Four trends have been identified as key drivers of technology adoptions for the period 2010 through 2015:
- The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing.
- People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to.
- The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.
- The work of students is increasingly seen as collaborative by nature, and there is more cross-campus collaboration between departments.
- The role of the academy — and the way we prepare students for their future lives — is changing.
- New scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching continue to emerge but appropriate metrics for evaluating them increasingly and far too often lag behind.
- Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.
- Institutions increasingly focus more narrowly on key goals, as a result of shrinking budgets in the present economic climate.
Technologies to Watch
The six technologies featured in each Horizon Report are placed along three adoption horizons that indicate likely time frames for their entrance into mainstream use for teaching, learning, or creative inquiry. The near-term horizon assumes the likelihood of entry into the mainstream for institutions within the next twelve months; the mid-term horizon, within two to three years; and the far-term, within four to five years.
On the near-term horizon — that is, within the next 12 months — are mobile computing and open content.
The mid-term adoption horizon is set two to three years out, where we will begin to see widespread adoptions of two well-established technologies that have taken off by making use of the global cellular networks — electronic books and simple augmented reality.
On the far-term horizon, set at four to five years away for widespread adoption, but clearly already in use in some quarters, are gesture-based computing and visual data analysis.