The 2011 Horizon Report (PDF) was released today. The annual report, a collaborative publication undertaken by the New Media Consortium and EDUCASE, assesses the emerging technology trends that will shape the next ten years of teaching and learning.

This year, the report lists the following trends as up-and-coming:

One Year or Less Mobile Computing E-Books
Two to Three Years Augmented Reality Game-Based Learning
Four to Five Years Gesture-Based Computing Learning Analytics

The short-term trends here feel right to me, but I'm not sure, even with those, that we can gauge much. The prediction game, after all, is a difficult one.

For the sake of comparison, here are the trends that were listed in the 2009 and 2010 reports:

One Year or Less Mobile Computing Open Content Mobile Computing Cloud Computing
Two to Three Years Augmented Reality E-Books Geo-Everything the Personal Web
Four to Five Years Gesture-Based Computing Visual Data Analysis Smart Objects Semantic-Aware Applications

I don't post these older predictions here so as to dismiss the Horizon Report. In fact, I think the year-to-year comparisons are just as interesting as a single year's report. This way, you can see how the Horizon Report has reassessed its predictions -- what's changed and what's stayed the same, what's been bumped up and what's been bumped off the list. All in the service of answering "why?" -- has the technology been embraced or abandoned?

Mobile, for example, has been in the year-or-less spot for the past two-to-three. As my ReadWriteWeb colleague Sarah Perez noted today, smartphones outsold PCs worldwide for the first time ever during the first quarter of 2010. Clearly consumers have embraced mobile technologies in a big big way. So is this adoption (still) less than a year away in educational settings? Or, despite the ubiquity of mobile outside of the classroom, do major obstacles (infrastructure, perceptions, budget) persist that stop us from bringing mobile tools into the classroom?

E-readers, it's worth noting, did move up the list -- the only technology trend from previous years that has made progress, if you will. But gone from last year, I couldn't help but notice, open educational resources -- a trend I think (I hope) is still very important. Has it been adopted and so isn't on the horizon/in the report? I'm not so sure.

What are your thoughts of this year's Horizon Report? Do you agree with this list of emerging tech trends?

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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