Research Question 2: What key technologies are missing from our list?

Instructions: Please use these prompts to help you consider what might need to be added to the current list of Horizon Topics. Add your thoughts as bullet points below, using a new bullet point for each new technology or topic. Please add your comments to previous entries if you agree or disagree.
a. What would you list among the established technologies that some educational institutions are using today that arguably ALL institutions should using broadly to support or enhance teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?
b. What technologies that have a solid user base in consumer, entertainment, or other industries should educational institutions be actively looking for ways to apply?
c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that learning-focused institutions should begin to take notice during the next 4 to 5 years?

Each new topic entry must include a title, a description similar to the ones that are written now, and, if needed, a rationale as to why it is different from any of the existing topics. The Horizon Project research team will investigate each nomination entered here to see if it meets the criteria set for new topics (eg., that the topic represents a "real" technology, as opposed to a concept, a new idea, or a proposal; that it is sufficiently developed that research, projects, and information about it exist; and that it has a demonstrable link, or strong potential link, to education).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking them with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples.
  • Virtual assistants Voice recognition technology is getting to be so accurate and lifelike, that it is popping up in all sorts of new ways, such as Siri, which not only allows control of all the features of an iPhone, but (if the rumors are ture) perhaps one day soon will be at the center of a re-imagined television experience. Coupled with advances in translation technologies, real time voice-driven translation are even possible. We are at the point now where virtually all of the technologies envisioned in Knowledge Navigator are becoming actualized. See for more on the current state of virtual assistants. While crude versions of this technology have been around for decades, recent breakthroughs and powerful mobile tools like Dragon are beginning to change the way we write, archive and access our thoughts. Clive Thompson's article Hold That Thought does a great job of capturing the new found potential in this technology.- Larry Larry Nov 17, 2011 agree that voice input that is simple to use like Siri will move us away from using touch and text as the dominant form of interaction. Sound and language are a natural way of communicating for many of us and this trend looks like breaking through - john.cook john.cook Nov 17, 2011 - helga helga Nov 18, 2011- jasonr jasonr Nov 18, 2011 Agreed. I think we'll be seeing a lot of really useful applications from this in the future. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 As AI continues to improve, the degree of integration of the assistant will no doubt expand as well. I agree that we are likely to see this showing up in a number of apps. People want the convenience. - Dougdar Dougdar Nov 20, 2011 Nothing to add, but want to add weight to this topic. - alanwolf alanwolf Nov 20, 2011 The Siri protocol can be extended to allow it to control other devices - alanwolf alanwolf Nov 21, 2011
  • Flipped Courses Not necessarily a technology, but more of a pedagogical shift that is enabled by a convergence of technologies. Lecture capture, podcasting, and cheap personal video recorders make it much easier to prepare lecture-style content for students to see/hear/view before coming to class. That creates the possibility to use class time for activities that engage students through discussion, collaborative activities, problem sets, etc... Active learning classroom designs provide models for spaces that encourage those types of activities. - allan.gyorke allan.gyorke Nov 17, 2011 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Nov 18, 2011 Agreed. I think that this is enabled due in large part to the technologies you listed, as well, though. My experiences with flipped courses have been entirely due to the ease and low cost of website creation, video hosting, and screen capture. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011. Agreed that flipping the classroom is something that is set for considerable development. Driving forces may include developing online resources such as the Khan Academy Videos, and increasing focus on productivity of learning approaches in a time of cost scrutiny. A key concern will to ensure that flipped courses lead to improvements in learning rather than a new industrialisation of learning - Gavin Gavin Nov 20, 2011 Yes I agree that flipped courses are a huge issue - especially in the short to medium term - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Nov 20, 2011 [Editor's Note: Added to trends as "Lecture capture, podcasting, and cheap personal video recorders increasingly make it much easier to prepare lecture-style content for students to see/hear/view before coming to class."] Even more interesting are "flipped" approaches where students, rather than instructors, are generating much of the material involved. In other words, students are becoming active producers, rather than just consumers of these materials, and also becoming resources to one another in the process. - rubenrp rubenrp Nov 21, 2011
