Horizon Report and Mobile Learning

September 26, 2011 — Leave a comment

This is an update of the original post that only went as far as Horizon 2010 ACU Connected blog:

Since 2002, the New Media Consortium (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative have held an ongoing series of conversations and dialogs with hundreds of technology professionals, campus technologists, faculty leaders from colleges and universities, and representatives of leading corporations. This process is formally called the Horizon Project, and the project’s Advisory Board considers the results of these dialogs and also looks at a wide range of articles, published and unpublished research, papers, and websites to generate a list of technologies, trends, challenges, and issues that knowledgeable people in technology industries, higher education, and museums are thinking about and compiles the resulting information into an annual Horizon Report.

The project uses qualitative research methods to identify the technologies selected for inclusion in each annual report, beginning with a survey of the work of other organizations and a review of the literature with an eye to spotting interesting emerging technologies. The Horizon Project expressly focuses on technologies not currently in widespread use in the Academy. In a typical year, 75 or more of these technologies may be identified for further investigation.

The Horizon Reports are a very good starting point for a discussion on mobile learning because they discuss emerging technology trends in direct relation to the needs of the learner. The following is a list in reverse chronological order of Horizon Reports summaries starting from the most recent, which was released in January of 2011, back to 2006. The first Horizon Report was released in 2004 but doesn’t have have any reference to mobile technologies, nor does the 2005 report, so neither are included in the summaries.

The key to viewing these summaries is to notice a significant pattern within the reports that points to mobile technologies as the foundation for most advances in the use of technology in education. For example, in the 2010 Horizon report all technologies to watch, except for the Visual Data Analysis,  are somewhat or totally dependent on mobile learning. Mobile technology is changing the way that we live and this is also changing the way that we learn. The following summary content was extracted from each respective year of the Horizon Report.

Notice the patterns and the significance of mobile technologies and learning in the following:

Horizon Report 2011Horizon Report 2011

Technologies to Watch:

Time-to-adoption: one Year or Less

  • Electronic Books
  • Mobiles

Time-to-adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Augmented Reality
  • Game-based Learning

Time-to-adoption: four to five Years

  • Gesture-Based Computing
  • Learning Analytic

Key Trends:

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing.
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to.
  • The world of work is increasingly collaborative, giving rise to reflection about the way student projects are structured.
  • The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.

Critical Challenges:

  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.
  • Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag behind the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching.
  • Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university.
  • Keeping pace with the rapid proliferation of information, software tools, and devices is challenging for students and teachers alike.

Reflections from the Mobile Learning Perspective:

Mobility is a technology to watch in a year or less for the past three years. The reason we are still looking to mobility as a technology to watch over the next year, and that many of the key trends have not changed, is that unlike PC technology which has an eighteen to twenty-four month processor upgrade cycle and much slower upgrade cycle on the OS and related software, mobile devices are advancing much more rapidly. We have seen a new and significantly improved version of the iPhone each year since its release in 2007 and the release of the iPad in spring of 2010 changed everything (to quote Apple) and changed it again in the Spring of 2011 with the release of the iPad 2. When you factor in the equally explosive and rapid growth in Android phones and tablets the impact of mobility society is unlike anything else we have seen.

The publishers have also recognized that mobility and the cloud are making the deployment of ebooks a reality. Even though ebooks are still in their infancy and what we consider an ebook today will be a fraction of what will be available even two to three years down the road the impact of ebooks on education is starting to take effect. Partnerships between the major content management system (CMS) providers and publishers, the move of many academic journals to the electronic format, digitization of library resources,  and the digitization of millions of books by Google is bringing us to the point where digital learning is finally a reality.

Because People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to we have become dependent upon cloud-based computing and our notions of IT support are decentralized. Our expectation for IT have shifted from anytime anywhere to all the time and everywhere. The demands of cloud and mobile based computing have put extreme pressures on traditional universities and only those institutions that are able to help their students, faculty and staff flourish in this new mobile computing environment will survive.

Horizon Report 2010

Technologies to Watch:

Time-to-adoption: one Year or Less

  • Mobile Computing
  • Open Content

Time-to-adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Electronic Books
  • Simple Augmented Reality

Time-to-adoption: four to five Years

  • Gesture-Based Computing
  • Visual Data Analysis

Key Trends:

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing.
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to.
  • The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.
  • The work of students is increasingly seen as collaborative by nature, and there is more cross- campus collaboration between departments.

