external image HR08cover.gif Technologies Highlighted in the 2008 Horizon Report

Listed below are the six technologies highlighted in the 2008 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

Grassroots Video

Video is everywhere—and almost any device that can access the Internet can play (and probably capture) it. From user-created clips and machinima to creative mashups to excerpts from news or television shows, video has become a popular medium for personal communication. Editing and distribution can be done easily with affordable tools, lowering the barriers for production. Ubiquitous video capture capabilities have literally put the ability to record events in the hands of almost everyone. Once the exclusive province of highly trained professionals, video content production has gone grassroots.
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  • Video definitely hit campuses in a big way last year, and continues strong. Our best-attended workshops on the USC campus center on digital storytelling, using YouTube and basic video production and editing; attendees come from across the campus, from writing, art history, languages, chemistry, earth sciences and so on. The breadth of interest has required creating new taxonomies of video production and use depending on the wildly differing uses needed by faculty for research, classroom use, lecture enhancement and so on. (Holly Willis)

Collaboration Webs

In today’s workplace, be it in education or industry, it is not unusual for a typical work week to include a virtual meeting or conference. Tools to support collaborative online work are easy to find and uncomplicated to use. Any networked computer can serve as a multi-function videoconference room, a gateway to a gathering in a virtual world, or a joint workstation where several people can author the same documents together. Virtual collaboration has been made increasingly seamless by a host of complimentary developments in networking infrastructure, social networking tools, web applications, and collaborative workspaces.
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Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Mobile Broadband

Mobile devices have come a long way in the past few years. From portable (if bulky) telephones they became slim little cameras, audio recorders, digital video recorders, pocket datebooks, photo albums, and music players. Now they are video players, web browsers, document editors, news readers, and more. The technology and infrastructure have developed to the point where mobile devices are becoming essential tools, bringing the whole of the Internet and all your social connections to the palm of your hand.
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  • Mobile teaching and learning continue to grow with regard to the level of interest, but actual applications remain frustratingly beyond reach. We need examples, models, toolkits, etc. (Holly Willis)

Data Mashups

Overlay the location of every Flickr photo tagged with “bluejay” on a map of the United States and see where people are finding blue jays (http://www.flickr.com/map). See Twitter updates from your geographical area (http://www.twittermap.com) or follow the global progress of the public stream (http://www.twittervision.com). Each of these applications is a mashup: a combination of data from multiple sources in a single tool. Mashups have been around for several years, but in recent months they have captured greater interest, due in part to a broader exposure from their integration with social networking systems like Facebook. While most current examples are focused on the integration of maps with a variety of data, it is not difficult to picture broad educational and scholarly applications for mashups.
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Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Collective Intelligence

Two new forms of information stores are being created in real time by thousands of people in the course of their daily activities, some explicitly collaborating to create collective knowledge stores like the Wikipedia and Freebase, some contributing implicitly through the patterns of their choices and actions. The data in these new information stores has come to be called “collective intelligence” and both forms have already proven to be compelling applications of the network. Explicit knowledge stores refine knowledge through the contributions of thousands of authors; implicit stores allow the discovery of entirely new knowledge by capturing trillions of key clicks and decisions as people use the network in the course of their everyday lives.
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  • Collective intelligence remains a key concept, although some favor its alternate, "connective intelligence" (from media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer) and its emphasis on the connective possibilities of groups. And while collective intelligence challenges some of the key aspects of scholarship and the singular scholar's contributions, it will be interesting to see how campuses might deploy the notion, especially in light of the current financial crisis... (Holly Willis)

Social Operating Systems

Social networking systems have led us to a new understanding of how people connect. Relationships are the currency of these systems, but we are only beginning to realize how valuable a currency they truly are. The next generation of social networking systems—social operating systems—will change the way we search for, work with, and understand information by placing people at the center of the network. The first social operating system tools, only just emerging now, understand who we know, how we know them, and how deep our relationships actually are. They can lead us to connections we would otherwise have missed. As they develop further, these tools will transform the academy in significant ways we can only begin to imagine.
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