Teaching with Technology

The 2013 Horizon Report is in and the future holds…

Posted on February 5, 2013. Filed under: Higher Education, MOOCs, Teaching with Technology |

So many new and upcoming technologies:

Time to Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

  1. Flipped Classroom
  2. MOOCs
  3. Mobile Apps
  4. Tablet Computing

Time to Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

  1. Augmented Reality
  2. Game-Based Learning
  3. The Internet of Things
  4. Learning Analytics

Time to Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

  1. 3D Printing
  2. Flexible Displays
  3. Next Generation Batteries
  4. Wearable Gadgets

According to the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition, these technologies will have the potential to improve student success rates, make mobile learning a reality, break down educational barriers, enable new approaches to teaching and learning, and allow us to interact in new ways with the world around us.

While MOOCs and Tablet Computing are the technologies that will impact higher education in the near-term, gamification and learning analytics are technologies whose impact is expected to intensify over the next 2-3 years. When I attended the NJEDge Annual Conference in November 2012, presentations on gamification (or game-based learning) and learning analytics were prominently featured

At NJEDge, Ellen Wagner, the Executive Director of the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, introduced to the “new normal” of learning analytics: using big data to provide a clearer picture of individual students’ educations and to help improve teaching and learning. (Think Neflix and Amazon: “Students who did well in that class, often followed up with this class… or this major”; “Students like you do well at [   ] type of college..”; etc.). Wagner made the case for analytics in learning by mining the digital breadcrumbs learners leave behind about their engagement (on the LMS, Facebook, blogs, tweets, etc.). WCET is working on the Predictive Analytics Reporting Framework (PAR); members are gathering huge data sets (3.1 million course records as of fall 2012) and turning that data into information that can help students. This is definitely a project to keep our eyes on!

Also at NJEDge, Bill Bixler, the founder of the Educational Gaming Commons (gaming.psu.edu) presented on gamification – that is, the use of game-like elements in non-game contexts to increase engagement or change behavior.  What are game-like elements, you might be asking. Bixler described more than 25 game-like elements that faculty can use in classes including Achievements, Badges, Cascading Information Theory, Levels (to motivate gamers), Points, Progression and Status. An example of gamification would be if students moved up levels instead of getting grades (it sounds weird, but think of it this way: that system rewards achievement without punishing students who don’t work). If you do this right, Bixler says that students get “flow,” the ultimate motivational state that is achieved by balancing the learner’s current ability with the difficulty of the current challenge.

On the more distant horizon, the report identified 3D printing and wearable technologies (e.g., Bluetooth necklaces, clip-on cameras, augmented reality devices) as important developments who significance will be felt in 3-5 years.

The report also identified 6 challenges facing education in the coming years:

  1. Lack of technology training (or “digital literacy”) for faculty members.
  2. New forms of scholarship (such as conducting or posting research via social media) are outpacing the ability of many faculty members to assess their value adequately.
  3. Current processes (such as tenure and promotion reviews) do not value technological sophistication and therefore do not necessarily motivate faculty to move beyond the status quo.
  4. Current technology and practices do not adequately support individualized learning.
  5. Traditional models of higher education are being challenged by new forms of education (e.g., MOOCs) – and these new forms need to be evaluated to determine how to best support collaboration, interaction, and assessment.
  6. Most academics are not using new technologies for learning an teaching.

The New Media Consortium Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition goes beyond just naming technologies: it offers examples of how they are being used, which serves to demonstrate their potential. And check out the summary at Campus Technology.

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