  • Smart classrooms Sorry to see that this one slipped off the radar screen after our discussions last year; I've had a couple of opportunities to work in smart classrooms in a corporate training setting and found this to be an engaging topic. Perhaps it's already being subsumed by other learning environments we're discussing, including the 3D delivery option.Here's an article that explores the topic a bit: - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Nov 17, 2011 Absolutely! As well as classrooms like NCSU's SCALE-UP - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 The ommission of physical learning environments is a huge huge issue - at least for the higher education sector it should be an entry on its own - its where I spend a huge amount of time, energy and money and where substantial innovation is occuring - not only in how we design and support classrooms but also in how they affect instructor behavior and learning. There is an increasing amount of really nice research and data coming out about this. - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Nov 20, 2011 The "Qooqle" project at MIT's Media Lab reaches toward not only the voice-addressable location-based computing of "Star Trek" but also to the fascinating possibilities of embedding conversation-based digital assistants into learning environments.- gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011
  • Internet of Things Nearly all “things” in the physical world will be interconnected, wirelessly, with communication capabilities linking the physical and virtual worlds for a variety of cooperative applications. The IoT will include the increased use of sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—which are linked through both wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. CISCO predicts there will be 50 billion things connected via the IPv6 protocol in 2020, perhaps sooner. The combination of these Smart Objects, connected via the network will offer new opportunities for educational applications, especially for monitoring and collecting environmental data. Researchers in Europe and China are making rapid progress on developing advanced uses for the Internet of Things- paul.turner paul.turner Nov 18, 2011. This is really critical. The nature of what is considered to be a network-enabled device is and will continue to--radically change. What this means for teaching & learning is that virtually any device--from iPods to TV's--is a conduit for information. - jasonr jasonr Nov 18, 2011 Yes! I think this will be very important. There is a "smart object" section in the topics list...- lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 UOC's award winning video shows an internet of things learning environment experiment in which students receive messages through a cube (see video demo at Cube U) - EvadeLera EvadeLera Nov 20, 2011 [Editor's Note: Combined this topic with Smart Objects]
  • Micro-location detection One area of intriguing development is the ability to locate precisely within a classroom individuals. This allows, for example, the enhancement of 'clicker' responses to include the actual location of the respondents within the room and therefore the building of 'heat map' that looks at patterns of response by where in the room the person is sitting. The common wisdom is that all the good student sit up front in a lecture class, or a flat-floor classroom with ranks of chairs. But as we build more and more active learning environments, where are the students who are getting the 'correct answers' to clicker questions sitting? Are they distributed such that they maximize their contribution as peer instructors? Adding location detection to the traditional clicker allow one to map these patterns, as well as look for how agreement and disagreement change via discussion, as well as over time. - Phillip.Long Phillip.Long Nov 20, 2011 [Editor's Note: Combining with Location-Based Services]
  • 3D Printing The making of parts and products using a computer-driven, additive process, one layer at a time. 3D printing builds plastic and metal parts directly from CAD drawings that have been cross sectioned into thousands of layers. Definition from: Many universities are experimenting with 3D printers in a wide variety of disciplines, including: design visualization, prototyping/CAD, metal casting, architecture, education, geospatial, healthcare, entertainment/retail, paleontology, archaeology, forensic pathology and crime scene reconsturctions.