The Horizon Report: 2011 Edition

“On the near-term horizon — that is, within the next12 months — are electronic books and mobiles. Electronic books are moving closer to mainstream adoption for educational institutions, having appeared on the mid-term horizon last year. Mobilesreappear as well, remaining on the near-term horizonas they become increasingly popular throughout the world as a primary means of accessing Interne tresources. Resistance to the use of mobiles in the classroom continues to impede their adoption in many schools, but a growing number of institutions are finding ways to take advantage of a technologythat nearly all students, faculty, and staff carry. Electronic books continue to generate stronginterest in the consumer sector and areincreasingly available on campuses as well. Modern electronic readers support note-takingand research activities, and are beginning to augment these basic functions with new capabilities — from immersive experiences to support for social interaction — that are changing our perception of what it means to read. Mobiles enable ubiquitous access to information, social networks, tools for learning and productivity, and much more. Mobile devices continue to evolve, but it is the increased access to affordable and reliable networks that is driving this technology now. Mobiles are capable computing devices in their own right — and theyare increasingly a user’s first choice for Internet access.

The second adoption horizon considers technologies expected to gain widespread usage within two to three years, and this year’s candidates are augmented reality and game-based learning. Both intersect with practices in mainstream popular culture, both have been considered significant tools for education for many years, and both have made appearances on a number of campuses already. Advances in hardware and software, as well as in a broader acceptance of new methods in teaching,secured the place of these innovations as the top technologies for the mid-term horizon. Augmented reality refers to the layering of information over a view or representation of the normal world, offering users the ability to access place-based information in ways that are compellingly intuitive.  Augmented reality brings a significant potential to supplement information delivered via computers, mobile devices, video,and even the printed book. Much simpler to create and use now than in the past, augmented reality feels at once fresh and new, yet an easy extension of existing expectations and practices. Game-based learning has grown in recentyears as research continues to demonstrateits effectiveness for learning for students of allages. Games for education span the range from single-player or small-group card and boardgames all the way to massively multiplayer onlinegames and alternate reality games. Those at the first end of the spectrum are easy to integrate with coursework, and in many institutions they are already an option; but the greatest potentialof games for learning lies in their ability to foster collaboration, problem-solving, and procedural thinking. For a variety of reasons, the realization of this potential is still two to three years away.

Looking to the far-term horizon, four to five years from now for widespread adoption, are gesturebasedcomputing and learning analytics. Bothremain largely speculative and not yet in widespread usage on campuses, but both are also garnering significant interest and increasing exposure. Gesture-based computing moves the control of computers from a mouse and keyboard to themotions of the body via new input devices. Depictedin science fiction movies for years, gesture-based computing is now more grounded inreality thanks to the recent arrival of interface technologies such as Kinect, SixthSense, andTamper, which make interactions with computational devices far more intuitive and embodied. Learning analytics loosely joins a variety of data-gathering tools and analytic techniques to study student engagement, performance,and progress in practice, with the goal of using what is learned to revise curricula, teaching, and assessment in real time. Building on the kinds of information generated by Google Analytics and other similar tools, learning analytics aimsto mobilize the power of data-mining toolsin the service of learning, and embracingthe complexity, diversity, and abundance of information that dynamic learning environments can generate.”

Download the full report from:

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon Report.Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.


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