Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Let's Talk New Horizons

New Media Consortium
Every year, as if in mini-birthday celebration, I anticipate the New Media Consortium's Horizon Report. Even years when it's off, hijacked from relevancy by the futurists that often pack the democratic and process-oriented panel choosing the issues, it's a great read on the emerging technologies that will affect higher education in 1, 2-3, and 5 years.

Well, it's out and it's deeper, more thoughtful and more balanced than ever before. READ IT!

What I love about this year's report is that they took on more than technology. That crystal ball approach to bright shiny objects often seemed to ignore the reality of adaptation for those working in the trenches, in the classroom, in technology. Consultants living in the cloud can wax eloquent on how the "internet of things" will transform teaching and learning, but my campus struggles to keep bulbs lit in projectors and markers available on the white boards. Our idea of transformative practice is in finding the deep affordance in new features of the LMS, not MakerSpaces in my math course.

Why does the most referenced research in higher education always talk about students as if they all study at the Ivies, when the mass of students now work, are in debt, go to public colleges and most often, community colleges? Where are the waves of transformative technologies for them? It seems NMC tried this year, and instead of focusing solely on shiny objects out of our reach (5,10, 20 years out), they address the challenges the rest of us have long been facing - solvable, difficult and wicked challenges. 

Well worth the read. Now if they'd stop putting 12-year-olds in lipstick on the cover, as if that is the current face of the nation now going to college, I'd give them an A for effort. 
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