Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and tablet computers are already having an impact on the ways students learn and teachers teach, according to the NMC Horizon Report 2013 Higher Education Edition, released by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Educause Learning Initiative. The study sees gaming, 3-D printers, and wearable technologies as trends to watch in the next five years.
“Campus leaders and practitioners across the world use the report as a springboard for discussion around significant trends and challenges,” said Larry Johnson, CEO of NMC, in a Campus Technology report. “The biggest trend identified by the advisory this year reflects the increasing adoption of openness on and beyond campuses, be it in the form of open content or easy access to data. This transition is promising, but there is now a major need for content curation.”
The free downloadable report breaks down technology into categories representing near-term items that are already making an impact, midterm technologies that should be making an impact within two years, and long-term technologies that are still three to five years away from wide implementation.
MOOCs and tablet computers made the near-term list because of how quickly both have been adopted into higher education.
The use of learning analytics is in the midterm category for a second straight year because of the continued development of applications that help students retain information through interaction with other students. Use of gaming is also on the rise in classrooms as an instructional tool.
In the long term, the report suggests 3-D printing will become more important as the price of the printers continues to fall and because they provide students with authentic reproductions of shapes and objects being studied. Wearable technology may sound a bit farfetched but items such as jewelry that can alert chemistry students to dangerous fumes or eyewear that connects to the Internet through voice commands (see video below) are already being developed.
“The NMC Horizon Report goes beyond simply naming technologies; it offers examples of how they are being used, which serves to demonstrate their potential,” said Malcolm Brown, director of the Educause Learning Initiative. “The report also identifies the trends and challenges that will be key for learning across all three adoption horizons. This makes the Horizon Report essential for anyone planning the future of learning at their institution.”