This report has staying power as it has been released every year since 2002. Each year, the report identifies six emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on higher education in the next one to five years. The format of the report stays consistent every year, but the process to arrive at the six emerging technologies keeps improving.
The report presents an overview of each of the six technologies accompanied by examples and suggested readings for each technology. Below I provide my summary of the six emerging summaries. I’ve also embedded a video (3:30) that provides you with an overview from the NMC team.
The areas of emerging technology cited for 2011 are:
Timeframe: The Next 12 months...
- Electronic books: The Horizon Report mentions that e-books have taken hold strongly in the consumer sector and the time for mass adoption across campuses is now. This trend has been strongly enabled by the explosion of tablet computing, which can augment text with interactive experiences, support classroom note-taking and research activities, and allow readers to interact socially. This trend will totally change our perception of what it means to read.
- Mobiles (i.e., mobile devices). Mobiles enable ubiquitous access to information, social networks, tools for learning and productivity, and much more. 2011 will bring new interfaces and new apps that leverage location-awareness. The mobile device of is a versatile tool that can be easily adapted to a host of tasks for learning, productivity, and social networking.
Timeframe: Next 1-3 years....
- Augmented reality, enables content providers the ability to provide additional information to what ever users are viewing on a screen device. This information is ‘layered’ over the whatever the user is viewing at the time (e.g. whether in the real world, or on a screen). While most applications have been in the consumer sector (tourism is one application example)), we can expect new applications to become available over the nest 1-3 years that will enhance learning. Augmented reality brings a significant potential to supplement information delivered via computers, mobile devices, video, and even the printed book.
- Game-based learning continues to grow as an application area that can enhance learning for students of all ages. We should expect to see a whole new suite of emerging game and simulation-based applications that are developed expressly to enhance the learning process. The report says that perhaps the greatest potential of games for learning lies in their ability to foster collaboration, problem-solving, and procedural thinking.
Timeframe: 4-5 years...
- Gesture-based computing technologies continue to evolve. Gone is the day of interacting with the computer via just a keyboard or a mouse. Gestures allow the motions of the body to control computing devices. The next generation of students entering higher education will have grown accustomed to interacting with computers and gaming systems via touching, tapping, swiping, jumping, and moving. The Horizon Report specifically mentions new interface technologies such as Kinect, SixthSense, and Tamper, which make interactions with computational devices far more intuitive and embodied.
- Learning analytics employs a combination of data-gathering tools and analytic techniques to study student engagement, performance, and progress in practice. The goal is not just to understand the past, but to help predict the future. This technology trend area will help administrators and teachers revise curricula, teaching, and assessment in real time. Learning analytics will allow educational institutions to tailor education to individual students more effectively.