- paul.turner paul.turner Nov 18, 2011 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Nov 18, 2011 - helen.keegan helen.keegan Nov 20, 2011 There is a definite movement of 3D Printing into the main stream. Also, prototyping will not be the only applicational use as functional output like circuit boards are directly developed in the near future ( As a result, institutions utilizing this technology will likely be facing the question of determining the boundaries of IP rights within the medium as it is used in different disciplines as well ( - Dougdar Dougdar Nov 20, 2011I've been expecting this to blow up year after year and keep being disappointed - but these are important tools that can change the way we learn and work - the low-end printers are very interesting but not good enough yet to have a major impact as a learning tool. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Nov 20, 2011 I agree that this has been floating out there for a very long time. One thing that most reports discussing 3D fabrication especially when it moves to the point where reaches commodity status are the intellectual property battles that will occur over reverse engineering items.- alanwolf alanwolf Nov 20, 2011
  • Massively Open Online Courses Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have gained some attraction since 2008, when Stephen Downes and George Siemens invited to join their Open Online Course on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08). The CCK08 is considered to be the first MOOC and had 2,200 registered participants.According to Wikipedia a MOOC "is a course where the participants are distributed and course materials also are dispersed across the web. This is possible only if the course is open ..." Within a MOOC learners can control where, what, how, with whom they learn. The goal is to re-define the idea of a "course", and instead, creating an open network of learners with emergent and shared content and interactions. A MOOC allows participants to form connections through autonomous, diverse, open, and interactive discourse. Since 2008, a small number of MOOCs have been taught on subjects in the educational or technology sphere. A recent one, announced by Stanford University on Artificial Intelligence in July 2011, has atttracted more than 130,000 enrollments from over 190 countries. - jochen.robes jochen.robes Nov 18, 2011 Yes, I'm hearing more interest in this from groups that tend towards more traditional as well, so I suspect this is coming to mainstream fairly soon. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 - helen.keegan helen.keegan Nov 20, 2011 mall course or massively large (like Stanford's artificial intelligence course) are surfacing causing a great deal of conversation, reflection and disruption in higher education. Issues arise surrounding these courses including credit, ownership, resources to create courses, threat to smaller institutions, opportunities to collaborate with instruction and shared content. This is a game changer!-wshapiro Today 2:25 pm The most notable development of the year was the massively online open course ("open" in the sense that you needn't pay for it and anyone could enroll in it - but you did have to complete the homework and exams or be removed from the course - it wasn't for academic 'voyeurs') that was taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvik, "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence". This course signals two extremely important developments. 1) This course was assembled and taught outside of the infrastructure of a university. While Stanford Engineering's logo is on the home page, it is listed as "in partnership with". In reality none of the infrastructure used to deliver the course involved Stanford university resources. The actual infrastructure was provided by Knowit Labs. Remember this is a course whose enrollment exceeded 160,000 online student. Yet the entire course was delivered using commodity infrastructure that is available to anyone for a modest fee. And 2) this course involved not just sampling of content assembled for a group of in-class students and made available online. This course involved weekly assignments that were 'graded' and sent back to all students. That's 160,000 assignments per week that were reviewed, marked and returned with some form of comment. The two instructors are the world's leaders in AI, and they spent considerable effort to develop algorithms to use their expertise to accomplish this astonishing feat. But the implications are profound. A university wasn't necessary to deliver the course. Interaction and feedback were provided to 160,000+ students. This takes the idea of OpenCourseWare (OCW) to another level. Granted it is a technical subject ideal for the application of machine learning but it's a seminal breakthrough in the shear size and bravery that delivering it the way Thrun and Norvik did. - Phillip.Long Phillip.Long Nov 20, 2011 One may scale up such courses in other ways, including the Networked Faculty-Staff Development Seminar housed at Virginia Tech. - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011- rolf.schulmeister rolf.schulmeister Nov 20, 2011if we count this as technology then we have a rather diffuse term of technology. MOOCs are more an organized learning activity, a big communication event, that uses known networking technology.
