6 Technologies That Will Change Higher Education

6 technologies that will change higher educationThe New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) have jointly released the tenth NMC Horizon Report 2013 Higher Education Edition. This annual report describes the findings of ongoing research projects designed to identify new technologies that are likely to impact education in the coming years. In years past, crazy new-fangled items like ‘the internet’ and ‘laptop computers’ have topped the lists of would-be technology winners. This year, the Horizon Report has identified 6 technologies that will change higher education.

The report identifies the technologies, and then separates them into three timeframes (called Horizons) that they think will match when each technology will enter mainstream use. Larry Johnson, chief executive officer of the NMC, released a statement about the report, saying, “Campus leaders and practitioners across the world use the report as a springboard for discussion around significant trends and challenges.” This year, “…the biggest trend identified by the advisory this year reflects the increasing adoption of openness on and beyond campuses, be it in the form of open content or easy access to data. This transition is promising, but there is now a major need for content curation.”

The group has identified MOOCs and tablet computing as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon (timeframe of one year or less), games/gamification and learning analytics for the second horizon (two to three years), and 3-D printing and wearable technologies for the third horizon (4-5 years).

ELI Director Malcolm Brown highlights the importance of the report and trend identification:  “The NMC Horizon Report goes beyond simply naming technologies; it offers examples of how they are being used, which serves to demonstrate their potential. The report also identifies the trends and challenges that will be key for learning across all three adoption horizons. This makes the Horizon Report essential for anyone planning the future of learning at their institution.”

While you’re welcome to download and peruse the whole 44 page report from the NMC website, we’ve decided just to highlight the key trends that they’ve identified to get you thinking.

Key Trends – 2013

  • Openness — concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information — is becoming a value.
  • Massively open online courses are being widely explored as alternatives and supplements to traditional university courses.
  • The workforce demands skills from college graduates that are more often acquired from informal learning experiences than in universities.
  • There is an increasing interest in using new sources of data for personalizing the learning experience and for performance measurement.
  • The role of educators continues to change due to the vast resources that are accessible to students via the Internet.