6 Mar 2014

2014 Horizon Report

As with previous years, this year’s Horizon report highlights developments in emerging technologies likely to bear heavily on teaching and learning in the higher education context over the next five years.

The report was compiled by a 53-strong technology expert panel and is informed by solid primary and secondary research.

The following key trends are featured:
1) Fast trends: driving changes in higher education over the next one to two years
        a. Growing ubiquity of social media
        b. Integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning
2) Mid-range trends: driving changes in higher education within three to five years
        a. Rise of data-driven learning and assessment
        b. Shift from students as consumers to students as creators
3) Long-range trends: driving changes in higher education in five or more years
        a. Agile approaches to change
        b. Evolution of online learning

Various challenges were identified (see pp. 20-33 of the report) dividing into solvable (low digital fluency of faculty and relative lack of rewards for teaching), difficult (competition from new model of education and scaling teaching innovations) and wicked challenges (expanding access and keeping education relevant).

The following technology developments (not to be confused with the above trends) are also identified:
1) Time-to-adoption horizon: one year or less
        a. Flipped classroom
        b. Learning analytics
2) Time-to-adoption horizon: two to three years
        a. 3D printing
        b. Games and gamification
3) Time-to-adoption horizon: four to five years
        a. Quantified self
        b. Virtual assistants

Source: campustechnology.com
The idea of the flipped classroom (or reverse instruction) is something I find hugely interesting simply because it empowers the learner immensely. Classroom time is used to gain deeper understanding of a given subject, which is introduced and then followed up upon outside of the classroom (e.g. by means of listening to podcasts, watching video lectures and reading up on course materials etc.). The student manages and takes control of his own learning; the teacher can better adapt instructional approaches to individuals’ needs. Classroom time is used to apply theory, e.g. group projects are tackled in the classroom whilst teachers supervise and focus on individual students’ needs.

There’s a lot of readily available material out there (see Kahn’s academy or Jorum for example) that can be curated and used in addition to creating content from scratch (e.g. self-recorded video lectures and screencasts). See Xerte Online Toolkits (free software) for creating online presentations and interactive learning materials.

An interesting example of the flipped classroom in action is an initiative at Queensland School of English: Using the flipped classroom model to encourage effective reading of literary texts.


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