Six technologies for educators to watch

The Horizon Report, 2009 Edition
The New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative
PDF, 32 pages.

Young people in Japan equipped with mobiles often see no reason to own personal computers because their mobile phones do almost all of that stuff anyway.

The authors of this report predict that by the year 2020 most people across the world will be using a mobile device as their primary means for connecting to the internet. It is clear that mobiles are already well on the way to becoming a universal tool for communication of all kinds.

This new edition of the Horizon Report discusses six categories of technologies to watch:

In the first adoption horizon (within the next year) we find mobiles and cloud computing.
In the mid-term horizon (two to three years), geo-everything and the personal web.
The far-term horizon (four to five years): semantic-aware applications and smart objects.

If cloud computing is a relatively new term, think of it this way: Cloud-based applications do not run on a single computer; instead, they are spread over a distributed cluster, using storage space and computing resources from many available machines as needed. Applications like Flickr, Google, YouTube, and many others use the cloud as their platform, in the way that programs on a desktop computer use that single computer as a platform.

Today’s learners use tools for tagging, aggregating, updating, and keeping track of content. They create and navigate a web that is increasingly tailored to their own needs and interests: this is the personal web. A personal web supports one’s social, professional, learning, and other activities via personalized windows to the networked world.

Tagging is one way to organize these scattered pieces of information, but another approach is to aggregate them—use web feeds to pull them together in a single place where updates appear automatically and others can add commentary. Tools like Friend Feed pull all the material a person has published into an “activity stream.” Students can use these tools to gather their work together in a kind of online portfolio; whenever they add a tweet, blog post, or photo to any online service, it will appear in their timelines.

Delicious: Mobile
Delicious: Cloud computing
Delicious: The Personal Web


4 Responses to Six technologies for educators to watch

  1. Andrew says:

    This is a really interesting shift, and one I’ve recently started to think about more. I think mobile phones will eventually take the place of personal computers, especially when they include high speed Internet. The ability to access the internet from anywhere at all times is one that will be hard to pass up for most people.

    I also heard on the news recently that part of Europe is attempting to use mobile phones to go cash-less and credit card-less within the next few years.

    As a recent college graduate, I can say that I heavily relied on “cloud-based applications” as an undergrad. I used a task management system called Remember the Milk to keep track of my todo’s and Google Notebook to organize bits and pieces of research for papers. I’ve since moved from Notebook to Evernote, but all 3 services heavily use tags and were vital in my day to day life.

    Thinking in tags takes a little getting used to, especially figuring out a system that works for you, but once you do it’s definitely efficient in keeping track of lots of potentially disjointed data.

  2. paul says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for that thoughtful comment. You’ve added a lot to the post. One challenge facing communicators who are early adapters is to remember all the ways that different people like to receive information. Some still prefer print media. Some have a cell but rarely use it. I must keep that in mind, esp. b/c I agree with you that “the ability to access the internet from anywhere at all times is one that will be hard to pass up for most people,” including myself.

  3. andrew says:

    Definitely, to everything you said. As I was writing I was thinking, “tagging is great, but will everyone really be open to jumping on board?”

    AND I was thinking about the iPhone/like mobile devices on my drive in this morning, and how I think I’ll probably eventually get one, but there’s something nice about not being chained to technology all the time. Sometimes I think about how different life must’ve been before cell phones. I can’t help but feel like there’s a purity/priority of life we’re sort of steering away from.

    But, there are lots of advantages too…

    Great post – I’ll keep an eye out for your stuff in the future.

  4. […] had a great fantastic day doing this.  My first attempt was on a post called “Six technologies for educations to watch,” and it was basically about how mobile phones are sort of taking over and may one day […]

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