external image HR07cover.gifTechnologies highlighted in the 2007 Horizon Report

Listed below are the six technologies highlighted in the 2007 Horizon Report, with a short description of each. Where are they now? Are the horizons associated with them still accurate? What may have changed? Should they still be on our radar screens? Let us know your thoughts...

Where Are They Now?

Review past Horizon Reports to comment on how they have played out over time.

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

User Created Content

From classifying and tagging to creating and uploading, today’s “audience” is very much in control of the content we find online. This active audience is finding new ways to contribute, communicate, and collaborate, using a variety of small and easy tools that put the power to develop and catalog the Internet into the hands of the public. The largest and fastest-growing websites on the Internet are all making use of this approach, which is redefining how we think about the web and how it might be applied to learning.
  • Still think there is a problem with access by students especially in secondary schools to the use of these devices. My experience is that most of this is happening outside the classroom. [IB]
  • Our last round (just closed) of provincial funding explicitly called for proposals on projects with student created/co-created content. So this speaks a bit to its current reality. [SWL]
  • There still exists the approach 'insulate rather than educate' in the K-12 area. User created content within the walls of the school is happening in pockets globally. Some users are hampered by lack of access, some by lack of curriculum direction. Fear factor of not wanting to put the tools of creativity ultimately in the hands of the students. A lot of content being uploaded in parallel to classroom initiatives. Students are very aware of how and why but face a disassociation with teachers through not being encouraged generally to collaborate and create online. (JLindsay)
  • This is really taking off in some disciplines. However, it seems to be lagging in others. Even within our interdisciplinary communications program I am finding that our visual arts students are actively self-publishing content while international and critical studies students are slow to contribute. In some ways this seems like a natural affinity, however as user created content continues to develop we should look for ways to engage all students. [BS]
  • Many museums are venturing into forums where visitors/users can insert their opinions, thoughts and reactions to collections and exhibitions. As these experiments work, more are seeing the value of forums to showcase visitor voices. This is here to stay in the museum community. [SBS]
  • Indeed, this has taken off in some disciplines in general, and across disciplines at institutions that have embraced hosting solutions for learners to "practice and share" or have opened up access to externally-hosted solutions. However, success resides with those institutions that have embraced user generated and shared content as an authentic activity for learning, identifying effective places in the curriculum and strategies for assessment. And, they have developed support services focused on faculty adoption and learner success. Wider adoption relies on institutional support. [JKL]
  • At the Faculty of Land and Food Systems student created content is becoming more important. While we have had this type of content for years, we are just starting to consider where it goes (ePortfolio) and are still grappling with proper evaluation. I think this is still very much a hot topic [CL]
  • Increasingly important and moving forward with students being prosumers but the classifying/tagging and iterative tagging divergence and convergence is not happening. I wonder is this needs shifting now to "Folksonomies" on a later horizon? [NN]
  • User generated content definitely provides a way for users to express, communicate and share. However, we may not be able to tag it as learning content if it does not have some sort of assessment/evaluation value or criteria related to it, an editor-like automated or non-automaded task that filters the content for a particular purpose or requires following some guidelines (such as including sources, etc.). [EDL]
  • 'In-store' advertising channels are under development - for rocery and convenience stores, for bars and quick serve restaurants and other locations where young people have dwell time. Attention to these new media is strong initially; advertisers are recognizing that to retain 'eyeballs' the content must be both relevant, timely and personal to the audience. UGC - delivered at the local level - will potentially be the content that keeps 'eyeballs' directed at the screens so that the advertisers' messaages receive attention. Educational programs that leverage audience interest in creating and sharing can contribute content to these advertising channels. [MRussell]

