Research Question 2: What key technologies are missing from our list?

Instructions: Please use these prompts to help you consider what might need to be added to the current list of Horizon Topics. Add your thoughts as bullet points below, using a new bullet point for each new technology or topic. Please add your comments to previous entries if you agree or disagree.
a. What would you list among the established technologies that some educational institutions are using today that arguably ALL institutions should using broadly to support or enhance teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?
b. What technologies that have a solid user base in consumer, entertainment, or other industries should educational institutions be actively looking for ways to apply?
c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that learning-focused institutions should begin to take notice during the next 4 to 5 years?

Each new topic entry must include a title, a description similar to the ones that are written now, and, if needed, a rationale as to why it is different from any of the existing topics. The Horizon Project research team will investigate each nomination entered here to see if it meets the criteria set for new topics (eg., that the topic represents a "real" technology, as opposed to a concept, a new idea, or a proposal; that it is sufficiently developed that research, projects, and information about it exist; and that it has a demonstrable link, or strong potential link, to education).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking them with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples.
  • Next-Generation Tablets A subcategory of the more general class of mobile devices, tablets such as the iPad nonetheless merit their own separate entry. There are at least two reasons for this: first, the fact that they do not carry the baggage of mobile phones (e.g., "used for texting - not serious", "rings in the middle of class - disruptive and distracting") means that they may be accepted more readily in traditional academic contexts. Second, the form factor of the devices provides for uses that are more readily viewed as a transition from traditional media and devices, rather than a wholesale transformation (e.g., reading books on a smartphone is a very different perceptual experience from reading them in paper format; reading them on an iPad "feels" quite similar). Content creation and consumption uses include most of those available on laptops, but enhanced by portability and day-long battery life. The need to rethink interfaces for a touch-based mobile device has led in many cases to app design that retains much of the functionality of its laptop cousins, with considerably simpler and more transparent interfaces. Multiple K-20 educational iPad projects are already in progress (e.g.,, - this is particularly remarkable, given that the iPad has only been available for six months. - rubenrp rubenrp Oct 3, 2010 What makes tablets potentially groundbreaking is the ability to capture and interact with information in multiple ways, including through touch, movement, and audio. - lisaspiro lisaspiro Tablets can offer a unique experience in large part because of their geolocation and context awareness. Apps like Starwalk show how rich these experiences can be. - billshewbridge billshewbridge Oct 4, 2010 We are also finding tablets to be a viable replacement for laptops for many applications. At roughly 1/3 the price, small form factor, very light weight, and with a 10+ hour battery life they are very attractive candidates for replacements in our laptop carts (now if Bretford would only make an iPad cart.) for those classes basically using them for web browsing. They cover probably 90% of the use cases in this area with all of the aforementioned advantages. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 5, 2010 - helga helga Oct 5, 2010 I have been referring to the form factor discussed here as slates to distinguish them from tablet PCs, but agree that this form factor (iPads and others that might hit the market in the next year) are a very important trend - alanwolf alanwolf Oct 8, 2010. Yes, the new generation of tablets looks lively. IOS-Android competition should be raging by January '11, and iPad sales will probably go nuts in November. The cool factor is tremendously appealing, as is the deep connection to television. - ninmah ninmah Oct 14, 2010 I'm interested to see whether tablets make it easier to provide one-to-one environments for K-12 students. Are they different enough from laptops (in terms of price, support, and other considerations) to make them more attractive as a one-to-one option? Are they powerful enough to do the work required? - dicksonk dicksonk Oct 15, 2010 Many faculty on campus describe them as a less intrusive part of meetings bringing colleagues out from behind the barrier of the full laptop screen and making sharing or coordinated use of content simpler. Both factors would seem beneficial in the classroom. If Android/iOS can truly make the wireless tablet as capable at sharing its content with a projector (without a cable) then many schools might skip over the interactive whiteboard altogether (Doceri hints at this potential -- ). - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 16, 2010 I agree! Tablets are definitely an interesting middle ground where innovation will really have an impact. Agree that this is a significant piece of technology; it appears to be a step in the right direction in combining many tools which have been available in separate formats (e-books, laptops, smartphones), but doesn't yet pull everything effectively into one device--although it's the best we have so far. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 17, 2010 LMU is doing a 6 month research project on how iPad's might be used in the classroom (iPEP - iPad Exploration Project) where 30 faculty have been given ipad and are participating in bi-weekly online discussions and four FTF meetings to explore the use. We are finding the tablet to definitely be category by itself. - crista.copp crista.copp Oct 17, 2010 Agreed. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010 This is great discussion, but I don't see enough to justify a new topic; this is a shade of difference, maybe a new nuance for what we mean by mobile computing. - alan alan Oct 18, 2010 These make Inexpensive accessibility devices smartphones and tablets include accessibility features in ways that can be easily used "on the go", and that can create new experiences for users (see, for instance, An iPad ($500) plus the Proloquo2Go software ($190 - compares favorably with a dedicated AAC device, such as the DynaVox M3 ($3285), or the DynaVox Xpress ($7500 - - rubenrp rubenrp Oct 5, 2010 - alanwolf alanwolf Oct 17, 2010