Critical Challenges:

  • The role of the academy — and the way we prepare students for their future lives – is changing.
  • New scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching continue to emerge but appropriate metrics for evaluating them increasingly and far too often lag behind.
  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.
  • Institutions increasingly focus more narrowly on key goals, as a result of shrinking budgets in the present economic climate

Reflections from the Mobile Learning Perspective:

There is no denying that mobile computing is a technology to watch over the next year. Nor is there any doubt that electronic books will also be something to watch given the recent flurry of ereader releases over the past 6 months and most recently at the Consumer Electronics Show. We need to do more than just watch!. The Key Trends section of the report stresses the fact that people expect to work and learn wherever they are. Thanks to the Cloud and all that it offers we live in an “all the time everywhere” type of world but is academia doing enough to keep up with, or even address, these advances?

Mobile Phones were introduced as a technology to watch in two to three years back in the 2007 Horizon Report and again in the 2008 report but for the most part we are still at the early pilot stage in 2010 with these technologies. The examples of mobile technology implementation that we see in the 2010 report point to very small pockets of experimentation and other than ACU, very few institutions are experimenting with broad scaled adoption of mobile learning devices within their institutions. Given its nature, can academia hope to keep up with the rapid changes the move to mobile is pushing everyone to?–this is perhaps our biggest challenge.

Horizon Report 2009

Technologies to Watch:

Time-to-adoption: one Year or Less

  • Mobiles
  • Cloud Computing

Time-to-adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Geo-Everything
  • The Personal Web

Time-to-adoption: four to five Years

  • Semantic-Aware Applications
  • Smart Objects

Key Trends:

  • Increasing globalization continues to affect the way we work, collaborate, and communicate.
  • The notion of collective intelligence is redefining how we think about ambiguity and imprecision.
  • Experience with and affinity for games as learning tools is an increasingly universal characteristic among those entering higher education and the workforce.
  • Visualization tools are making information more meaningful and insights more intuitive.
  • As more than one billion phones are produced each year, mobile phones are benefiting from unprecedented innovation, driven by global competition.

Critical Challenges:

  • There is a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy.
  • Students are different, but a lot of educational material is not.
  • Significant shifts are taking place in the ways scholarship and research are conducted, and there is a need for innovation and leadership at all levels of the academy.
  • We are expected, especially in public education, to measure and prove through formal assessment that our students are learning.
  • Higher education is facing a growing expectation to make use of and to deliver services, content, and media to mobile devices.

Reflections from the Mobile Learning Perspective:

Other than Smart Objects all the technologies to watch have mobility at their foundation. Perhaps the most significant aspect to the 2009 Horizon report is the the Critical Challenges section that clearly identifies Higher Education’s need to adapt. The statement “students are different, but a lot of education material is not” sums up our challenge. Academia is expected to deliver services to a mobile student population and prepare them for the challenges of the 21st Century but many of our teaching and research practices are mired in the 20th, and some would argue the 19th, century.

Our scholarship of teaching and learning, research and assessment practices must all adapt to these changes if we wish to keep up with the pressures of globalization and increased mobility of our learners and ultimately society.

Horizon Report 2008

Technologies to Watch:

Time-to-adoption: one Year or Less

  • Grassroots Video
  • Collaboration Web

Time-to-adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Mobile Broadband
  • Data Mashups

Time-to-adoption: four to five Years

  • Collective Intelligence
  • Social Operating Systems

Critical Challenges:

  • Significant shifts in scholarship, research, creative expression, and learning have created a need for innovation and leadership at all levels of the academy.
  • Higher education is facing a growing expectation to deliver services, content and media to mobile and personal devices.
  • The renewed emphasis on collaborative learning is pushing the educational community to develop new forms of interaction and assessment.
  • The academy is faced with a need to provide formal instruction in information, visual, and technological literacy as well as in how to create meaningful content with today’s tools.

Significant Trends:

  • The growing use of Web 2.0 and social net- working—combined with collective intelligence and mass amateurization—is gradually but inexorably changing the practice of scholarship.
  • The way we work, collaborate, and communicate is evolving as boundaries become more fluid and globalization increases.
  • Access to—and portability of—content is in- creasing as smaller, more powerful devices are introduced.
  • The gap between students’ perception of technology and that of faculty continues to widen.

Seven Megatrands identified in the past 5 years:

  • The evolving approaches to communication between humans and machines;
  • the collective sharing and generation of knowledge;
  • computing in three dimensions;
  • connecting people via the network;
  • games as pedagogical platforms;
  • the shifting of content production to users;
  • and the evolution of a ubiquitous platform.

Reflections from the Mobile Learning Perspective:

2008 was a pivotal year for the development of Mobile Learning and the Seven Megatrands identified in the previous 5 years of the Horizon reporting confirmed that society had started moving in a direction that would radically change all our lives. Like the earlier and past years mobile technologies of some sort were identified as needing to be watched but it was very clear by late 2007 and early 2008 that we were living in a mobile world. The evolution of a ubiquitous platform was a mobile platform because people started to connect and communicate with each other at work and at play in ways that we had never seen before. The explosive growth of Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other social networking sites was happening because people could not connect to their networks all the time from anywhere.