Social Networking

The expectation that a website will remember the user is well established. Social networking takes this several steps further; the website knows who the user’s friends are, and may also know people that the user would like to meet or things the user would like to do. Even beyond that, social networking sites facilitate introduction and communication by providing a space for people to connect around a topic of common interest. These sites are fundamentally about community—communities of practice as well as social communities.
  • I agree that this is the strongest and most popular of the areas addressed. Systematic evalaution and research is needed for how the students are using these sites. I think we need to deconstruct/unpack the timing, availability, patterns of use etc to apply to education. [IB]
  • Not sure which institution-specific examples to point to, but Facebook now contains 300+ apps loosely categorized as "education" [SWL] *
  • This would be better served for education if it was called 'student networking' or 'educational networking'. The 'social' label is not indicative of how and where these tools are being used in education. Definitely a front runner for increased integration over the past 12 months. New tools and better interfaces have made this a valuable tool in the classroom. However, still much to be done in terms of best-practice approach for 'online learning communities' using social/educational networking platforms. (JLindsay)
  • JLIndsay brings up an interesting point. "Social" may continue to keep these tools at arms length for some to consider for instruction. However, the increasing number of applications in Facebook [SWL] and institutions adopting "flavors" of these tools for alumni development initiatives, might help us point to more uses in learning - especially if institutional tools designed for administrative purposes can be made available for educational purposes. [JKL]
  • The biggest hurdle I see with social networks is they aren't structured in the way that traditional educaiton is, there has to be a way to balance the chaos and fun in an educational facility. [JamieM]
  • Social Networking seems like it is just starting to be recognized. I suspect that connections between people will be followed by connections between people and content. We are already starting to see this in facebook. [CL]
  • Social Networking also very popular in Asia through multiple sites but integration with education is a long way off I suspect in this part of the world. [NN]
  • As a social network grows, trust diminishes, beign this the key to networking. I see social networks becoming more interest-specific for educational and learning purposes, as not only trust can be maintained, but also time saved, by narrowing the focus of the network and focusing it. [EDL]
  • Perhaps we focus more on the "networking" and not the "social" ?? e.g. Georgo Siemens' work on Connectivism http://www.connectivism.ca/ George also cites the effectiveness of social networking for people that are more geolocated - University of Manitoba has a local social networking system for students http://www.umanitoba.ca/virtuallearningcommons [AL]
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Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Mobile Phones

The convergence of ubiquitous broadband, portable devices, and tiny computers has changed our concept of what a phone is meant to be. A pocket-sized connection to the digital world, the mobile phone keeps us in touch with our families, friends, and colleagues by more than just voice. Our phones are address books, file storage devices, cameras, video recorders, wayfinders, and hand-held portals to the Internet—and they don’t stop there. The ubiquity of mobile phones, combined with their many capabilities, makes them an ideal platform for educational content and activities. We are only just beginning to take advantage of the possibilities they will offer.
  • We have used mobile phones this year and found them wonderful devices to share information, construct visual images and learning in a purely mobile way but unfortunately this was hampered by cost of SIM cards. Learning to the extent we required was prohibited by the cost. [IB]
  • Internationally costs of mobile phones and connectivity has dropped making them very viable tools for education. Still problems with attitudes towards mobile computing as a 'distraction' in the classroom rather than a resource to be tapped into. A one-tool-does-everything is emerging more. Call it a phone, a handheld etc it is one device that will put you online, store files, share files and be a work station and multimedia storer and creator. (JLindsay)
  • As institutions seek more pervasive emergency notification systems, their "nod" to mobile devices may open up the door for more applications connecting the user with the campus...to that end, connecting the learner with content and educational tools. [JKL]
  • Although the handset costs are dropping, there is much to be desired in terms of a 'developer' like phone plan that allows for a lot of testing/development including large amounts of txt messages and decent data plans for the more 'enhanced' phones. With these problems aside, the facility to carry around study notes in your pocket has many many advantages. [JamieM]
  • It may not be phones but some other 'phone-like' device that should occupy this category. I am intrigued by the N800 tablet from Nokia. The key features should be mobile, connected, location based and social [CL] Fully agree [EDL]
  • Differing standards and mobile OS's seem to be hindering a concerted campus-wide initiative in some parts of Asia. [NN]
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Virtual Worlds

