Research Questions

Where we brainstorm the broad collection of items to consider...

PROCESS: Please enter your responses to the research question by adding to the list below, most easily done by moving yor cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. You may list as many items as you wish (and we hope you will!), but please list each item separately -- that is, if you say wish to list widget1, process2, and idea3 as important, please list each item as a separate bullet point, as we will be rank ordering these later.

Please indicate your work by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is update like - alan alan Aug 7, 2009

Research Question Five - Trends

What trends do you expect to have a significant impact on the ways in which learning-focused institutions approach our core missions of teaching, research, and service?

Compose your entries like:
  • Trend Name. Add your ideas like this with few sentences description including full URLs for references e.g. And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ characters!

  • "Everyone" seems to be on Facebook. Love it or hate it, their explosive growth (from 20 to 60 million users in less than a year) is hard to ignore. - alan alan Sep 6, 2009 -- Even at work; see - ninmah ninmah Sep 17, 2009 Not sure what to make of this trend...are there implications for learning or creative inquiry? - Larry Larry Oct 2, 2009 I agree that there is an explosive rate of growth in Facebook use, but if we consider where that growth may come from - a 276% growth in users age 35-54 (, there might be a potential for a decline in the younger users in the near future. Just a thought. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 3, 2009 I'd also like to point out that "everyone" trends towards more privileged and primarily white and Asian populations in the States. Whenever I go to immigrant communities, communities of color, and more urban environments, I'm always struck by how prevalent MySpace still is. Let's not lose site of the diversity of SNSs and the race and class-based implications of what technologies we see. - danahboyd danahboyd Oct 4, 2009 Is it possible that facebook is training "everyone" up for the next thing (or the next iteration of Facebook)? This is good though as it results in a more literate general population. Facebook is training wheels for the internet. - cyprien cyprien Oct 4, 2009
  • We expect to be connected where-ever we go. Whether it is wireless network access, mobile networks, and the ones that like in between like MiFi , as we go about the world, we want to get and give information (this is not ignoring the side effects of disconnected connectedness). - alan alan Sep 6, 2009 - ninmah ninmah Sep 17, 2009 The June 2009 Nielsen report "How Teens Use Media" ( indicate that teens are readily adopting the capabilities of smart phones beyond the obvious usage of texting. They are looking at these devices to be the means for immediate access to their personal information, multi-level communication, and interaction with the world around them at all times. As educators, we should carefully examine how we want to address the presence and usage of these devices. If 77% of kids actively select texting as a primary communication tool, we might want to find ways to leverage to leverage this rather than banning it. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 3, 2009 Even where smartphones aren't kicking in, it's impressive to see how handhelds like the iPhone Touch expect connectivity. Important to consider as we think about national broadband. - danahboyd danahboyd Oct 4, 2009. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Oct 5, 2009 - I think with the increase in complexity of mobile devices and the reduction in their size we should start seeing mobile devices and wearable devices take over as the standard. The cost is the biggest factor in devices like this for education and will take some years before they are attainable to the majority of students. - J-Madden J-Madden Oct 6, 2009
  • Leveraging Knowledge Management is more and more critical. Systems and Digital Repository Data .... Beyond Archiving ... Essential institutional repository collections have reached useful mass. Architecture and metadata standards (XML/DC) are becoming transferable and compatible. What new knowledge will be uncovered when/if we aggregate, analyze, and make sense of emerging (disparate) content/data. Examples.. study of Literature via semantic data analysis, and merged integrated data sets for analysis from like repository collections in remote locations. Discussion For Images (carried over from 2009 Horizon Wiki)
  • Engaged Citizenship is increasingly enabled by technology Political awareness, engagement and value added learning. Mobile technologies and new media has the possibility to improve youth civic participation and social inclusion, especially in sustainable and environmental matters. Moreover, the increasing opportunity of embedding electronics media and Wi-Fi connectivity into the urban fabric allows new forms of social and civic engagement. . This is a cross-post to Research Ques. 4, but perhaps applies here: Adapting teaching and learning innovation to meet the needs of millennial and neo-millennial learners; to widen the learner’s ‘educational bandwidth’ by emphasizing critical inquiry and mental flexibility; to connect learners to broad social issues through civic engagement and to encourage them to apply their learning to solve large-scale complex problems. See: “College Learning for the New Global Century: A report from the National Leadership Council for Liberal Education & America’s Promise”, published by AACU : jasonr jasonr Oct 1, 2009 - bdieu bdieu Agreed. Students on campus tend to be more socially conscious and activist minded than in previous decades. There is also a growing participation in study abroad programs. So, improved technology will act to facilitate and foster student involvement. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 3, 2009