  • Open Badges. A badge is a symbol of personal achievement that's acknowledged by others. Earning badges for learning new things is nothing new. But more and more people are looking at badges to show skills and achievements online. For example, badges are an integrated part of the learning environment of the Khan Academy: "We're full of game mechanics. As soon as you login, you'll start earning badges and points for learning. The more you challenge yourself, the more bragging rights you'll get." And MacArthur Foundation recently announced a 2 million competition to create a badge system "that unlocks career and educational opportunities by recognizing 21st century skills wherever they have been learned" (CBS). - jochen.robes jochen.robes Nov 18, 2011 Yep. Game mechanics as a tool for managing social capital on what is a social internet is a compelling tool when it comes to engagement--the issue is what badges actually represent in the learning context. I suggest taking a look @ Mozilla's site on this: jasonr jasonr Nov 18, 2011 - helen.keegan helen.keegan Nov 20, 2011 UBoost is an emerging company thats doing some pretty cool stuff with badges. - Nov 19, 2011
  • Author once; deploy across multiple devices. While mobile and tablets are both topics covered in the resources, I believe this may be a slightly outdated way of looking at the field. Though other platforms (e.g. iOS) have a similar impact, Android has been a major market disruptor of the last two years. Specifically, Android provides a means of authoring once and deploying across multiple types of devices (smart phones, tables, laptops, desktops and TV set top boxes or web-ready TV). At first glance this may not appear to be a big deal, but it has drastically changed the design paradigm as developers now have the ability to easily build out sites and applications that can be accessed across regardless of how the end user chooses to access them. However, this is also a double edged sword in that form factors become a major concern – what is appropriate for a 52” flat screen doesn’t render well on a Droid and vice-versa. For learners multi-screen will be extremely beneficial in that learning will be truly on demand and delivered in the appropriate format. For institutions it is somewhat problematic in that they have to think multi-dimensionally. Though the commercial space (think banks, airlines, etc) have done a great job of levarging mult-screen the same is not true for education, where there are no really good examples at present that I am aware of – though some are starting to make forays into this area. However, institutions will have to adapt as learners are become more adament about demanding the same ability to consume content in the education space as they are in the consumer space. - Nov 18, 2011 I completely agree. Multi screen applications will level the virtual playing field in regard to expanding learning opportunities. - melissa.burgess melissa.burgess Nov 19, 2011 [Editor's Note: Was Multi-Screen -- Topic name changed to Author Once; Deploy Across Multiple Devices.]
  • On-demand/eLearning. On-demand eLearning is the presentation of content to the learner without the aid of an instructor. Course authoring tools such as Adobe Captivate, Adobe Connect, Articulate, and Lectora just to name a few, are used to create on-demand training and courses. On-demand eLearning has typically been prevalent in the human resource sector to deliver training to new and existing employees; however, there is emerging research using this platform in education as well. As social and teaching presence are non-existent, it is necessary to examine innovative design methodologies and elements that can be supplanted. As we move toward a learning model that de-emphasizes teacher-centric learning to more learner-centric, we as educators can now shift focus to assist rather than deliver. One of the most notable affordances with this platform is that it encourages the learner to practice self-direction and self-regulation. Additional affordances also include: reusability of content; learning from anywhere and at any time; the ability to reach large numbers of learners; a variety of learning data from the course can be extracted and analyzed; and cost-effectiveness. Further, this topic may even be possibly combined with the "Virtual Assistant" topic mentioned above as virtual assistants, or pedagogical agents as learning companions (PALs) as they are also named, are “animated digital characters functioning to simulate human-peer-like interaction” (Kim & Baylor, 2006, p. 223) serve as virtual instructors with four major roles: (a) an expert who provides information, (b) a mentor who advises, (c) a motivator who encourages, and (d) a companion who collaborates (Baylor & Kim, 2006a, 2006b). Baylor and Kim (2005) further conducted a study which demonstrated that the interest and self-efficacy of a learner significantly increased when the learner was accompanied by a pedagogical agent that served as a virtual learning companion that was sensitive to the learner’s affect. The overall area of Artificial Intelligence in on-demand environments will likely become a research focus for educators at all academic levels, as learning increasingly becomes more independent and automated. Therefore, expertise in the area of design and development of on-demand courses will also become increasingly important.- melissa.burgess melissa.burgess Nov 19, 2011
