Presenting on The 2008 Horizon Report

The good folks at Camosun College’s Distributed Education unit were kind enough to invite me to speak on this year’s NMC Horizon Report as part of their Walls Optional Distributed Education Day.

It is a little different presenting on this report – I have been truly honoured to be a part of the Advisory Board for the last 2 years, and very much stand behind the work we do there. But it isn’t “my” report, so I definitely felt a duty to represent the organizations behind it as well as I could, and so tended to be just a little less free form that I have of late in my presentation style (though we’ll see – apparently there is video in which I did start to gesticulate wildly by the end, as is my wont, perhaps a bit inspired by the master of creative chaos who I followed on stage.).

Anyways, here’s a wiki page that has both the slides and all of the URLs I used to demonstrate the 6 technologies “on the horizon”. While I did re-use some slide templates and structure from the inimitable cogdog, finding examples to illustrate the various ‘Horizon’ technologies (as well as Creative commons images to illustrate them) was definitely a fun part of preparing this. Enjoy! – SWL

Horizon Project “Metatrends”

As you may have heard, this year’s Horizon Report has been published. I was again privileged to be part of the advisory board that helped create it.

During the course of the small foofraw that emerged last year around it’s publication I mused how it would be interesting to have some analysis looking back over the past projections. Well, it looks like someone was listening – I stumbled across this page on the project wiki (there is a corresponding page in the report, but it seems not the nice graphic) in which someone has identified the following 7 “meta-trends” extending across the 5 years of reports:

  • communication between humans and machines
  • the collective sharing and generation of knowledge
  • games as pedagogical platforms
  • computing in three dimensions
  • connecting people via the network
  • the shifting of content production to users
  • the evolution of a ubiquitous platform

What do you think? These strike me as broadly capturing many of the dynamics and innovations we are experiencing. – SWL

On “The Perils of Stargazing” and the NMC Horizon Report

Catherine Howell writes (and Stephen Downes secondsstill no RSS feed in GReader today, Stephen, and how about some permalinks the rest of the world can understand) of the time lag and conservative nature of this year’s NMC Horizon Report choices for technologies that will have a significant impact on teaching and learning. [Disclosure: I was one of the 30 wannabe prognosticators on this year’s Advisory Board members.]

First off, the assertion that “this years� list have already achieved significant impact” I think belies a bit of a rarefied view of actual technology practices in higher ed. My own expeience is that for every edublogger, for ever teacher using a wiki in their class or sharing podcasts on iTunes or publishing Creative Commons, I meet 30 others who still squint funny at the word wiki or have NEVER heard of the Creative Commons. I wish it were different. I often act like it is. But I know its not.

But don’t get me wrong – I actually agree that the list is small ‘c’ conservative, but that’s because I’m mostly off in left field anticipating the coming revolutions in AI, robotics and 80 Core chips! That’s why I actually found the process we went through quite fascinating, and the fact that NMC documented it, all out in the open on the Horizon Report wiki, to be an exemplary practice.

If you actually want to see where the advisory board started from, check out the answers to the 5 research questions, especially Question 3, where I think you’ll find all of the alternatives suggested by Downes and Howell, and more.

What was fascinating (and maybe a bit frustrating, but in a good way) about the process was how we went from these sprawling lists down to a list of 6 that actually seem to bear some resemblance to conceivable futures, not ‘wished for’ futures, not ‘if only everyone would listen to me’ futures, but ones that bear some resemblance to where these slow moving beasts called post-secondary institutions will get to. Now the frustrating part is how this doesn’t really deal well with discontinuous or disruptive innovations, but hey, that’s kind of their nature, to disrupt and not be so easily assimilated.

So, is this my list? No; mine included amongst other things Intelligent Tutoring, Internet-wide User-centric Identity Systems and Real-Time Language Translation. But is it a list I can get behind. Yeah, definitely; if 5 years from now all of these are significantly adopted in higher ed, that will represent a positive shift from where we are today, and in many cases, however lamentable, a large one. – SWL