  • There will be new metrics for evaluating scholarly authority based not only on citations, but also reader ratings, mentions on blogs, tags assigned to an article, links to article, etc. See Michael Jensen, The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority We need to beware that the metrics can be easily manipulated by the authors themselves. There's a need to impact learning more profoundly, accreditation by ratings may not solve the problem (carried over from 2009 Horizon Wiki) Fully agree, I believe there will be a trend for recognizing non-official qualifications and giving it more weight and value than traditional ones. A degree from, for example, Google, may have, depending on the expertise, more value than from MIT. Valuable non-official acreditations will be a trend (article Who Needs Harvard). - Eva Eva Oct 5, 2009
  • Software development is becoming quicker and easier, leading to smaller, more experimental apps and speeding up the pace of innovation and exploration. Apps for the web and for mobiles are easier to create than ever before, and we are seeing a lot of quick successes and flops (consider the 54% of iPhone apps that are adopted by 1,000 or fewer people). The time from idea to market is shortening, meaning that more ideas actually make it to the marketplace. - ninmah ninmah Sep 17, 2009 Include open source platforms such as Drupal and Joomla here as well. - bryantt bryantt Sep 30, 2009- bdieu bdieu The iPhone is a fantastic example and success story. And definitely, we shouldn't forget the continued open source trends and availability of a variety of development platforms. jMonkey Engine ( is an intriguing gaming engine that could provide student developers an solid option for browser-based 3D gaming. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 3, 2009
  • More and more, people expect to be able to work, learn, study, and connect with their social networks wherever and whenever they want to. People aren't tied to desks anymore when they want to use computers. Workers increasingly expect to be able to work from home or from the road, and most everyone expects to be able to get information, addresses, directions, reviews, and answers whenever they want. Mobile access to information is changing how we plan everything from outings to errands. - ninmah ninmah Sep 17, 2009 In fact, within the next eight years, researchers expect that broadband video traffic will account for over seventy-five percent of mobile use: - Sonja Sonja Sep 24, 2009 suggestion: link this point to the first one above (Facebook) as it has to do with a networked mobile mind - bdieu bdieu There is also a 24/7 aspect to this: more and more, people are expected to be online anywhere, anytime. Peers, customers and employers expect short-term availability and replies. This is great when it works for all involved but can also lead to pressure- helga helga Oct 5, 2009
  • The location where files and applications are stored is becoming more nebulous. Recently, we have been storing more of our data and applications in the cloud, moving from personal, individual computers to networked ones that can be accessed from anywhere. New tools are emerging that allow us to work with a kind of hybrid storage space. One example, Dropbox ( is cloud storage that also keeps local copies up-to-date, creating a space that is both local and networked and that can be shared between as many computers (and people) as desired. - ninmah ninmah Sep 17, 2009Another example is Open Source EyeOs, the Cloud's Web Desktop: - bdieu bdieu The entire need for LAN infrastructure become debatable. Final hurdle may be school ERP. Desktop virtualization demo. (Michael Roy was looking for interested schools for a pilot via NITLE listserv) Google Mail and ITunesU - bryantt bryantt Sep 21, 2009 - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 3, 2009 As asset distribution becomes more diffuse, asset management is becoming more of a challenge. "Where is my stuff?" and "what is the definitive version?” are frequent questions. Digital archiving and tracking continue to evolve. - billshewbridge billshewbridge Oct 4, 2009. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Oct 5, 2009 The whole notion of a "digital asset" is being challenged... - amichaelberman amichaelberman Oct 5, 2009
  • The location where applications are run is becoming more nebulous. With services like Amazon's EC2 (and S3) anyone has access to almost limitless amounts of processing power. By breaking problems / applications up so that they can run on cloud based services, old familiar applications and new types of applications are possible. this could be within reach of the technically adept but should be available to student workgroups in time. - cyprien cyprien Oct 4, 2009