  • Learning analytics which the Next Generation Learning Challenge defines as "the use of data and models to predict student progress and performance, and the ability to act on that information." As we gather an increasing amount of data on how learners perform through course management systems and other means, how can we use this data to assess student learning, make individualized corrections, and improve education on a larger scale? - lisaspiro lisaspiro Yes. This is a critical need. We ask for it all of the time as administrators. I wonder if this kind of information need can in part be filled by applying the same technologies as those in PLEs or Web Aggregation. Just a thought. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 5, 2010 A number of good papers on the subject can be found at Tools: Piwik, Tynt, Google Analytics Snapp . First conference on Learning Analytics organized by Tekri happening early next year: - bdieu bdieu This is a topic that is near and dear to me. The need for actionable intelligence related to learning is reaching a crisis level and there are very few people who know where to start. The overwhelming majority of academics still think of analytics as an extended research project when what academia needs are solutions that can lead to robust data driven decision making. This includes federation of data from across multiple institutional silos, advanced modeling techniques such as neural networking analysis, bayesian modeling, decision tree's and game theory (just to name a few), alongside an understanding of pedagogical determinants and sound business practices. To ensure completeness of the modeling techniques we must also have data collection methods embedded within ALL of the applications that touch the educational enterprise an any way. Quite simply, this is a topic that is so vast that it could be its own Horizon report. There is some very promising work emerging out there but it is institution by institution, with no unified presence or applications that can solve the problem. Having been involved in building a very preliminary application for learning analytics, I can attest to the fact that it is incredibly expensive work that takes statisticians, educational psychologists, software engineers, dbase administrators, pedagogical specialists, etc. Currently there are no commercially available applications that even begin to scratch the surface of this problem and no initiatives that will begin to provide the needed funding - the level of funding through NextGen would be consumed in initial model development without starting to touch engineering, testing or beta deployment. For me, it is going to be very interesting to see where this topic goes in the coming years as the critical mass for a concerted development effort does not yet seem to be present, even though the need is apparent. - Oct 17, 2010 I'd agree that analytics is a topic worth exploring in the horizon report, even if it's not exactly a technology, but a method. Perhaps we could explore tools that support it currently and/or institutions that are actively involved in this area? - drvdiaz drvdiaz Oct 18, 2010 I was not at the content and only saw from the slides, but David Wiley's presentation ( had a fascinating section where he made a case that through the collection of data about transactions via loyalty card programs, grocery stores know infiinitely more about their clientelt than we can even dream of at this point in education. - alan alan Oct 18, 2010
  • Robot tutors Robots are coaching people to lose weight and helping toddlers learn basic concepts. While the technology certainly isn't yet mature, research is underway to support social learning and provide customized feedback to learners. We might broaden this category to focus on intelligent tutoring systems, which provide personalized guidance to learners based on models of expertise--see, for instance, the use of embedded assessments and feedback in the Open Learning Initiative, - lisaspiro lisaspiro
  • Smartpens such as the LiveScribe, which allows users to record lectures and conversations, take notes, and create indices that link their notes to exact spots in the recording. Such an approach to notetaking may help students focus on the lesson and review key points later. LiveScribe has been getting a lot of press from the NY Times, Wired, and The Atlantic- lisaspiro lisaspiro I would love to address this topic. There are applications into the creative space as well that would be fascinating to consider. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 5, 2010 Also, while LiveScribe has been getting the press, the technology driving it has been used for awhile in enterprise solutions that mainly do OCR of notes without the audio element that LiveScribe has. But LiveScribe brought the price point down for consumers and has really hastened the adoption of this. Cool technology. - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 16, 2010 We have also had some interesting use of LiveScribe pens with a cohort of science students having to use them for all of their math and science computations - definitely a key topic - crista.copp crista.copp Oct 17, 2010
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces Technology that provides direct human-computer connectivity. While the full potential of this type of technology is not yet available, the promise of digital interaction between artificial systems and humans is intriguing, if not controversial. It would be good to start to build an awareness of this technology as the beginning of its emergence, as the possible impact within education, and major academic integrity issues that will follow, are sure to be raised. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 5, 2010 Emotiv on TED and the website - Nick Nick Oct 11, 2010 I agree. This is a promising area. See,2845,2359071,00.asp - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 16, 2010 The TED Emotiv piece is absolutely amazing. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 17, 2010 Some are now connecting to our mobiles and have an API to enable further app development - alanwolf alanwolf Oct 17, 2010. An important category that is likely to catch us unprepared--needs to be on main list, I think. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010
