Horizon Report ’08

The blogosphere is active with people making comments on the release of the the fifth editon of this annual Horizon Report which is a collaboration between the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, and having now read it myself, I thought I’d add my penny’s worth (before its official release at at Educause in San Antonio tomorrow).

It’s a very timely read, as in the coming week I’m going to be speaking to a number of staff gatherings at schools preparing themselves before the onslaught of students the week after. The contents of this report provide useful food for thought at a time of year when we are thinking aspirationally, and are not bogged down in assessment activities and other deadlines that often become the focus of our energies.

Like the previous reports, this one analyzes the MetaTrends of the last 5 years, and outlines the major emerging technologies for college level education in the next 5 years including user-generated video content, collaboration webs, mobile broadband and data mashups. While the focus is on tertiary (college) settings, the discussion around these trends and what they mean for learners and for the education institutions applies just as much to the school sector, particularly as some of the trends (Collective Intelligence and Social Operating Systems) are seen as 4-5 years out still.

In addition to these technology trends, the report also identifies and discusses key trends affecting the areas of teaching, learning, and creative expression. This year four such trends are identified:

  • The growing use of Web 2.0 and social networking–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 increasing as smaller, more powerful devices are introduced
  • The gap between students’ perception of technology and that of faculty continues to widen.

There is some excellent discussion on each of these trends in the report – well worth a read!

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