Module 5: Red Queens And Increasing Returns

In Module 4, I chose to discuss the film Star Trek (2009) that dvd-vhsI purchased from iTunes to view with Apple TV. I used to buy movies on DVD and VHS tapes and use VHS tapes to record my shows. Since relocating overseas, I use streaming services like Apple TV and websites to watch and download movies. Long gone are the days of purchasing VHS tapes or DVDs.

Thornburg (2014e) compared the Betamax tape to the VHS tape as an example of increasing returns. However, the VHS tape came out ahead of Betamax, and although the VHS tape allowed us to tape our favorite programs, the DVD replaced the VHS tape.

Thornburg (2014e) also discussed the competition between DVDs and Video-On-Demand (VOD), which doesn’t appear to fit into either the red queens or increasing returns category but if I had to choose it would be increasing returns.

movie-devicesReviewing the history and progression, it appears justifiable for VOD to replace DVDs and Blue Rays in the States, however, overseas there seems to be a preference for streaming services and websites although Blue-Rays and DVDs far outperform streaming services (Ludlow, 2015).

Streaming is very convenient, and there is no need to store or stack anything like with DVDs. Additionally, thanks to Apple TV, the visual and audio quality has improved.  As streaming services continue to increase, it will become locked-in. Thornburg (2013) explained that the inferior QWERTY keyboard was locked in due to the human factor of habit which could easily happen with streaming services.


According to Thornburg (2013), McLuhan’s Law on enhancement was technology that amplified or extended the usefulness of the technology for the consumer.  In the States, streaming services provides a convenient cloud access to a wide variety of videos. Most streaming services incur a monthly cost, and some like Apple TV only charge for the purchase or rental of movies and television series.  On the other hand, VOD is also convenient for a monthly and/or per use cost. Since these two technologies co-exist together providing both users with satisfactory service, they meet the criteria for enhancement in McLuhan’s tetrad (Thornburg, 2013b).  When one fails to provide, the other one will be waiting to step in and take over.


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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.

Ludlow, D. (2015).  Blue-ray vs. streaming – which has the best quality?  Expert Reviews. Retrieved from

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

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

Module 4 Assign: Disruptive Technology

Disruptive technology also called a wildcard (Dr. Thornburg, 2014) takes the place of an existing technology with the same functionality.  The disruptive technology is usually more efficient, cheaper, and more improved thus making the old technology obsolete. Examples of disruptive technologies over the years have been: computers replacing typewriters, laptops replacing desktops, flash drives replacing floppy disks, and smartphones replacing cell phones and PDAs.

Currently, two disruptive technologies are Google Glass sixthsensetechnologyand Sixth Sense. Lathwal and Rajput (2016) defined Sixth Sense as “a wearable mobile interface that augments the physical world around us with the digitalized machine world.” (p. 678) It disrupts the smart phones and iPads/tablets because users will be able to make calls, email, use social media, and take photos without the use of a device because “It is a wearable device that projects visible digital data onto the physical world for users to interact with the digital world.” (Lathwal & Rajput, 2016, p. 678).

Tom’s Guide Staff and Goodrich (2013) stated: “Google Glass is Google’s wearable computer that a person wears like a regular pair of prescription glasses.” (para. 1). Like the Sixth Sense, Google Glass is a manner of freely accessing data without using a handheld device. “A ‘heads-up display’ suspended slightly above your eye places data right in your field of vision, without completely obstructing your view.” (Tom’s Guide Staff & Goodrich, googleglass2013, para. 1). When Google Glass was released in 2014, it was also designed to access the Internet, send text messages, take pictures, download apps, and more (Tom’s Guide Staff & Goodrich, 2013).

When I think of the social benefits of devices like Google Glass and Sixth Sense, my mind goes back to Tony Stark from the Marvel movies. He was able to his wearable devices to project calls, images, videos, and other information. I feel the social benefits would be endless from medical to educational. Students and teachers could give more interactive and engaging presentations with far less tech. Learners of a second language could practice and interact with native speakers in their country with ease. Teachers could easily collaborate and give conferences from around the world. Incidents of injustice could be displayed live around the world, giving the victim worldwide witness.

