedings_2012/papers/papers/pa144.pdf

Photographic History of Mobile Telecommunications. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1636836,00.html

Pogue, D. (2012). Six Electronic Devices You Can Control with Your Thoughts. From toys to mind monitoring, …Retrieved December 30, 2015, from  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/pogue-6-electronic-devices-you-can-control-with-your-thoughts/

Preethi J. (2011). An Overview on Radio Access Technology (RAT) Selection Algorithms for Heterogeneous Wireless Networks. International Journal of Computer Science & Information Security, 9(19475500), 100-105. Retrieved January 2, 2016, from https://archive.org/stream/JournalOfComputerScienceResearchVolume9No5M2011.

Thornburg, D. (2013e). Emerging technologies and McLuhan’s laws of media. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

Ulmer, B. & Ishii, H. (200). Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interface. IBM Systems Journal, 39, No.3 & 4, 995-931



Moore’s Law

Author: Komlan Edouard Ezunkpe

Moore’s law is named after Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, whose 1965 paper described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit, and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade (Wikipedia, 2015).

Moore’s observation—the number of transistors per integrated circuit—holds two essential elements: power increase and size decrease. A third component goes side by side with the first two components, the drop in price of the technology. As a result, this observation has become a defining metaphor or law—Moore’s Law—for the predictability of future technologies. In sum, technology evolves and decision-makers or end-users of technologies need elements such as Moore’s Law that can facilitate their efforts in their future predictions.
Notably, technology plays a larger role in today’s education. Any predictions concerning educational technology must analyze its future trends. Thornburg (2014j) suggests six forces that drive emerging technologies: evolutionary, rhymes of history, science fiction, disruptive technologies, increasing technologies, and red queens. In an attempt to predict the future of technology relative to education, one must take into consideration these forces. The end result is extensive since the trend becomes a “history that rhymes,” a technology adopted into today’s education will rekindle tomorrow. In this line of thoughts, Thornburg (Rhymes of History) gave the example of the “email man.”
The email guy travels from village to village on a motorcycle with a small satellite dish and a laptop to allow people to check their email. Thornburg sees this act as an illustration of rekindling an ancient technology where drums were used to communicate with others, (Thornburg: Rhymes of History). Based on this example, I see three technologies that rekindled.

Radiotelegraphy is a technology that writes an instant message at a distance. This technology combines wireless radio transmission and telegraphy. The written message was represented by dots and codes instantly at a distance without a physical object transporting the message. This technology, the radiotelegraphy, rekindled in the era of the Internet creates natural interfaces such as electronic mail and SMS text messaging.
Touch screen devices (tablets, pcs, smartphones)

Centuries ago, before modern educational systems (lecturing, reading, and writing), apprenticeship model was widely used. In this approach, learners simulate their Master’s behaviors/movements. Technology based on behaviors/movements, such as smartphones, rekindled behaviors/movements or simulations used in the apprenticeship model. “Touch is a fundamental aspect of interpersonal communication… Whether a greeting handshake, an encouraging pat on the back, or a comforting hug, physical contact is a basic means through which people achieve a sense of connection, indicate intention, and express emotion” (Brave, 1998). Smartphone/touch screen technology rekindled the sense of interpersonal communication lost in education.
Flipped classroom

Flipped Classroom is an approach which allows students to learn in informal and non-preset geographical environments as opposed to lecture-based teaching methodology where learners are forced to be at a place at a particular time. Centuries ago, students learned in nature and mostly empirically—by observation and simulating. Today, Flipped classroom rekindled the lost learning environment of centuries ago. Flipped Classroom allows learners to retrieve individual learning space and the liberty to learn ubiquitously.