  • Adaptive Learning Environments (ALEs). After much deliberation and consultation from a good friend, Adaptive Learning Environments are a bit different to PLEs and definitely merit consideration as an emerging technology. This unique environment's main appeal is the personalized learning it provides. Ongoing courses can be modified in real-time according to culled learning analytics, which in turn, provides learning according to a variety of student data--which may include, learning styles, multimedia preferences, knowledge levels, amount of time spent on a page, responses to quizzes, tests, activities, etc. As ALEs continue to become more and more intuitive to a learner's needs via learner analytics, "effective learning experiences for a wide range of learners across a broad spectrum on knowledge domains" (Jones, Mandinach, du Bouley, & Goodyear, 1992) will undoubtedly benefit all levels of education.- melissa.burgess melissa.burgess Nov 20, 2011
  • Cost Effective Computing for developing education. [Editor's Note: Moving this to Challenges]
  • Haptic Interfaces. Not just the potential of touch but of resistance, heat and traction which could potentially form a part of an interface - replicating reality- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011 As a followup, systems such XBOX 360 Kinect shed light on the ability to interact with digital environment that don't require people to "hold" devices to interact with systems and content. Immersion and collaboration will begin to take on a reality much like physical reality and beyond into new creative and unimagined places.- wshapiro wshapiro Nov 20, 2011
  • Open data, Googgle Public Data Explorer and similar tools for an active learning experience. I´m not sure that this trend is not included anywhere so i add it here. One derivation from this would be social data analytics to social scientists or students. - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011
  • Trust-based specialized networks. Only "by recommendation" will learners select and filter in the information/contacts they will consult with to gain knowledge for a desired objective. The need for trusted recommendations increases as the amount of content available also increases. - EvadeLera EvadeLera Nov 20, 2011 [Editor -- moved from RQ3 to RQ 2)
  • E-books and social reading. While e-books are not new, there's vigorous activity and intense competition among publishers and platforms to capture the educational market. When reading becomes a collaborative space, as it already is with services such as Amazon's social networking of highlights and notes (see also, the practices of note-taking and review among students will take on increasing complexity, depth, and importance. It will also likely mean new concerns over plagiarism.- gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011 I guess biometric software will capture our attention very soon. It is not only those body scanners in the airport, the face recognition, the improvement of fingerprint technology, but also keystroke flow recognition to ensure the authenticity of the person who types on the keyboard of his/her computer. I wonder what will be next in order to improve surveillance over human beings.- rolf.schulmeister rolf.schulmeister Nov 20, 2011 It is partly mobile computing and icorporates augmented reality, but there is an own term for it: ambient technology.There are very interesting applications also in learning and teaching, not only in industry.- rolf.schulmeister rolf.schulmeister Nov 21, 2011 Not only ebooks and format, but e-ink technology will be relevant in educational field. I am convinced that e-learning and e-books will merge together; taking the rich media content from e-learning and delivering it through the ubiquitous e-book format for a consumer focused product.For years, e-learning has been positioned as a better, faster, cheaper way of learning and arguably failing in all three areas. However the rise of the e-book has captured the minds of consumers making it ideal for dumping e-learning to create a new 'interactive books' product (EPUB 3.0 with HTML5) combined with the appeal of apps (one click installation, easy updates, web-based) to create a powerful new way of learning. - Nov 21, 2011
  • Educational Technology Cooperatives: One thing that has become increasingly clear to me is that educational technology is an increasingly specialized field that is poorly understood by purely IT practitioners, on the one side, as well as the faculty on the other. There are few people with the technical skills to bridge the gap. One of the limiting factors has been institutions' traditional reluctance to fund developers within educational technology departments. This has resulted in a relatively small pool of labor that gets the particular challenges that online platforms built around education demand. Textbook publishers and LMS developers generally don't get it either. One model we need to look at is the development of cooperatives where institutions can better pool their resources, especially their developer resources. Some Open Source communities such as Moodle or the Plone community are already a step in this direction but I think institutions would benefit from explicitly educational developer communities that would share projects explicitly designed to aid the educational mission. We have the tools to make this happen and this would seem to be low-hanging fruit. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011

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