However, although valiant ideas, Google Glass was a failure (Doyle, 2016) and Sixth Sense rather went into hiding. These technologies were initially designed to disrupt, i.e. replace smartphones and tablets, yet on the contrary, I would say they only helped to enhance the technologies.


Doyle, B. (2016). 5 Reasons Why Google Glass was a Miserable Failure. Retrieved from

Doyle, B. (2016). 5 Reasons Why Google Glass was a Miserable Failure. Retrieved from

Lathwal, S, and Rajput, M, (2016). Sixth Sense Technology. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 6 (6), 678-680.

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

Seminarsonly. (2016, July). How Sixth Sense Technology Works. Retrieved from

Tom’s Guide Staff and Goodrich, R. (2013). Google Glass: What It Is and How It Works (2013). Retrieved from:,news-17711.html

Module 3 Assign: Rhymes of History

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”.                         ~ Mark Twain

remington_no-_1_from_herkimer1Laureate Education (2014a) revealed the six key principles of evolutionary technology as evolutionary technology, rhymes of history, science fiction, disruptive technologies, increasing returns, and red queens. Evolutionary technology is the progression or development of a previous technology into a new more powerful, reasonably priced version of the technology. Evolutionary technology drives the emerging technology and allows a look into the future of specific technologies.

Rhymes of history is the display of how new technologies impact the current environment and rekindles the same needs that existed in the past (Laureate Education, 2014b). Dr. Thornburg described rhyme in history as technology that “rekindles something from the past.” (Laureate Education, 2014h) I feel a good example of new technology that is an emergence a previous technology from the past is the keyboard of the computer or laptop, which rekindled the typewriter.

Although the typewriter was created in 1868 and featured the Qwerty keyboard, the first typing devices were patented image-2in the 1700s. Daskeyboard (2011, July 22) state, “The keyboard is the number one computer interface used around the world, and an integral object for many of us that most people take for granted.” After 1910, most typewriters were standardized until IBM created the Selectric version typewriter in 1961, which was produced until the 1980s.

IBM debuted the first PC in 1981. In 1986, it was upgraded to the Model M keyboard, which was popular due to its ease of use. As the keyboard evolved, it became lighter, quieter, smaller, and even flexible. No doubt as technology continues to develop the keyboard will continue to evolve (Daskeyboard, 2011, July 22).



Daskeyboard (2011, July 22).  Typing Through Time: Keyboard History [home page]. Retrieved from

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Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). David Thornburg: Six forces that drive emerging technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014b). David Thornburg: Evolutionary technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014h). David Thornburg: Rhymes of history [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Module 2 Assign: Emerging Technologies Tetrad

The tetrModule 2 Tetrad Brain Downloading 2.pngad of McLuhan’s Law allowed me to examine and illustrate the Brain Downloading technology from four angles (Laureate Education, 2014; Thornburg, 2013). I used the four angles: Retrieval, Reversal, Obsolescence and Enhancement to see the present value of the technology, how it developed and determined the future of the technology.

Elon University/Pew Internet Project (n.d.) stated, “…humans will be able to download information, images, memories, feelings and more to their brains by the year 2050.” Additionally, we should also be able to download selected information from our brains to our computers thus creating a “digital immortality.”

Enhancement: The technology creates a biological or organic connection to data/ memories and allows access to data anytime or anywhere.

Obsolescence:  The technology makes flash drives and other hardware storage devices obsolete.

Retrieves: The technology uploads and downloads data from a brain-machine interface continuing the usage of cloud computing (Elon University/Pew Internet Project, n.d.).

Reversal: The technology could increase the threat of cyber security, loss of identity and privacy. Viruses, malware, and Trojans could be redesigned to infiltrate brain-machine interface.


