It does what it says.  It looks out to the horizon and gauges what will be coming into the post-secondary arena within one, three and five years from now.  The current report, released in February, identifies six emerging technologies and builds a case for why we will see them soon.  Additionally, there is a sister publication that is written specifically for the K12 sector but it is not expected to be released until June.  Last year’s can be found here.

In a nutshell, the report states that the key drivers pushing the adoption of educational technology are:

  • 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.
  • 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.

The challenges that will be pushing back the move toward adoption include the following:

  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. Although there is broad consensus that digital media literacy is vitally important for today’s students, what skills constitute digital literacy are still not well defined nor universally taught.
  • 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.

So, what are these technologies that we all need to be aware of that are rushing toward us?

Within one year we will see Electronic Books and Mobiles making inroads.
EBooks have been in the consumer space for quite a while, but the barriers limiting their use in libraries and as stand-alone textbooks are quickly disappearing.
Virtually everyone has a mobile. They are always on, always connected, increasingly powerful and  require almost no institutional support.  And, they’re becoming the tool of choice for many people to access and work with information.

Within two to three years we will see Augmented Reality and Game Based Learning.
For one small example of Augmented Reality’s potential in education, see my earlier blog post on Word Lens.
As systems become more and more powerful, huge, massively multiplayer games will allow for unprecedented levels of collaboration, team building and learning.

Within four to five years, Gesture-Based Computing and Learning Analytics will start to show up.
Gesture-Based Computing will allow for natural gestures to be used as instructions to work with computers.  Multiple cameras and ranging lasers will monitor body positions.
Learning Analytics, similar to Google Analytics, will provide realtime, adaptive curriculum that changes in response to realtime input on learning progress.

Each one of these items is worthy of many blog posts – so stay tuned.