Since 2004, a group called The New Media Consortium has published an annual Horizon Report,
a research-oriented effort that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression within higher education.
New this year is a Horizon Report, specifically geared to K-12 that follows the same format – a panel of experts from around the world identify and organize new technologies by their “adoption horizon” or how long they think it will take before those technologies are adopted in K-12 schools.
These are the technologies that are predicted to be seen in wide use within the year:
- collaborative environments – virtual workplaces where students and teachers can communicate, share information, and work together
- online communication tools – put students in touch with distant family members, practicing experts, and their peers, wherever they may be located
Within 2-3 years, we might expect to see:
- mobile devices – the new ability to run third-party applications represents a fundamental change in the way we regard mobiles and opens the door to myriad uses for education, entertainment, productivity, and social interaction.
- cloud computing – computing resources resulting from very large “data farms” — specialized data centers that host thousands of servers. Many of us use applications that run in the cloud daily without even being aware that they are cloud-based. Image editors, word processors, social networking tools, and others are examples of cloud-based applications.
In 4-5 years:
- smart objects – link the virtual world and the real: a smart object “knows” about itself and its environment, and can reveal what it is for, who owns it, where and how it was made, and what other objects in the world are like it. Libraries are an obvious place where smart objects come in handy, for purposes like collection tracking and checking materials in and out.
- personal web – a term coined to represent a collection of technologies that confer the ability to reorganize, configure and manage online content rather than just viewing it; but part of the personal web is the underlying idea that web content can be sorted, displayed, and even built upon according to an individual’s personal needs and interests.
The full report gives lots of examples of how these technologies could be used in K-12 and schools. Very interesting stuff and worth a look.