Research Question 2: What key technologies are missing from our list?


Instructions: Please use these prompts to help you consider what might need to be added to the current list of Horizon Topics. Add your thoughts as bullet points below, using a new bullet point for each new technology or topic. Please add your comments to previous entries if you agree or disagree.
a. What would you list among the established technologies that some educational institutions are using today that arguably ALL institutions should using broadly to support or enhance teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?
b. What technologies that have a solid user base in consumer, entertainment, or other industries should educational institutions be actively looking for ways to apply?
c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that learning-focused institutions should begin to take notice during the next 4 to 5 years?

Each new topic entry must include a title, a description similar to the ones that are written now, and, if needed, a rationale as to why it is different from any of the existing topics. The Horizon Project research team will investigate each nomination entered here to see if it meets the criteria set for new topics (eg., that the topic represents a "real" technology, as opposed to a concept, a new idea, or a proposal; that it is sufficiently developed that research, projects, and information about it exist; and that it has a demonstrable link, or strong potential link, to education).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking them with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples.

New Topics Added by Panel: Developments in Technology



Virtual Reality (VR). Virtual reality is a computer generated simulation that can be interacted with in a seemingly real way using a specialised helmet and controller. With the advent of tools like the Oculus Rift, VR will shortly be highly accessible to consumers. VR can provide users with learning opportunities that were previously inaccessible to them. This includes immersive tours of the solar system, sea floor, or cities around the world. There are also implications for inclusive settings, storytelling and games based learning. - john.burns john.burns Oct 11, 2015 I agree wholeheartedly with John on this. VR will change the landscape not just of what we can teach but how we can teach and the cognitive perspective therein. VR opens the doors to a huge boost in distance learning penetration and may play a role in our sense of presence heightening empathy (although further research must be conducted- David.collett David.collett Oct 25, 2015 Agreed on all counts, particularly in cultivating a disposition towards service and action. I linked an article to this VR film made to show the daily life of a Syrian refugee. It's the closest any of us would come to understanding without physically being there. Our students will be able to virtually go places that are too dangerous or expensive to go.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 3, 2015 My real excitement for VR is when we begin to uninstitutionalize education. I am excited by when students are able to enter virtual learning rooms, that students and teachers all over the globe are able to collaborate within. Within a world co-constructed by learners that come and go and with real time experts being able to interact with learners. The walls of the classroom would literally be destroyed, as students entered virtual environments and could learn from anywhere- with anyone! I think it would be really cool when students will be able to collaboratively create games within the VR. Similar to Minecraft, students could create and construct games that a tailored to their interests. This helps them gain programming knowledge, gaming, problem solving, problem creation and design thinking skills whilst working within a potentially multi-cultural, multi-linguistic VR setting. (put in this AR originally lol serves me right to add content at 3AM) - tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 I agree with John. Many fortune 500 companies such as Google, Ferrari, Disney, Samsung and Sony are investing big money into VR and progressive, well-resourced international schools should sit up and pay attention. VR has real potential for active student learning and will be a catalyst for curriculum reform. Further insights in this article from FastCompany http://www.fastcompany.com/3052209/tech-forecast/vr-and-augmented-reality-will-soon-be-worth-150-billion-here-are-the-major-pla - aaron.metz aaron.metz Nov 10, 2015 I'm afraid I don't have much to contribute to this as I'm not as well versed on the uses and abilities of VR. Reading the comments above, however, I immediately began to wonder how I could use this technology in my classroom. But how does it work? Can one "set up" a VR room (say, of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre) and then have students "enter" it to look around and explore? I mean, the more I think about it, the more exciting it sounds. Clearly, I have some catching up to do... - uzay.ashton uzay.ashton Nov 10, 2015 I want to say VR is a technology that will be important to T&L in the next 5 years, but will it really? I'm not trying to be a downer here, I'm just not seeing evidence (yet) that it is being recognized as important. Rather, it seems poised to be a nice, fluffy addition rather than a key one. I get excited about it when I see its most basic use (thinking of Google cardboard, for example, and its application to everything from poetry to history to science), but if I look ahead at what researchers are looking at in the digital humanities for example (in higher ed), they've moved on from this. VR is a bit "meh, it was cool, but... " for them. I can get excited about it but I just don't yet see it catching on. I actually suspect we'll leapfrog over VR in the coming years. I have nothing but instinct to back this up, however... well, that and looking at trends in higher ed academia in edtech fields. But maybe that's really shortsighted. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015 Yeah, I have to agree with Adrienne. Once one stops swooning over the "wow" factor, their is a huge challenge of its applications. How many teachers exploit Youtube and other media rich sites to enhance their curriculum? The teacher is not a "virtual" reality, but an actual reality. Does that make him or her any more interesting or worthy in the students' eyes?- patrick.mcmahon patrick.mcmahon Nov 10, 2015