Brave, B. B. (1998). Tangible Interfaces for Remote Communication and Collaboration. (Master Thesis). Retrieved December 30, 2015, from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014d). David Thornburg: Evolutionary technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014j). David Thornburg: Six Forces that drive emerging technologies . Baltimore, MD: Author

Wikipedia (2015). Moore’s Law. Retrieved December from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law


Flipped Classroom

Flipped Classroom

Author: Komlan Edouard Ezunkpe

Identify a current technology that emerged in the last few years that shapes learning or productivity in your industry

The technology innovation being used in my program is the pedagogical strategy known as the flipped classroom.  According to the most recent New Media Consortium Horizon Report, the flipped classroom is an educational model that rearranges or shifts the ownership of learning from the educator to the learner (New Media Consortium, 2015). Flipped classroom methodology provides an opportunity for students to gain initial exposure to class materials prior to the class. In this model, the time formerly used for instruction is devoted to projects, exercises, and discussions that are to be completed by the students in class. Educators using this model often use online tools such as short video lectures, instructional videos, podcasts, as well as e-books to deliver educational content outside of the classroom.

 Explain the problems or challenges that have been associated with this technology.

The innovation presents drawbacks and challenges for both the teachers and the students. Different families originate from varying socio-economic backgrounds. As thus, some students might be overwhelmed with lack of access to video-viewing technology and computers, outside the school environment. Subsequently, the shift from group learning space to the individual learning space might present excessive pressure on students incapable or minimally capable to keep pace with additional personal responsibility (Beesley & Apthorp, 2010). The innovation is still subject to challenges posed by differentiated learner styles. Some students might be incapable of learning through instructional videos or lectures at home. The flipped classroom innovation requires a longer preparation time and perhaps new skills from the instructor.

Explain the societal needs is this technology meets and what its benefits are.

Success in the classroom setting imposes higher order thinking, a factor deficient in the traditional model of classroom instruction. Higher order thinking is characterized by a learner-centered model of instruction. Through active learning, guiding learning, engaging students, providing timely feedback, correcting misunderstandings and applying varying pedagogical strategies, significant learning opportunities are created. Students are given additional responsibility for personal learning via studying course content prior to the class (Berrett, 2012). By so doing, they can apply skills and knowledge to an array of activities through higher order thinking. By providing a flexible environment, learning culture, intentional content and a professional educator, the innovation can effectively meet the need in the chosen context. Flexible learning affords a multiplicity of learning styles. The Leaning culture allows accessibility to opportunities for meaningful learning. Intentional content triggers conceptual understanding and procedural fluency.  Professional educators provide feedback and assess student progress.

Explain the pitfalls of this technology. Share what would make this technology even better, avoiding the pitfalls you identify.

Particularly, selection of materials requires a considerable amount of time, since the instructor has to watch several videos before the selection. Essentially, the recording or production of videos, prerecorded lectures, or other out-of-class resources could be time-consuming. Certainly, educator skills are essential for producing learning materials. Moreover, the instructor needs skills for the smooth integration of out-of-class resources into in-class elements (Flipped Learning Network, 2012). Combining the above factors, the major challenges posed by the innovation include students at low developmental stages falling behind their peers. This will put unnecessary pressure on some families to gain access to needed technology. Also it can bestow on the instructor fatigue due to the additional responsibilities created by the innovation. The users of this technology need to focus on the innovation. Having achieved this milestone, they need to acquire the aptitude to get a clear focus in their journey towards developing their professional profile. They need to achieve clarity in the chosen innovation, establish priorities, and accommodate the requirements of the innovation. They must nurture passion for the new technology.

Include a graphic and a link to a website where your chosen technology is featured and discussed.



Beesley, A., & Apthorp, H. (Eds.). (2010). Classroom instruction that works, second edition: Research report. Denver, CO: McRel.

Berrett, D. (2012, February 19). How flipping the classroom can improve the traditional lecture. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Flipped Learning Network. (2012). Improve student learning and teacher satisfaction with one flip of the classroom. Retrieved from author at http://flippedlearning1.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/classroomwindowinfographic7-12.pdf

New Media Consortium. (2015). It’s Here! The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 HiEd Edition. Retrieved from New Media Consortium Horizon Report: http://www.nmc.org/news/nmc-horizon-report-2015-hied-edition/