The Horizon Report, a collaborative effort between the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, explores a variety of emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on higher education institutions across the globe.  The report focuses on six technological areas and their real-world applications at colleges and universities.  The six technologies discussed are massively open online courses and tablet computing (emergence within the next 12 months), gamification and learning analytics (emergence within 2-3 years), and 3D printing and wearable technology (emergence within 4-5 years).  The two areas that I am most excited about are learning analytics and wearable technology.

Learning analytics involves collecting large volumes of data and using the data to help students learn better.  Learning analytics can be used to help teachers gauge how well students are absorbing course material and to make learning more adaptive to student progress.  For example, Arizona State University has turned to adaptive tutoring software to standardize parts of its math curriculum.  The software has worked tremendously well and the university has plans to incorporate the adaptive learning software into its economics, psychology, biology, chemistry, and physics programs.

One of the most anticipated wearable technologies is Google’s “Project Glass.” Check out the project here!  The device resembles a pair of glasses and “displays relevant information for users as they go about their daily routines.  Users can access the Internet via voice command, communicate email replies, and more.”   The glasses will also have the ability to alert the user to pertinent information as it arises; if their regular train to campus is running late, for example, the goggles could let them know and propose an alternative route.   How cool is that???  A device like this could bring tremendous improvement in productivity into the higher education world.  Other wearable technologies in the works range from gloves that enhance responsive feeling when performing surgery to interactive garments and smart clothing.

Interested in reading the entire 2013 Horizon Report? Check it out at:

http://www.nmc.org/publications/2013-horizon-report-higher-ed

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