Horizon Report


I’ve just been skyping my colleague Derek Chirnside who alerted me to the release of the Horizon Report for 2006, the third editon of this annual report which is a a collaboration between the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.

For those who share an interest in looking forward to what the future may hold, this report provides some interesting insights. Each year, the report describes six areas of emerging technology that will have significant impact in higher education over the next one to five years. The project expressly focuses on the ways that interesting emerging technologies can be applied to teaching, learning, and creative expression.

In this report, four key trends identified that reflect significantly changing attitudes toward technology
and communication that surfaced again and again in the research:

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

None of these things come as particular surprises, although the report provides useful insights into the implications of these statements for educational insitutions.

So, what are the technologies we should be watching (and preparing) for? According to this report, they are:

  • social computing – <1 year
  • personal broadcasting – <1 year
  • phones in our pockets – 2-3 years
  • educational gaming – 2-3 years
  • augmented reality and enhanced visualisation – 4-5 years
  • context-aware environments and devices – 4-5 years

(the number beside each is the estimated time to adoption for each)

The report expands on each of these technologies in detail, and each section contains some links to examples or further information. Overall, a worthwhile read, and a useful document to generate discussion and debate around how our insitutions are (or will be) positioned to adopt and implement these technologies.

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