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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


The potted Horizon Report

By Fiona Strawbridge, on 18 January 2012

Image by Steve Harris - http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveharris/3917314476/ Each year the ‘Horizon Report’ from the New Media Consortium tells us what’s up and coming in terms of technology in education.  The preview has been released (you’ll need to register but it’s painless) – the full report is out next month but this is a useful summary. Here’s a potted version:

What’s coming:

  • This year: mobile apps and tablet computing
  • 2-3 years: game-based learning and learning analytics
  • 4-5 years: gesture-based computing & the ‘internet of things’ (small network aware smart physical objects)


  • Moving education from providing information to helping students evaluate & make sense of it
  • Shift from F2F to online learning, providing sometimes better learning environments than in physical campuses
  • Need for faster and easier access to academic and social networks, and focus on just-in-time and ‘found’ learning
  • Expectations of cloud-based and device-independent applications and services
  • Move to challenge-based and active learning often using smart devices to connect curriculum with real life problems
  • Move to more collaborative ways of working – collective intelligence wins out over silos.  Use of GoogleDocs, wikis, Skype etc for teamwork and communication with the tool having a role in ‘immortalising’ the process and participants’ perspectives


  • Finding appropriate evaluation metrics, beyond citations etc – things like re-tweeting, tagging, mentions in blogs, reader ratings
  • Developing digital literacy skills – for student and staff who may not realise that their students need their help
  • Competition and economic pressures driving creative approaches such as streaming of introductory courses – but there is a need to engage students on a deeper level too
  • Institutional barriers to engaging with technologies – innovation with technology seen as outside scope of academics’ roles
  • New modes of scholarship are challenging institutional libraries and research managers as students and researchers use alternative sources of information and tools

All in all a good read – looking forward to the full version.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveharris/3917314476/

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