Added to RQ3: Trends


Blended Learning: more than just Flipping the Classroom, or provision of a Technology-Rich Environment, Blended Learning as described by Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker (authors of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools) requires traditional Brick and Mortar spaces, a guide or facilitator, and the ability to access a learning management system that allows for facilitated feedback, a la Khan Academy. The research is compelling on how Blended Learning initiatives across the US and around the world are showing increases in student learning, scalability for relatively low cost, and most importantly increasing student engagement as they choose time, space, place and pace of their own learning. There are a variety of models of blended learning with subtle differences. Nurturing, face-to-face adults are of critical importance to children's success, but these models begin to encourage maturity and independence by allowing students to participate in the management of their own learning. As something to watch for in the future, it doesn't get bigger than Blended Learning.- maninder.kalsi maninder.kalsi Nov 4, 2015 This is the biggest possibility for truly having individualized learning as well as school structure. Class sizes don't have to be the limit, teachers can be in charge of focussed learning activities and facilitating personalized lessons to small sections of a huge cohort. Content delivery can be attained by multiple methods, but the application can be facilitated by teachers, experts in a field, or professionals in said field. Agree with Maninder, teachers will have to be flexible to work with multiple different group dynamics from year to year. - mark.mcelroy mark.mcelroy Nov 9, 2015 In order to help teachers struggling with teaching digital citizenship and digital literacy, I created a blended learning space for teachers to use an online flipped model found in such places as TEDEd lessons. This was to help create individualized learning for the students as they often enter the classroom with disparate knowledge of tech. Teachers are invited to access children's abilities based on a phase document then mini lessons are set up for children to access content and complete tasks on-line. The system doesn't have the sophisticated feedback or LMS of Khan academy, but it is an example of the move towards blended learning by international schools in the region. http://edtechframework4schools.weebly.com/- tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 I think with the recently (cheaper) technological advances as of late, the blended classroom has much to offer and has not been exploited as such. And attention should be given to content equally, because poor content can deflate the the concept of flipping classrooms quite quickly. - patrick.mcmahon patrick.mcmahon Nov 9, 2015 In the last three years the blended learning landscape has undoubtably shifting with the rapid rise of smart phones, free/inexpensive storage, a focus on user interface design and 'an app or third-party extension for just about everything'. I think the challenge for schools lays in developing a shared vision complemented by investment in infrastructure and professional learning for faculty around digital pedagogies and instructional design. - aaron.metz aaron.metz Nov 10, 2015 I agree with what's been said above about how Blended Learning is making itself more and more into the "average" school. Particularly in places which might have to worry about security threats (e.g. bombing in Bangkok), or weather (e.g. haze in Singapore and Malaysia), schools are now starting to think about how they can continue to operate within contingency plans. Many schools at the moment seem to think it's just about putting a platform of some kind in place, however, when the reality is that Blended Learning requires much more forethought, planning, and training. It doesn't simply replace what's been done before, and we also cannot just assume that because there is a platform, that learning is actually happening there. If we are going to look properly at Blended Learning -- and I believe schools want to -- we will have to look at how the learning will happen in blended environments. The Christensen institute has some great research and definitions on this topic:http://www.christenseninstitute.org/key-concepts/blended-learning-2/ and http://www.christenseninstitute.org/blended-learning-definitions-and-models/ - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015 [Editor's Note: Great commentary here; I think this fits in with our trend Increasing Use of Hybrid/Blended Learning Designs, so we are adding this to the discussion in RQ3.] - Vic Vic Nov 10, 2015 There is an element of online schools here as well. The topics mentioned above I fully agree with, but I am finding that schools are turning more to blended or online to build their catalog of options for kids.- matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

Combined with Existing Challenges in RQ4


Increased and Reliable Bandwith: This is an infrastructure issue, but given the move to cloud computing, bandwidth will continue to be a significant consideration for educational institutions going forward. People will make choices about which school to enrol in based on this type of support, all other things being equal. Given that we are in the Information Age, people will need consistent and reliable access to information. Funds that previously were spent on hardware (computers, tablets, etc.), servers, and support will have a significant portion redirected to increasing bandwidth.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 6, 2015
[Editor's Note: Excellent point; I'm combining this with the challenge Under-resourced Campus Infrastructure in RQ4.] - Vic Vic Nov 10, 2015

