Predictions for New Technologies Released
Susan Metros of Information Technology Services helps to identify emerging trends that may change both teaching and learning on campuses across the country.
The Horizon Report is an annual publication that was launched six years ago by the New Media Consortium. USC is one of the almost 300 institutions that hold membership in the consortium, a group devoted to promoting new media and technologies that support the learning process.
“The Horizon Report helps colleges and universities identify the most significant new technologies and trends,” said Susan Metros, associate vice provost of Information Technology Services and deputy chief information officer for technology-enhanced learning.
“These technologies and trends are changing the way students learn and faculty teach, the way universities operate and the way peers and colleagues communicate across the world,” said Metros, the chair of the advisory board that produced the 2009 Horizon Report. She has been involved with the New Media Consortium for a number of years, having served on the group’s board of directors from 2005-08 and as a member of the Horizon Project advisory board since 2007.
On Jan. 20, the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative jointly released the report at the initiative’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
According to the report, mobile devices will be increasingly used for teaching and learning within the next year, as touch-screen interfaces and third-party applications continue to turn cell phones and other handheld devices into powerful tools for content delivery and field work.
Cloud computing offers educational institutions the opportunity to streamline computing operations by outsourcing services such as e-mail and storage. Cloud computing refers to the Internet-based delivery of services that allow organizations to make high-powered software, data and backup solutions available to their users without considerable investment in infrastructure or applications.
Google Apps offers an example of cloud computing by providing access to word processing and spreadsheet applications over the Internet rather than through desktop programs.
The Horizon Report also charts significant technology-related trends in higher education. Trends that are anticipated to continue over the next five years include the increasing impact of globalization on information technologies.
Other trends include the increased role of collective intelligence, a growing number of incoming students with extensive gaming experience (suggesting a need for educational methods to be more engaging) and the continued development of online visualization tools.
“The growing number of technologies available has made it easier than ever for scholars and learners across the world to connect and collaborate through mobile devices, online collaborative workspaces and social networks,” Metros said.
“The Center for Scholarly Technology staff and I look forward to working with USC faculty and IT professionals in the academic and support units who are interested in incorporating these technologies into their teaching, learning, research and outreach practices,” she said.
A copy of this year’s Horizon Report is available and free to distribute under the Creative Commons license at http://www.nmc.org/news/nmc/2009-horizon-report-released
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