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    What’s on the Horizon? The potted version

    By Fiona Strawbridge, on 9 February 2011

    The annual Horizon Report, published by the ‘New Media Consortium’ tries to predict which technologies are going to be important for higher education over the next 5 years. It’s actually a very good read.  The 2011 edition is just out now at: http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report.pdf. Here’s a potted version:

    Key trends, as in 2010, are:

    • Abundance of resources and relationships made accessible via the internet is challenging the roles of educators and institutions.
    • People expect to work wherever and whenever they want.
    • Increasingly collaborative world of work is prompting reflection on the nature of students’ projects.
    • Increasing use of cloud-based technologies and decentralised IT support.

    Critical challenges:

    • Digital media literacy is a key skill for all, but not well-defined nor universally taught. Pace of change of technology exacerbates problem.
    • Difficulty of finding metrics for evaluating new forms of scholarly publishing.
    • Economic pressures and new educational models are challenging traditional models of the university.
    • Staff and students are struggling to keep up with pace of technological change , and with information overload.

    The report describes the top six ‘technologies to watch’. Open content and visual data analysis have disappeared, and  new in this year are game-based learning and ‘Learning Analytics’ (which looks intriguing).  They have three ‘horizons’ and the report describes the technologies in detail – and points to case studies.

    Technologies to watch in the near term (12 months)

    • E-books, e-readers with note-taking facilities, some augmentation of functions to allow immersive experiences and social interaction.
    • Mobiles – increasingly users’ first choice for internet access.

    Technologies to watch in 2-3 years

    • Augmented reality – layering info on top of representation of the real world: access to place-based information.
    • Game-based learning, from simple individual/small group games to massively multiplayer online games – ability to foster collaboration, problem solving, procedural thinking.

    Technologies to watch in 4-5 years

    • Gesture-based computing
    • Learning analytics, along with data gathering and analysis tools to study student engagement, performance and practice in order to inform curriculum & teaching design and enhance the student experience.