NMC: 2009 Horizon Report for Higher Education

The 2009 Horizon Report was recently released at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.  The annual Horizon Report is a collaborative effort between the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the ELI.   Each year, the report identifies six emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on higher education in the next one to five years.  In addition, the report presents an overview accompanied by examples and suggested readings for each technology. 

The areas of emerging technology cited for 2009 are:

Timeframe:  The Next 12 months…

  • Mobiles (i.e., mobile devices).   New interfaces, the ability to run third-party applications, and location-awareness have all come to the mobile device in the past year, making it an ever more versatile tool that can be easily adapted to a host of tasks for learning, productivity, and social networking.
  • Cloud computing.  Inexpensive, simple solutions to offsite storage, multi-user application scaling, hosting, and multi-processor computing are opening the door to wholly different ways of thinking about computers, software, and files. 

Timeframe:  Next 1-3 years….

  • Geo-everything (i.e., geo-tagging).  Many devices can automatically determine and record their own precise location and can save that data along with captured media (like photographs) or can transmit it to web-based applications for a host of uses.  The full implications of geo-tagging are still unfolding.
  • The personal web.  Using a growing set of free and simple tools and applications, it is easy to create a customized, personal web-based environment — a personal web — that explicitly supports one’s social, professional, learning, and other activities. 

Timeframe:  4-5 years…

  • Semantic-aware applications.  New applications are emerging that are bringing the promise of the semantic web into practice without the need to add additional layers of tags, identifiers, or other top-down methods of defining context.
  • Smart objects.  While the underlying technologies that make this possible — RFID, QR codes, smartcards, touch and motion sensors, and the like — are not new, we are now seeing new forms of sensors, identifiers, and applications with a much more generalizable set of functionalities. 

For more information, you can download the 2009 Horizon Report or view the Web version.