  • Decentralization of Technologies is expanding- As more cloud-based technologies are used, the less users can expect tight integration with campus infrastructure -- not that we have ever really reached this expectation. Users are being drawn to tightly integrated cloud suites, which compete with campus solutions (ie campus email and calendars) when they are using collaborative writing tools (Google Docs). Some campuses are moving to solutions like Google for Higher Ed, to address this trend, while others are trying to compete, or find ways to build connections. - timmodugdale timmodugdale Sep 22, 2009 Freeing up valuable institutional technology resources by moving utilities like email, calendaring, etc. to outsourcers can provide more focus on developing the initiatives and programs needed to keep up with and challenge the expectation of students now in the years to come. Additionally, moving to a cloud solution for other applications and file handling provides flexibility for the internal requirements of the technology infrastructure. If your laptop dies, you don't miss a beat. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 4, 2009
  • Abundance of Resources and Relationships induced by open resources and social networks is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching and credentialing. See A HARVEST TOO LARGE? A FRAMEWORK FOR EDUCATIONAL ABUNDANCE in Opening Up Education. MIT Press; Also see P2P University at vkumar vkumar Sep 27, 2009
  • Students are increasingly seen as Collaborators, and there is more Cross-Campus Collaboration: Using collaborative technologies, students are taking project based learning to the next level, working with faculty and students at other institutions to create online resources that demonstrate their learning and contribute to public knowledge. Of course, students have been working with faculty on research projects for a long time, especially in the sciences--but now research projects are involving more people and are becoming more public. For example, through the Looking for Whitman project, students at 4 different universities are studying Whitman's work in relation to where he (and they) lived, sharing a common blog space and collaborating on projects such as annotating Whitman's poetry. The project uses commonly available technologies such as WordPress and Flickr. Michael Wesch has been working with students in research groups focused on "digital ethnography," producing videos about YouTube and research about internet anonymity: and - lisaspiro lisaspiro Sep 30, 2009 - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 4, 2009
  • Academic Institutions are increasingly viewed as Sources for Public Information - Will the increased creation of open content from our institutions and the decline of many traditional journalistic sources mean an increase in the role of universities and colleges as information providers, both internationally and locally? Futurity is the result of research university concerns that science is no longer covered to a great degree in traditional media. Newstrust a non-profit news organization is well represented by academia as well. As a generally trusted source of information, universities and colleges can step into this space, increase ties with their community and publicize their work. - bryantt bryantt Sep 29, 2009 - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 3, 2009 Unless we fail to do so, preferring to do our digital work in silos.- bryan bryan Oct 5, 2009
  • Ability to harness and manage information for the benefit of creating knowledge is increasingly difficult - Users on the Web are facing avalanches of data and, as social networks roar into higher gear, this information becomes a bigger landslide. Learning how to harness this river of information and to sip from it constructively to find and utilize the best parts for sharing, teaching, learning and gaining knowledge will be important. This will essentially involve building a dam that can generate your own knowledge electricity from this river of information we now have at our fingertips. Parts of this equation include digital literacy with certain technologies, both hardware and software, but the bigger picture will be creatively using these technologies to organize information for use in learning environments, whether mobile or in a classroom, whether individual or a group. Right now the web feels like information overload and we are just now getting our heads around where we need to go next for organizing all of this down to a personal, human level of understanding. The Semantic Web, analysis of large datasets, the ability to organize, edit and use various medias (text,video, audio, images), the combined use of information aggregation technologies and browsers as others have mentioned are all trends that will have a significant impact in learning institutions and the students in them ultimately learn. Australia's Mark Pesce has some interesting posts at his blog about some of these issues. also see main blog for current - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 1, 2009. Sftware which helps organizing ideas and linking/networking data - bdieu bdieu- lisaspiro lisaspiro Oct 4, 2009 The Brain is awesome! (Bryan) Two thoughts.

