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The Horizon Report is an annual publication produced by the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. The report looks at the emerging trends in education technology, as well as some of the challenges that new technologies face.

The report is issued at the beginning of the year, so the trends in the 2010 report are almost nin months old. Nonetheless, it seems like back-to-school makes it a good time to revisit how far along these tech tools are in being adopted in K-12 and university classrooms.

Here are the four trends in teaching and learning that the Horizon Report identifies (and that it argues will shape education technology):

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing.
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to.
  • The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.
  • The work of students is increasingly seen as collaborative by nature, and there is more cross-campus collaboration between departments.

The technologies identified by the Horizon Report, along with a prediction of when they'll hit mainstream, are:

1 Year or Less: Mobile Computing Open Content

2 to 3 Years: Electronic Books Simple Augmented Reality

4 to 5 Years: Gesture-Based Computing Visual Data Analysis

This is the point where my immersion in the tech world and not in the classroom makes me a terrible arbiter of what's accepted, what's "mainstream." I work with people who are terribly giddy about AR apps, for example. But from what I gather from educators I talk to, I still see resistance in some circles to the acceptance of mobile computing, particularly if you're talking about something like student cellphones.

I'd be curious to hear from educators their assessments of how accurate Horizon Report predictions seem to be.

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Audrey Watters


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