2009 Horizon Report: Emerging Technologies in Higher Education

Tue 3 2009

The New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) recently released the sixth annual Horizon Report. The Horizon Report examines six emerging technologies, their potential impact on "teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations," and places them within the likely timeframe for their absorption into the user mainstream. Each technology profile provides specific examples of applications and supplemental resources.

This year's focus: mobiles, cloud computing, geo-everything, the personal web, semantic-aware applications, and smart objects.

While mobiles and cloud computing fall within the first adoption horizon (one to two years), the Report points out that these technologies are already in place on many campuses and that geo-everything and the personal web (placed within the three-to-four-year horizon) are already in common use outside the educational establishment.

The Horizon Report discusses the challenges of developing technologies on instruction and on educators. The critical challenges categorized in the Report include updating how students are taught; updating learning models and educational materials; adjusting assessment criteria; and assessing how emerging forms of scholarly practice impact evaluating faculty tenure and promotion. These critical challenges are "...more than merely an expectation to provide content; this is an opportunity for higher education to reach its constituents in new and compelling ways."

The decision-making processes behind the selections are transparent; The Horizon Project Wiki served as the workspace for the project. It is now open to public comment and augmentation—including discussion of technologies such as collaborative environments and paperless publishing that did not make the final cut for the 2009 report.

About the Author

Lee Ann Ghajar is a digital history associate in Public Projects at CHNM and a PhD candidate in American history at George Mason University.