  1. Fears of information overload might be more significant than the actual thing itself. People in education can feel overwhelmed any new form or example of digital technologies. It isn't the nature of any particular service, but the gestalt feeling of the whole cybercultural tide rushing along. This can lead people to quietly not use technologies, and to not support others.
  2. Every historical moment where humans have felt information overload has seen another reaction: the development of tools or practices to deal with it. Some of those go mainstream. Think of marginal annotations, the cyclopedia and encyclopedia, book cataloging, indexes. So now, all around us, which tools are tomorrow's mainstream coping devices?- bryan bryan Oct 5, 2009

    I dunno... it's so much easier to find information now than 10 or 20 or 30 years ago.... the world's knowledge may be growing but it's become radically more accessible. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Oct 5, 2009

  • The real-time web is emerging as an important way to measure what is happening in real time - One of the many emergent phenomena in Twitter is the idea of the real-time web, in which a global short-messaging service allows trending topics or actions to be visible so rapidly and ubiquitously that it approaches a kind of free-form global polling. And of course the visibility of what's trending then drives more activity, more responses, with the happy outcome of greater participation and the unhappy outcome of a self-propagating feedback loop. Though the effect is most pronounced in microblogging, it's not limited to that form. When bloggers post within minutes of a major event, then tweet links to the blog, the blogs become a kind of real-time journalism. Seeing what other YouTube users are watching *now* will have similar feedback effects on trending videos. Understanding the real-time web and using it most effectively and benignly in teaching and learning will be a great challenge and opportunity. This one could go in research question one as well (and I may put it there to see if folks agree).- gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 2, 2009 Increasingly important to grow an awareness of the information cycle, effect of echo chamber, how to read patterns and the impact of this real time information (the link here is to an old video- a new one should be made showing the effect of new technology - bdieu bdieu
  • Millicomputing is coming - "What would you do with an always on, always connected laptop capacity millicomputer in your pocket?" Adrian Cockroft defines a "millicomputer" as a device that consumes less than one watt of power and can be carried in a pants pocket without burning your leg. Within two years, he predicts, such devices will be able to encode/decode four streams of HD video, will contain over 100GB of storage, will be as fast as today's notebooks, and will become not only web clients but web servers. His vision is compelling, and the chips are already in production. This kind of power in iPhone-esque mobile computers will blur the line between offline and online activities more powerfully than anything this side of a CPU implant. Powerful concept, powerful implications. The podcast from EComm 2008 is a must-listen: . Slideshare slides here: Cockroft blogs in multiple locations. The main topic blog is here: Cockroft's corporate-related blog here (he works for Netflix): Cockroft's personal blog here: - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 2, 2009
  • Social reading is emerging as a new form of what was once a solitary activity. - E-book platforms such as the Kindle and its successors will make marking, commenting on, and sharing favorite bits of books easier than ever before. Collaborative commenting affordances such as Diigo and VoiceThread will also play a part in this revolution. The result will be a new kind of reading in which quotation and conversation, analysis and commentary, will be social phenomena on a wide scale. Teaching and learning will struggle to adapt to the speed of the exchange, the potentially troubling ways in which writing will easily pop loose from context, but also the ways in which close readings of complex texts will become part of the texts themselves, almost like Scriptural commentaries such as the Glossa Ordinaria. The balance between commentary and text will shift dramatically and visibly.- gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 2, 2009 See reading and study groups: - bdieu bdieu Excellent point. Check The Institute for the Future of the Book's idea of the networked book. Cf also our discussion of literacy and reading in other questions. - bryan bryan Oct 5, 2009I won't create a separate category for it but extend the idea to social creation - such as participatory filmmaking- jgetman jgetman Oct 6, 2009
