Download the 2009 Horizon Report from New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and let’s talk about it tomorrow.
[Sorry, got sidetracked by office visitors and I’m a day late with my response to the new Horizon Report.] Here are the six topics covered this year:
- cloud computing
- personal web
- semantic-aware applications
- smart objects
I have some comments about three of them, but feel free to add your own comments about those or any on the list.
- Mobiles carries over last year’s topic of Mobile Broadband, and I won’t be surprised to see it again until we all have mobile devices that have access to broadband and data plans. I think there are still too many people wearing blinders about our students’ access to both broadband and devices that can access the web. Many students are lucky to have laptops with which they can access our wireless on campus. So, I always take with a grain of salt ways of using cell phones in the classroom that require Web and email connectivity. So many recommended classroom uses are based on the iPhone, possibly the most expensive of the smart phones, without consideration of students’ actual devices, that I am wary of the success of such projects. I do agree, however, that we are moving closer to a time when the mobile device is commonplace and ubiquitous.
- Geo-Everything: Again, the ability to use geo-location/GPS to tag locations, depends on mobile devices to a great extent, if you are in the field. And the report’s examples do illustrate that field work, particularly in the sciences, makes good use of geo-tagging. I’m grateful that they also include a use in literary studies of mapping out geographical locations in literary works. They use the example of The Travels of Marco Polo, and provide a link to an idea using Google Earth to explore literature. Much like recreating a virtual literary space in Second Life, this kind of visualization is engaging as it inspires students to think creatively in imagining more fully the author’s depictions.
- Personal Web. This is particularly interesting to me, as I am thoroughly invested in having access to information at my fingertips and publishing my ideas, whether it be here on this blog, in Twitter or Facebook, on my personal Website, or my ePortfolio. The customization of personal Web space through widgets, for example, is a step in creating your own Personal Learning Network (PLN), part of the ability to educate yourself. Combined with tools like Zotero and Delicious that let you aggregate resources in links or bibliographic entries, and that let you have access to the collected resources of others, today’s students participate in their own development in ways we couldn’t have imagined ten years ago. Read a previous post about do-it-yourself sites, like PageFlakes for an example.
What I like about the Horizon Report is that is prods us to look to the future, says it’s okay to wonder about how technology might advance and how educators might use it. I think it can often have us thinking about what’s available now, as well, which is good, because now is where we are.