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The Horizon Report is a decade-long comprehensive research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry. This report is the result of a joint venture between The New Media Consortium (a globally focused not-for-profit consortium dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies) and The ELI (a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to advancing learning through information technology innovation).


The following are my synthesized points of learning from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions of the report, outlining the contemporary key trends and critical challenges of emerging technologies.



Key Trends


1. The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators. 
  • sense-making and the ability to assess the credibility of information are paramount - teach research skills, not knowledge
  • media/digital literacy for students to be able to navigate the internet


2. Technologies we use are increasingly based not on school servers, but in the cloud. 
  • browser-based software that is device-independent
  • notions of privacy and control (where is the line?)
  • significant cost savings (bring your own device)


3. Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate, and succeed. 
  • The digital divide, once seen as a factor of wealth, is now seen as a factor of education
  • evolving occupations, multiple careers, and an increasingly mobile workforce (prepare students for jobs which don’t exist yet)


4. People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to.

  • logistical challenges in a busy, fast-paced world (should we also be sure to unplug?)
  • the implications for informal learning are profound - social networks
  • “just-in-time” learning and “found” learning: maximizing the impact of learning by ensuring it is timely and efficient


5. The perceived value of innovation and creativity is increasing.

  • “Innovation is valued at the highest levels of business and must be embraced in schools if students are to succeed beyond their formal education. The ways we design learning experiences must reflect the growing importance of innovation and creativity as professional skills.”

Near-term horizon (within 1 year): electronic books

Mid-term horizon (within 2-3 years): augmented reality and game-based learning
Far-term horizon (4-5 years): gesture-based computing and learning analytics



Critical Challenges


1. Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.
  • despite widespread agreement on its importance, training in digital literacy skills and techniques is rare
  • the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm
  • digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral (short-lived)

2. Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of schools.
  • ways to control costs with growing number of students, and fewer resources and staff than before
  • simply capitalizing on new technology is not enough; new models must engage students

3. The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices.
  • more learner choice and control (differentiated instruction)
  • “It has become clear that one-size-fits-all teaching methods are neither effective nor acceptable for today’s diverse students” - has one-size-fits-all teaching ever been an effective way to teach??

4. The fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment — aka “the system.”
  • “As long as maintaining the basic elements of the existing system remains the focus of efforts to support education, there will be resistance to any profound change in practice.”
  • Why are we still educating in the same manner we did before computers were invented? Why is education not the number one priority to our society? Capitalist mentality: no personal gain from education system

5. Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom and thus are not part of our learning metrics.
  • social networks: difficult to tie back to the classroom, as they tend to happen serendipitously and in response to an immediate need for knowledge, rather than being related to topics currently being studied in school

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