  • Crowdsourcing is seen as increasingly relevant and valuable - The emergence of services like Aardvark to leverage social networks to get answers to questions is one example of how crowd sourcing may emerge as a powerful tool. - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 2, 2009 Very cool! - Larry Larry Oct 2, 2009 Crowdsourcing in Translation see: and in Brazil, the open project Adote um Parágrafo (Adopt a Paragraph), which gathers volunteers to translate into Portuguese important texts about media and the internet - bdieu bdieu Also see nFluent, a translation system being developed at IBM. Their translation engine translates pages as they load in real time and people can highlight incorrectly translated words, and offer correct translations. Crowdsourcing approach.Designed to allow peple of different nationalities to communicate with each other in their native language, primarily through short messages which are received in the destination language. First, Doctors without borders, now Twitter without borders ! - jpj100 jpj100 Oct 3, 2009- lisaspiro lisaspiro Oct 4, 2009
  • The college function is disaggregating. While a college is much more than the courses it offers, the intersection of customizable social spaces (a la Ning), with new mechanisms and metrics for evaluating scholarly authority (see above), with similarly new mechanisms and metrics for evaluating course quality (e.g., the crude first steps taken by Rate My Professors and the like), with affordable online courses that are not linked to a single institution (see, for instance, spells out a future where high-quality education and diplomas may not be linked to single brick-and-mortar institutions.- rubenrp rubenrp Oct 3, 2009 Can we learn anything from historical parallels? Example: Webster's Dictionary, which leached authority from classroom teachers. Example: the 1950s NSF-funded science films, designed to bypass bad science teaching. - bryan bryan Oct 5, 2009. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Oct 5, 2009
  • Accreditation and standards. Greater expectations on learning outcomes and how this will be measured and evaluated – an increased need for a flexible, interactive ePortfolio system. Perhaps we need to look at how health is addressing “wellness”. - wshapiro wshapiro Oct 4, 2009 - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 4, 2009. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Oct 5, 2009 Accreditation and disaggregation are related - once we focus on outcomes rather than inputs, how you get there becomes less important. I think this is one of the fundamental reasons many faculty have been suspicious of accreditation. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Oct 5, 2009
  • Personal expression, respect and collaboration.More than ever, students need to learn how to respect other opinions while contributing their own. There needs to be greater effort in the inclusion of multiple points of view.- wshapiro wshapiro Oct 4, 2009
  • Internationalization – Language translation. Google has added a “translator gadget” powered by Google Translate, which will translate the contents of a web page in 51 available languages. Of course, it’s only as good as Google Translate, which can sometimes give unusual results. But it is good enough to give a foreign language speaker a general idea of what is on the page: - wshapiro wshapiro Oct 4, 2009
  • Modifiable technology – with more and more open source capabilities students and teachers will be able to modify the technologies to fit their needs. For instance, open source cameras - [[ wshapiro wshapiro Oct 4, 2009]] What about open source hardware like Bug Labs & Arduino - cyprien cyprien Oct 4, 2009
  • Technologies for participation by the disabled. A large number of challenged students cannot currently be educated in our existing classrooms. A large number of technologies are in development to bring these students to participate in the learning process that non-physically-challenged students have available. These technologies include several new technologies in development aimed at restoring partial vision to the blind, as more than 3.3 million Americans 40 and over, or about one in 28, are blind or have vision so poor that even with glasses, medicine or surgery, everyday tasks are difficult, according to the National Eye Institute, a federal agency. That number is expected to double in the next 30 years. Worldwide, about 160 million people are similarly affected. For technologis mentioned above, they are comprehensively reported in . Other examles are: using avatars to translate speech into sign language for the hearing impaired as in ,
    augmenting people's physical strength as taught in , etc. Game technologies are also being developed for people with mental challenges like autism, although autistic people have found a kind of freedom through technology. Autism is not a disease, they say, but a way of life. See or - jpj100 jpj100 Oct 4, 2009 Accessibility should be a given for all systems and content. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 4, 2009
  • Tension between the gift economy and the real world. How far can one go towards using social media and technologies for good before the need to cover costs, break even and pay back your investors changes your business model? When does 'free' become less attractive merely inexpensive - cyprien cyprien Oct 4, 2009 Anyone remember FreePC? NetZero? In business, "free" is a strategy, not a religion. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Oct 5, 2009
