Every generation experiences a technology evolution. Imagine how the telephone changed communication behavior, or how the television changed the way we receive information and entertainment.
Are we approaching a technology revolution in higher education?
The 2012 Horizons Report shows that higher education is really at a tipping point with technology, and it articulates the trends that I’ve observed growing over the past few years. Institutions are facing new economic challenges to reach more students while controlling costs. Accredidation measures are being challenged; how do you accurately measure student success? And, institutions need ways to provide meaningful engagement to their students. But do they have the right tools do this and do the decision makers and instructors understand the abilities and limitations of technologies?
Combine the challenges with the emerging trends. Trends in behavior like the expectation to access anything, anywhere, anytime. Or, the movement of content from a concrete ‘thing’ like a book to a more abstract ‘place’ like the Cloud.
And how does this movement of content facilitate the creation of a more collaborative environment?
Henry Ford was once quoted, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said
faster horses.” Tablets, apps, analytics, gaming, these technologies aren’t meant to just build a better “horse,” rather they allow for a complete transformation of content. ipads aren’t intended to replace backpacks by simply allowing students to download textbooks. They’re designed for web use, and interaction, so the content created must be designed for interactive use.
But, is the market (students and instructors) ready to change from being consumers of educational content to active participants?
According to the report, mobile apps and tablets are two trends on the immediate horizon. Are students ready to give up a physical book – manual notetaking and highlighting in favor of using interactive content that provides a more (digitally) social environment?
Are these technologies revoluntionary – radically new ideas that will disrupt the market or are they simply a natural evolution in response to growing challenges, behaviors and needs?
Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Cummins, M. (2012).
The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas:
The New Media Consortium