The iPhone 3G was released in the summer of 2008 and ACU initiated its Connected project in the fall of 2008 and put an iPhone or iTouch into the hands of over 1000 freshman who entered the institution. When these freshmen received their devices there were less than 3000 apps in the app store but by the end of their first year (April 2009) there were over 35,000 apps. In hindsight (this is being written in January of 2010) the ACU gamble on the iPhone was accurate but to the leadership of ACU it wasn’t a gamble because all megatrands that the Horizon Reports as well as many other sources had been pointing to was the need to make this sort of move toward a broad scale adoption of mobile learning.

Horizon Report 2007

Time-to-adoption: one Year or Less

  • User-Created Content
  • Social Networking

Time-to-adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Mobile Phones
  • Virtual Worlds

Time-to-adoption: four to five Years

  • The New Scholarship and Emerging Forms of Publication
  • Massively Multiplayer Educational Gaming

Key Trends:

  • The environment of higher education is changing rapidly
  • Increasing globalization is changing the way we work, collaborate, and communicate.
  • Information literacy increasingly should not be considered a given.
  • Academic review and faculty rewards are increasingly out of sync with new forms of scholarship.
  • The notions of collective intelligence and mass amateurization are pushing the boundaries of scholarship.
  • Students’ views of what is and what is not tech- nology are increasingly different from those of faculty.

Critical Challenges:

  • Assessment of new forms of work continues to present a challenge to educators and peer reviewers.
  • There are significant shifts taking place in scholarship, research, creative expression, and learning, and a profound need for leadership at the highest levels of the academy that can see the opportunities in these shifts and carry them forward.
  • While progress is being made, issues of intellectual property and copyright continue to affect how scholarly work is done.
  • There is a skills gap between understanding how to use tools for media creation and how to create meaningful content.
  • The renewed emphasis on collaborative learning is pushing the educational community to develop new forms of interaction and assessment.
  • Higher education is facing a growing expectation to deliver services, content and media to mobile and personal devices.

Reflections from the Mobile Learning Perspective:

This is the second year that Mobile Phones were identified as a technology to watch and was also the year that social networking and user created content were identified as key indicators of change. This is also the year that the Horizon researchers started to explicitly challenge academia to keep up with these rapid changes. Key gaps were identified in the understanding of how to use tools for new media creation and more importantly how to use to those tools to make meaningful content. The Horizon group also started calling for leadership in the educational community to not only recognize these opportunities but challenged them to embrace these changes to move the academy forward.

Horizon Report 2006

Technologies to Watch:

Time-to-Adoption: One Year or Less

  • Social Computing
  • Personal Broadcasting

Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years

  • The Phones in Their Pockets
  • Educational Gaming

Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years

  • Augmented Reality and Enhanced Visualization
  • Context-Aware Environments and Devices

Key Trends:

  • Dynamic knowledge creation and social computing tools and processes are becoming more widespread and accepted.
  • Mobile and personal technology is increasingly being viewed as a delivery platform for services of all kinds.
  • Consumers are increasingly expecting individualized services, tools, and experiences, and open access to media, knowledge, information, and learning.
  • Collaboration is increasingly seen as critical across the range of educational activities, including intra- and inter-institutional activities of any size or scope.

Critical Challenges:

  • Peer review and other academic processes, such as promotion and tenure reviews, increasingly do not reflect the ways scholarship actually is conducted.
  • Information literacy should not be considered a given, even among “net-gen” students.
  • Intellectual property concerns and the management of digital rights and assets continue to loom as largely unaddressed issues.
  • The typical approach of experimentally deploying new technologies on campuses does not include processes to quickly scale them up to broad usage when they work, and often creates its own obstacles to full deployment.
  • The phenomenon of technological “churn” is bringing new kinds of support challenges.

Reflections from the Mobile Learning Perspective:

2006 was the first year the the Horizon Reports identified “Phones in their Pockets” as a technology to watch and placed it in the two-three time frame. The seeds for mobile computing were also be sown with technologies like social networking, personal broadcasting and off on the far horizon augmented reality environments and devices. A key trend of mobile and personal technology as a platform for the delivery of all kinds of services was also significant.

References:

2010 Horizon Report Johnson, Laurence F., Levine, Alan, Smith, Rachel S. and Stone, Sonja. 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, 2010.

2009 Horizon Report Johnson, Laurence F., Levine, Alan, and Smith, Rachel S. 2009 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, 2009.

2008 Horizon Report Johnson, Laurence F., Levine, Alan, and Smith, Rachel S. 2008 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, 2008.

2007 Horizon Report Johnson, Laurence F., Levine, Alan, and Smith, Rachel S. 2007 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, 2007.

2006 Horizon Report Johnson, Laurence F. and Smith, Rachel S. 2006 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, 2006.

Dwayne Harapnuik

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