  • The gap between students and staff/faculty persists. Digital natives vs digital immigrants, the net.generation - one of the hottest topics on campuses, and the subject of ongoing research. Broadly sketched, there's a gap between the digital worlds of traditional-age students (18-21) and campus staff. It's been around for a while, and seems to keep on coming. There are tons of exceptions and nuances, gradually being realized, but the division persists. It impacts nearly everything, from interface design to lab support, campus PR to the use of shared spaces.- bryan bryan Oct 5, 2009. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Oct 5, 2009 The division may persist and will always persist, unless we change the role of the faculty into that of the mentor, providing guidance, not necessarily "knowing more", but helping students make choices, have criteria, etc.(The importance of Mentors, Higher Ed) - Eva Eva Oct 5, 2009 The Speak Up Project though focused on K12 students and the Digital Disconnect that is very real in K12 schools right now between students and the adults in their learning world can provide some important insights for the higher education environment. Today's high school students are college freshman very soon! In the national findings released in March 2009 we pioneered a concept that the students are in fact functioning as a "digital advance team" and that if we pay close attention to how the students are using the emerging tools and applications in their personal lives, it will provide a tech trends road map of sorts for education uses. In the past 6 years we have seen a strong path emerge that supports this premise. Read more at to learn what we are seeing in the K12 arena and what perceptions and expectations these students may bring to higher education in the very near future. Yes, that Digital Disconnect is still very alive and well. - jevans jevans Oct 5, 2009 My perception is that its much worse than it was just a few years ago - the students have been changing so much faster than the faculty. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Oct 5, 2009
  • Focused Education. As time becomes an even bigger commodity, there is an increased need for focusing on one's needs to achieve desired objectives. Current educational systems offer a broad education with little feedback and practice, helping shape the person overall, but pulling the person away from his or her needs, and diminishing motivation to learn. New learning paths and dynamics will appear, differentiating themselves from the institution, being more flexible to the person's needs and capabilities. Interesting articleabout future trends. - Eva Eva Oct 5, 2009
  • Creative persons in Education leadership roles. As education is becoming more stagnant with old formats and processes and figuring out how to integrate new technologies and needs into old systems, creative people can help shape the future of education, see education from a different perspective, find solutions to motivate and engage students, faculty and staff, and find ways for reaching the desired objectives in a more efficient and enjoyable way. This would also mean the entrance of non-academic people into leadership roles. Book by Cropley. - Eva Eva Oct 5, 2009 General support for this trend across many sectors comes from people like Daniel Pink who writes about emerging attributes for success in Whole New Mind.- jgetman jgetman Oct 6, 2009
  • The death of newspapers. Higher ed institutions have multiple symbiotic relationships with newspapers, from community communications to advertising connections. The disappearance of newspapers poses challenges related to these relationships, but also opens up new opportunities: could colleges/universities assume portions of the social and political functions now carried out by newspapers and traditional journalists? Could they introduce new ways of carrying them out?- rubenrp rubenrp Oct 5, 2009 Very good articles have been written in newspapers about the death of newspapers. See for example in apanel of futurists at USC in 2008 they agreed that in 2018 practically nobody would read newspapers. Here is my illustration of 2018's "nobody is reading a newspaper "nobody_reads_newspapers.jpg - jpj100 jpj100 Oct 5, 2009
  • We're not as rich as we thought we were. The wealthy nations of the world are not as wealthy as we thought. Trillions of dollars of paper wealth have evaporated in the last year. We still haven't come to grips with what this means. In technology, I believe it's going to bring a new focus on long-term value and at the same time a new conservativism that will be a challenge to innovation. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Oct 5, 2009
  • Sustainability. More and more we understand that we have to evaluate the impact of our technologies on the future of the climate of the earth. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Oct 5, 2009

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