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 Higher Ed 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 Higher Ed institutions be actively looking for ways to apply?
c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that Higher Ed institutions should begin to take notice during the next four to five 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.

Compose your entries like this:

New Technology Topic
Brief description here (3-4 sentences)

Added to RQ1 as New Technology Topics

Adaptive Learning Technology
Systems that adapt to the student as she learns, changing the exercises and even path through the learning are already a reality. As these systems become more powerful, the will dramatically change what and how we teach. The machine as patient tutor is the next big thing in education! - david.thomas david.thomas Oct 21, 2014 Thanks, David...yes! And if I may add, include 'adaptive learning/work space' as shown here: Space, time and location are just a few of the 'tipping point' ingredients that are shifting this new domain. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 24, 2014 I would agree with these points. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 27, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 27, 2014 - Mark.fink Mark.fink Oct 27, 2014 This is something faculty increasingly ask me about. One should distinguish adaptive technology at the level of the individual based on SME input and design vs. adaptation based on aggregated data across users. The latter is particularly interesting insofar as some of the instructional design in a sense becomes crowdsourced, or at least the software 'learns' what pathways work better. Cogbooks is an interesting player in this arena: they are a finalist in a Gates Foundation courseware competition ( and just received a multi-million dollar VC infusion ( - edward.oneill edward.oneill Oct 27, 2014 - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 28, 2014- joseph.cevetello joseph.cevetello Oct 28, 2014 [EDITOR'S NOTE: This has been part of the Learning Analytics theme for the past two years. We will break it out this year for voting to see if it is time for it to have its own topic.]

Biometrics and Authentication Technologies
There has been some buzz recently around online student verification, especially in the discussion about MOOC business models. I think this point has not been really covered yet. There is a number of resources and links, e.g. this short description: "Biometrics: The Learning House lists some of the most recent techniques to identify students through “fingerprinting, voice recognition, and retinal scans” as ” technically possible, although still not widely used.” However, Hilbelink noted that these systems are on the horizon. As an example, online course management service eduKan recently worked with BioSig-ID to “measure unique behavioral characteristics” of students using devices like a mouse or touchpad." [[| - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 27, 2014]] Biometrics/verified identity/anti-cheating. Big Brother or no, the question of who is doing the work and taking the tests and with what aids continues to stalk the question of credit. Are we giving credit to the student who earned it or paid for it? Having been involved in cases of academic honesty where the student literally outsourced their work to someone in another country, I grudgingly must admit that this trend is landing in our laps, like it or not! - david.thomas david.thomas Oct 28, 2014

Digital Exams
I do miss digital exam that was discussed at an earlier step in this years' list and also put on it:, With its paperess flow it has streamlined the examns within my academic area (School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus, DK). More than 40.000 examns were successfully managed last term. In the past 2 years I have been increasingly involved with evaluations for providing secure online exams and related invigilation. As the adoption of online, blended, at-distance learning continues, this is a very important and practical piece of the learning environment. - vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 Agreed. In Japan one of the main reasons why online education has not caught up is because of the lack of reliable methods of doing exams. It's not a fancy topic, but a very important one in higher education.- kumiko.aoki kumiko.aoki Oct 28, 2014

While not completely new, robotics have evolved significantly over the past few years and look poised to develop even more in the near term (see for an update). From Roombas to self-driving cars to elder care bots, robots have entered the consumer world. In addition, networked robots have come into their own, as network and processing speeds have become more useful. See, for example, telepresence robots, which I've dubbed "doppelbots", . (These could appear under the "Internet Technologies" header, while robotics in general under "Consumer"). We've seen robots take their place in education, starting with engineering/computer science classes teaching students how to build them. - bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014- joseph.cevetello joseph.cevetello Oct 28, 2014

Visual/Audio Asynchronous Discussion Boards
The tool we currently use for this is VoiceThread, where instructors and students can post visual material and have a discussion around the visual. The discussion can either be typed or recorded (audio only or web cam or phone). This type of discussion board goes deeper than the traditional threaded discussion in learning management systems. I would like to see more products like this available for teaching and learning. - mbuckner mbuckner Oct 28, 2014

Combined with Existing Technology Topics in RQ1

Bridging Applications for Place-Based Learning
New applications of technology that will bring place-based learning experiences to a smartphone for incoming freshman and first generation ESL students to learn about the campus and its resources. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 27, 2014 [Editor's Note: Great example! This fits in well with the existing topic Location Based Services so this comment will be placed there for the purposes of voting.]