Coding: Established technologies: my suggestion may be a little off topic and possibly dated but teaching the language of coding from grade 1 onward seems like an obvious necessity these days - as much teaching reading, writing and math. Here's an article that sheds some light on the topic: http://readwrite.com/2013/05/31/programming-core-skill-21st-century.[[user/simon.gauci|1445476011]] I also concur on this front. Coding is the language of the internet and understanding what is fast growing into a parallel world to me seems to warrant a place alongside other staples of education such as language learning, the arts and PE (older but still relevant video on this idea:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU1xS07N-FA) - David.collett David.collett Oct 25, 2015 While I agree that exposure to the language of coding/programming is valuable, I wonder at what point we reach diminishing returns with students. This article is more about the emergence of coding academies being sold as a "quick and easy" career move, and it's a bit curmudgeonly, but I think the author makes a good case for where this is all going. Namely, the tools to create basic software will one day be readily accessible and will be based on combining visual elements (think a mega version of Scratch) or even translating intentions to code via voice (the author links to this MIT article to show that this is underway). If things are heading this way, I don't see that spending a lot of time learning programming will be a necessity for all students.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 3, 2015 Coding is important though I would recommend approaching this from another angle by creating the logic of coding in early years in the form of fun games , in the end of the day coding is logic, better the logic better the code, at early age students tend to like to play , creating curriculum games keeping coding in mind is an approach that will teach students and train their logic and prepare for coding in future years. e.g : a group of children, with two teachers, draw a 8x8 squares in the floor and place the two persons in far squares ask student to start commanding them where to go to meet each other, or place an object and teacher move into squares to reach the objects, the logic students learn and simplest steps to achieve this is actually coding in my humble opinion.- abdulrahman.hasan abdulrahman.hasan Nov 6, 2015 Coding...more important than a second language...just an opinion. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Nov 6, 2015 I think we haven't done enough data collection as education institutions on just how important (or if it is important at all) coding is to children's longitudinal academic success. I think it is easy to assume that it may have little impact because programming will get easier and easier over time. However, similar to the MakerSpace movement, coding seems less about the buzz word- coding- and more about systems thinking. If we want children to be flexible in thinking and have a variety of ways to problem solve, as well as create problems, then coding is a simple first step for very young learners. The, "if this, then that" that happens in programming is a excellent way to teach even 5 year olds about consequences to actions. At NIST, we have only just started introducing coding to the maths programme in the PYP, we have only had one Global Codeathon event and no data has been gathered on how this relates to learning. I think as it is now infused in many schools throughout the region it is necessary to include it here. I created a website for parents, teachers and students to understand coding better at NIST.- tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 I'm not sure about coding as a technology, but surely coding as a curricular element is gaining importance and relevance. Thinking of it this way -- as a curricular piece rather than as a tool through which we access other content/skills -- I'm not sure it belongs here. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015 [Editor's note: I've combined this with a challenge that addresses coding -- "Teaching Complex Thinking."] - Vic Vic Nov 12, 2015

Other Insights


Artificial Intelligence. I know this was a topic in the past...but this is becoming a part of our daily landscape. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Nov 6, 2015 "Artificial intelligence is already all around you, from web search to video games. AI methods plan your driving directions, filter your spam, and focus your cameras on faces. AI lets you guide your phone with your voice and read foreign newspapers in English. Beyond today's applications, AI is at the core of many new technologies that will shape our future. From self-driving cars to household robots, advancements in AI help transform science fiction into real systems." "The Cognitive Business Solutions group will also advise customers on data-intensive topics such as business analytics, security and the Internet of things, IBM said. Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. have taken advantage of recent advances in artificial intelligence to provide virtual assistants and to improve their voice- and image-recognition capabilities." - kurt.wittig kurt.wittig Nov 7, 2015 Semantic Scholar is a database that uses AI to search for computer science articles. This is the first database powered in this fashion but how long until we see EBSCO, ProQuest, JSTOR, and other K12 databases powered in this way? http://www.nature.com/news/artificial-intelligence-institute-launches-free-science-search-engine-1.18703
[Editor's Note: Definitely a relevant point of discussion.] - Vic Vic Nov 10, 2015