In the last year, interest in virtual worlds has grown considerably, fueled in no small part by the tremendous press coverage of examples like Second Life. Campuses and businesses have established locations in these worlds, much as they were creating websites a dozen years ago. In the same way that the number and sophistication of websites grew very quickly as more people began to browse, virtual locations will become more common and more mature as the trend continues. Virtual worlds offer flexible spaces for learning and exploration—educational use of these spaces is already underway and growing.
  • SecondLife is going to start looking increasingly like the flash in the pan it was, but other stronger contenders will emerge (one based on the 2nd life open source client). This will all get largely displaced by virtual overlays on the real world (cf. Vigne's Rainbows End) by the end of the decade ;-) [SWL]
  • Virtual Worlds such as second Life are still so out there, still such an oddity (almost science-fiction) in terms of K-12 education that they do not rate a mention really. Best practice has been shown with educator professional development within a virtual world. Great fun, interesting technology, but bandwidth cybercitizen issues and other attitudes preventing any real takeup.(JLindsay)
  • Some institutions, their faculty, and students are investing wonderful energy developing and designing learning environments that replicate or simulate real world applications. Many institutions don't have that type of investment capital. Continuing to share with the higher ed community what types of opportunties might be available, continuing to develop with the community in mind - open access and use, will help more folks understand the potential of learning in virtual worlds. [JKL]
  • this feels like it got away from us. I am not fully convinced about virtual but like Augmented. I am still very curious about open source (Croquet) [CL]
  • Three things will impact on this: a) a really robust, scalable, open-source platform solution being available (SL is not robust or scalable enough but it could easily be), b) interoperability standards and c) enterprises working out the real added-value of these environments (I think we are starting to see enterprises get to grips with the real added value of virtual worlds and IBM is a key player in this aspect. If these three thigns come together, then the original horizon may be ok. If they don't soon, then I think we are looking further away and things will morph (e.g. a mashup of different input devices + virtual worlds + physical world representations in 3D like Google Earth) .. but I still believe they are here to stay. [NN]
  • Agree with NM and believe that technical and level of expertise requirements are being an obstacle to SL, as it could be an excellent environment for learning purposes, but it is not at this point accessible by all. [EDL]
  • I've been using Qwaq Forums (www.qwaq.com) for about 6 months - for demonstration, idea sharing, and presentation. It's advantages over Second Life include permissions, privacy, and extensibility. Essentially, the computer desktop is an extention of the virtual environment - or vice versa. It make sharing very easy. [MRussell}

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

New Scholarship

The time-honored activities of academic research and scholarly activity have benefited from the explosion of access to research materials and the ability to collaborate at a distance. At the same time, the processes of research, review, publication, and tenure are challenged by the same trends. The proliferation of audience- generated content combined with open-access content models is changing the way we think about scholarship and publication—and the way these activities are conducted.
  • the models on how to do this are changing faster than the recognition and rewards structures (which will present real risks the longer it takes in relation to incoming young prospective faculty.) [SWL]
  • The juxtaposition of audience and creator is evolving to include a more merged picture. Nervousness once again exists when students have access to online tools for publication, issues such as integrity, authenticity. A backlash is being seen, back to face-to-face hand-written assessment and validation, lack of confidence in other modes of delivery, inability to value multimedia as a valid form of communication. (Jlindsay)
  • Recognition of scholarly activity resides at the committee level of the p&t process. Until committee's are provided with institutional guidelines that recognize activity supported by digital technologies, this will continue to move slowly. As SWL notes above, this is as risk given the knowledge, talents, and expectations the new professorate is and continues to bring to higher ed. [JKL]
  • Important.. but still in the 5 year (or more) category [CL]
  • Agree with all the comments above but entrenched attitudes and practices globally make me feel this will be longer than 5 years unless something externally dramatically shakes the higher education system in that next 2-3 years. [NN]
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Massively Multiplayer Educational Gaming

The term “serious games” has been coined to describe games that have an educational purpose and non- entertainment goals. Educators are taking a hard look at one type of serious game, massively multiplayer educational games, and finding strong potential for teaching and learning. These games are still time- consuming and often expensive to produce, but practical examples can easily be found. Interest is high and developments in the open-source arena are bringing them closer to mainstream adoption year by year.
  • Not sure why we went from "educational gaming" in 2006 to "Massively Multiplayer Educational Gaming" in 2007 when we didn't seem to be doing the former. Maybe it sounds cooler? (This is another that's been on the list for a while now.) Video games educate. "Massively Multiplayer Online Games" educate massively. But are they learning what we 'want' them to learn? Formal education's ability to harness the pleasure of play in games seems increasingly suspect. So it's not that it can't be done or won't be done. Just not sure higher ed will do it. [SWL]
  • Gaming is still seen as suspect in terms of educational value in a K-12 environment. More importantly there are very few best-practice models to follow of integration. Yes, it is there, students revel in networked gaming and are engaged and inspired but how do we bring this into our everyday curriculum? (JLindsay)
  • not convinced still [CL]
  • also still not convinced of this, even with mainstream additions like Spore. [NN]
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