  • xWeb / the web of data People are jockeying to do the next Tim O-Reilley and coin what comes after Web 2.0 (it does not look like it will be 3.0) George Siemens makes an interesting case for xWeb "xWeb is the utilization of smart, structured data drawn from our physical and virtual interactions and identities to extend our capacity to be known by others and by systems." which might be seen here as a bit of Semantic Web, a bit of Augmented Reality, maybe some Visualiztion. But we are moving from a web of content (web pages/media) to a web that reaches farther than web servers to connect large sets of data with mobile devices in the world. New capabilities appear when we allow data to move from one place to another, to create new sets of meaning. In education, this might include the Learning Analytics discussed above, but also maybe a new field of data architecture and making meaning of it. - alan alan Oct 18, 2010
  • Near Field Communication: Near-Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range, high-frequency wireless communication technology that lets devices exchange information if they are within about 4" of each other. An extension of RFID, it is used to allow mobiles to communicate with one another. (See Wikipedia entry.) Rationale: NFC is listed in several of the mobile technologies to watch lists for 2010 and 2011, and is beginning to appear in mobile apps already. It can be used to exchange information between devices, to send information to a device (like passive advertising, or advertising where the receiver points the mobile at the source and accepts the transfer), or as a contactless card reader for the exchange of ID information or currency, for example. Discussion: NFC is an enabling technology, or one that supports other applications. In and of itself, it's not an emerging technology for education, but it might be a good candidate to watch on the enabling technologies list. - ninmah ninmah Oct 15, 2010 Yes, I think we will see more of this soon. - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 16, 2010 I do not see this overtaken Bluetooth because it may not be readily available to users globally - Olufemi.Olubodun Olufemi.Olubodun Oct 19, 2010
  • Tactile Interfaces More sophisticated haptic and sensory technology in consumer devices - Several patents and emerging technologies are pointing towards the near future when we will have more tactile feedback from our touchscreens and devices. See these articles: and and and This is related to gesture based computing but incorporates more sensory feedback. - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 16, 2010 Haptics are only beginning to find their strengths. An important category. 1287408257]* **Lecture capture**, which 61% of the respondents to the 2010 Campus Computing Survey identified as an "important part of our campus plan for developing and delivering instructional content," seems to be a "now" technology ([[ Through lecture capture, universities can reach larger audiences, enable students to review course lectures or catch up on classes that they missed, and allow instructors to restructure classes so that students watch lectures on their own time and spend class time discussing core concepts or working on exercises or projects. - lisaspiro lisaspiro This seems IMHO a technology that has arrived; not clear what is emerging or new about this - alan alan Oct 18, 2010 Agree - Larry Larry Oct 18, 2010
  • SSD Storage Solutions We are starting to move toward solid state storage solutions that provide much faster access times and more durability. As prices fall and capaciites rise, expect to see these in many devices in several years. Currently, some hybrid SSD and HDD models offer fast access and boot times but give you the capacity of a standard HDD. Seagate Momentus XD is one example. This type of solution bridges the storage and price gaps with full SSD. There is talk that a new form of the MacBook Air may have an SSD Card instead of a traditional form factor HD. This could point towards new storage solutions. The upshot is it will make our devices feel much faster, start up times will evaporate and durability will increase, both pluses for accessing information, especially in the field and on the go. - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 16, 2010 Is this more of an enabling technology? - Larry Larry Oct 18, 2010

Added to existing topic of Virtual Worlds:

  • Virtual Learning. The use of virtual environments for learning goes beyond the direct applications with students. It is finding a role related to the core strength of a virtual environments; the ability to provide something not possible in the real world. A key example of this is simulations. While nothing new, the application is valuable in the return gained, and within education, using virtual worlds to instructor instructors has a lot of potential and flexibility. It also can serve as a natural attractor into teaching of those with an interest and aptitude for innovations. If virtual learning is seen as an integrated component of overall learning rather than a proposed replacement for other forms of learning, it stands to become even more effective than it already is. Would love to see virtual learning and virtual worlds become key elements of digital storytelling and conceptual theatricality (or dramatic conceptualizations). [ED NOTE: Moved to RQ2 from RQ3]

Moved to Trends:
  • The Real Time Web is becoming increasingly more powerful and prevalent. - Real time web technologies are set to mature and expand having an impact on how we collect, use and consume information. This short ReadWriteWeb post about the keynote at RWW's Real-Time Web Summit in June gives some ideas with links to related articles. - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 16, 2010 Tim O'Reilly has spoken to this category in interesting ways in some recent IT Conversations podcasts. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010 -- //ED NOTE: Moved to trends, RQ3. - Larry Larry Oct 18, 2010