The internationally recognized NMC Horizon Report series, that is a part of NMC Horizon Project, identifies and describes emerging technologies that are likely to have a large impact over the coming five years in education around the globe.
This volume, the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition, examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry within the environment of higher education. The report was created keeping in mind the local factors affecting education, the issues that transcend regional boundaries and other questions common to higher education. It is the 11th in the annual higher education series of reports and is produced by the NMC in collaboration with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI).
Key points (Summary) from the Report are mentioned below:
For the Report, an expert panel identified 18 topics very likely to impact technology planning and decision making: six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology. The discussions of trends and technologies have been organized into three time-related categories; challenges are discussed within a similar three-part framework related to the scope of the challenge.
- Key Trends accelerating Higher Education Technology adoption:
Fast Trends: Driving changes in higher education over the next one to two years.
- Growing Ubiquity of Social Media: Social media has found significant traction in almost every education sector. Educators, students, alumni, and the general public routinely use social media to share news about scientific and other developments.
- Integration of Online, Hybrid, and Collaborative Learning: Education paradigms are shifting to include more online learning, blended and hybrid learning, and collaborative models.
Mid-Range Trends: Driving changes in higher education within three to five years.
- Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment: There is a growing interest in using new sources of data for personalizing the learning experience and for performance measurement.
- Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators: A shift is taking place in the focus of pedagogical practice as students are learning by making and creating rather than from the simple consumption of content.
Long-Range Trends: Driving changes in higher education in five or more years.
- Agile Approaches to Change: Educators are working to develop new approaches and programs based on agile startup models that stimulate top-down change and can be implemented across a broad range of institutional settings.
- Evolution of Online Learning: There has been a shift in the perception of online learning to the point where it is seen as a viable alternative to some forms of face-to-face learning.
- Significant Challenges Impeding Higher Education Technology Adoption:
Solvable Challenges: Those that we understand and know how to solve.
- Low Digital Fluency of Faculty: Training in digital skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of faculty.
- Relative Lack of Rewards for Teaching: Teaching is often rated lower than research in academia and a university’s status is largely determined by the quantity and quality of its research.
Difficult Challenges: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive.
- Competition from New Models of Education: New models of education are bringing competition to the traditional models. Institutions are looking for ways to provide a high quality of service and more learning opportunities.
- Scaling Teaching Innovations: Organizations are not adept at moving teaching innovations into mainstream practice. An aversion to change limits the diffusion of new ideas, and discourages experimentation.
Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address.
- Expanding Access: It means extending education access to students who may not have the academic background to be successful without additional support.
- Keeping Education Relevant: As online learning and free educational content become more pervasive, institutional stakeholders must address the question of what universities can provide that other approaches cannot.
- Important Developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less.
- Flipped Classroom: This model of learning rearranges how time is spent both in and out of class to shift the ownership of learning from the educators to the students.
- Learning Analytics: Is an educational application of Big Data that offers new ways of applying to improve student engagement and provide a high-quality, personalized experience for learners.
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years.
- 3D Printing: This technology constructs physical objects from 3D digital content such as 3D modeling software, computer-aided design CAD tools, CAT, and X-ray crystallography.
- Games and Gamification: Gameplay has moved on from solely being recreational and has found considerable traction in education as a useful training and motivation tool.
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years.
- Quantified Self: It is the phenomenon of consumers being able to closely track data that is relevant to their daily activities through the use of technology.
- Virtual Assistants: Are a credible extension of work being done with natural user interfaces, and the first examples are already in the marketplace.
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