Elon University/Pew Internet Project. (n.d.). Imagining the Internet: A History and forcast: Forward 150 timeline [Futeristic timeline]. Retrieved from http:/

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Laureate Education (Producer). (2014f). David Thornburg: McLuhan’s Tetrad [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Smith, D. (2005). 2050 and immortality is within our grasp. Retrieved from

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

Module 1 Assign: Identifying an Emerged Technology

gafe-blog-imageAs Thornburg (2013b) stated, not only has the cost of flash drives dropped dramatically over the years, but their storage capacity has increased from MBs to GBs. However, considering the increasing usage of cloud storage, it is not surprising. Where a mere few years ago, cloud storage was seen as a trend, currently it has practically become a necessity replacing the need for flash drives (Thornburg, 2013b).

Google Apps are a user-friendly suite of cloud-based applications that Google offers to schools and educational institutions. Although, Google Drive is a great alternative to conventional flash drives. It allows access to documents from any Internet-connected computer without having to worry about software versions or compatibility. Since Google stores, all files centrally collaboration and management have been simplified allowing authorized users to monitor and edit documents. Files can be easily transferred or shared between users without technology conflicts creating a more collaborative teaching and learning environment. It also features communication and collaboration apps including a number of collaborative tools from an online word processor, a cloud-based presentation tool, and spreadsheets (EdTechTeacher Inc., 2016).

As Thornburg (2013b) stated, “…for this to work, one other trend needs to truly take hold – that os universal access to broadband Internet access.” (page 3). Reliable broadband Internet access is only part of the challenges that can be associated with using Google Apps in the classroom. Inequalities in education have existed over the decades despite the national educational policies and initiatives developed in the United States. The technology gap or “digital divide” in school systems was considered another component to the inequality in education. ‘First order’ digital divide is a gap in the physical access and application of computers and the Internet divided along demographic and socioeconomic lines. As a result, technology usage was higher among Caucasian Americans and upper-income households compared to African Americans and Latino Americans and lower income families (Valadez & Duran, 2007).

Mardis, Hoffman, & Marshall (2008) stated access to technology in schools does not always result in use, nor does use always result in enhanced instructional practices or learning outcomes. Bridging the ‘first level’ digital divide did not guarantee computer usage. The increase in computers and the Internet in schools has not decreased the gap leaving the ‘second level’ digital divide. Despite the training teachers have had; integration of technology in the classroom has made little progress. Research has indicated teachers with a majority population of Caucasian students are more likely to use computers and the Internet to engage students in creative, critical thinking lessons and activities. However, teachers with a high percentage of minority students are more likely to use computers and the Internet drill and practice activities and software application lessons.

The digital divide is not just the result of a failure of access to technology but a result of a misdistribution of skills, training, and opportunities. Teachers play a crucial role in extinguishing the digital divide and should take an active role in improving the conditions for students in the classroom by thinking more practically about how technology can contribute to student learning. School systems need to provide adequate teacher training on how to use computers and the Internet in more progressive pedagogically sound strategies to enhance teaching and learning for all students.

Adams (2008) reported, “the migration of online educational needs to tools like Google applications, coupled with the realization that today’s twenty-first-century students are digital natives who live their entire lives exposed to current technology, forces educators to find ways to use technology to enhance traditional curriculum” (p.96). As a result, educators need to find ways to use technology to enhance traditional curriculums. One effective, beneficial tool is the Web 2.0 tool, Google Apps. Google Apps includes several applications, Gmail, Docs, presentations, notebook, personalized homepage, Web pages, calendar, blogger, and talk. Educators must address the gap between students and teachers that occur cross-generationally in this technology age.


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Adams, D. (2008). Gaga for google in the twenty-first century advanced placement language classroom. Clearing House, 82(2), 96-100.

EdTechTeacher Inc. (2016). GAFE [page]. Retrieved from

Mardis, M. A., Hoffman, E. S. & Marshall, T. E. (2008). A new framework for understanding educational digital library use: re-examining digital divides in the U.S. schools. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 8(2), 19-27. doi:10.1007/s00799-008-0035-z.

Thornburg, D. (2013b). Current trends in educational technology. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

Valadez, J. R., & Duran, R. (2007). Redefining the digital divide: Beyond access to computers and the internet. The High School Journal, Feb/Mar 2007, 31-44.