15 January, 2010

Emerging Technologies: Horizon Report 2010

Each year the Horizon Project releases a report that looks at technologies and tools which are likely to impact teaching and learning over the next few years. The technologies that are highlighted in this 2010 Horizon Report are:

0-1 Years to Adoption: Mobile Computing and Open Content
2-3 Years to Adoption: Electronic Books and Simple Augmented Reality
4-5 Years to Adoption: Gesture Based Computing and Visual Data Analysis

Why is this important to a Higher Education institution? Well, it advises us on which technologies might be at a realistic stage of development and uptake to adopt in our teaching and learning. It also gives educators new to a technology or concept a brief overview of how it relates to our context.

Looking at the Mobile Computing section, this seemed to resound with me most, perhaps because I've been using my own devices to access the internet for my own learning. The report mentions 3 areas that smart phones might be used:
  1. An alternative method of accessing resources - which in Edge Hill University's case would require a complete change in the way our own resources are prepared and distributed. Roger C. Shank thinks that real learning wouldn't take place and that this would not be worthwhile. However this might be down to personal preference as I've not had a problem reading books on my iPod Touch, and can see room for Microlearning activities where they are relevant.
  2. A way of connecting students to each other and the institution - See the iPhone project at ACU and the project in Houston for examples.
  3. For fieldwork - perhaps ideas along the line of Walking Through Time.
While there are some cases where using mobile devices in learning are appropriate now, the Morgan Stanley 'Mobile Internet Report' expects internet access on mobile devices to overtake PC access within 5 years. So while we can use mobile devices in appropriate situations, we're not dealing with a situation where students all want to access everything on their phones right now.

[image by James Nash (aka Cirrus)]

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