Tuesday, February 7, 2012

6 Technologies That Will Shape Higher Ed

In collaboration with the Educause Learning Initiative, the New Media Consortium has released the NMC Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition. This annual report identifies technologies that are likely to have a major impact on education within the next five years. The researchers and analysts working on this report focused on technologies that have the potential to “break down linguistic and cultural barriers, make education more affordable and efficient, open up new modes of learning, improve students’ chances of success and satisfaction in school, and connect us with the everyday objects in our lives.” This report not only identifies technologies to watch, it offers examples of how they are being used and recommended readings. In addition, the report identifies technology-oriented challenges facing higher education.

Technologies to Watch
Each of the following technologies aligns with three adoption horizons. The near-term horizon assumes that the technology will enter mainstream education within the next 12 months; the mid-term horizon within 2-3 years; and the far-term within 4-5 years.

Near-term Horizon
Mobile apps – small and simple pieces of software that do one thing, or a few things really well.
Tablet computing – due to their portability, large display and touchscreens, tablets are ideal for sharing content, videos, images and presentations.

Mid-term Horizon
Game-based learning – open ended, challenge-based, and collaborative games engage students in problem solving, communication, critical thinking, and digital literacy.
Learning analytics – combining a wide range of data produced by students and gathered on behalf of students to assess academics and tailor educational opportunities.

Far-term Horizon
Gesture-based computing – allows users to engage in virtual activities that do not rely on specific languages but  with motions and movements, common to all cultures, that are similar to what they use in the real world.
The Internet of Things – the evolution of smart objects that connect the physical world with the world of information.

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