Flipped Classrooms
Which is form of blended learning however can be recognized as its own entity. Students being prepared before they actually have the face2face class. Hence class time is not a lecture but rather time for peer to peer learning, discussion and collaborative work. As blended learning the content is shared via video, social media or LMSs. The difference being that the face2 face is for activity learning not lecturing. - astoute astoute Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: This is already a technology topic in RQ1, so we will place these comments there for the purposes of voting.]

ePublishing and eTextbooks
I have made presentations using that material from the Horizon Reports many times. I have had one consistent question from these audiences - where is the recognition of electronic publishing? There are two threads to this. First, there is ePublishing as a means of producing and sharing content, especially in terms of scholarly research. This is of great interest to faculty, but also could be used by higheer education professionals in other roles as well as students. This has more gravitas that social media, but that rich palette of channels can be used to enhance and promote ePublication. The second area of concern is in the rapidly growing field of eTextbooks. The electronic text market has the usual suspects from print-based publication, but alternative and open source publishing systems are available, - larry.miller larry.miller Oct 28, 2014 - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 28, 2014 The integration of various content resources into the LMS, whether it be from textbook publishers or open source publishing systems is a game changer, reducing the requirement for instructional design teams to build/rebuild/remake content that already exists in various publishers inventories. This makes the production of high quality online courses more cost-effective, and presumably enhances learner engagement due to the big dollars mainstream publishers invest in e-content - vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: Great example! This fits in well with the existing topic Electronic Publishing so this comment will be placed there for the purposes of voting.]

Added as New Trends to RQ3

Convergence of Connected and Networked Learning
Several significant trends are converging that point in the direction of growth for connected and networked learning in higher education. These trends include (1) the growing ubiquity of social media; (2) the integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning; (3) the shift from students as consumers to students as creators; and (4) the evolution of online learning. Connected and networked learning has the potential to bridge formal and informal learning. It has been employed in K-12 and has potential for impact in higher education in both face-to-face classroom, hybrid, and distance learning. Technologies related to connected or networked learning include personal learning environments (PLEs) and networks (PLNs), personal knowledge base, personal knowledge management, personal information management, personal scholarly workflow, and networked scholars. Transfer of knowledge and skills for lifelong learning is a potential outcome of connected and networked learning, in which learners maintain access to people, resources, and environments after graduation. - Jolie Jolie Oct 23, 2014 Yes...and in this mix, businesses must partner with these new learning networks. It's happening but slowly. Businesses have the responsibility of investing into the learning at the 'connected and networked learning' level, reducing the gulf of dichotomy. What if and other MOOCs offered courses/certificate programs that linked with the student's major? Expand the concept of internship. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 24, 2014 I like this as I think it addresses a challenge--namely the need for students to critically think and navigate complex social media interactions. The technology and means to address this particular focus on learning is here, even as this topics continues to develop as a trend. - jasonr jasonr Oct 26, 2014 - ole ole Oct 27, 2014 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 27, 2014 - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 28, 2014 More and more demand for technology-enabled team-based learning and social learning; institutions struggle with supporting platforms for this, since it is beyond-the-LMS; and lots of grappling with privacy issues when learning-and-making happens in commercial cloud environments.- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014
[Editor's Note: This reads more like a trend, so I am placing it in RQ3.]

Increasing Use of Visual Communications
Communication is becoming increasingly visual with the mainstream adoption of smartphones and more sophisticated mobile applications. Snapchat and Vine are very popular amongst teenagers, signalling a shift in how people are communicating in their social circles. Facebook and Instagram are now populated with videos, images, and text. Videos may be sent to ask a question or greet a friend. Screenshots are taken to document fleeting occurrences on our mobile devices. Photographs, as opposed to written notes, are sent to communicate messages that were once textual. For example, "Here's a picture of the kind of milk you need to get at the store." What opportunities does our new visual communication landscape offer for higher education?- mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: Well said! This reads more like a trend, so I will be moving it to RQ3.]

The Rise of Open Communities and University Consortiums
Having the ability for collective action to compete for the future of higher education will be key in the next 5 years. With publishers and other vendors trying to "lock" individual Universities into their ecosystems, or dilute the brand or control the educational experience, projects like Unizin become extremely important in the higher education landscape. For example, the Unizin consortium "will provide a common technological platform delivered over higher education’s community-owned national research and education network operated by Internet2 consortium. This advanced environment will allow member universities to work locally and together to strengthen their traditional mission of education and research while using the most innovative digital technology available. The consortium has been launched to enable successful individual campus learning strategies to be easily expanded at scale and shared across all participating institutions." - momillard momillard Oct 21, 2014. In British Columbia, Canada, we have a very active post-secondary shared service consortium (BCNET) which provides procurement of a long list of technologies on behalf of all 26 post-secondary institutions; and BCcampus, a community-of-teaching&learning support practitioners and faculty, focused on sharing the investment in open textbook development and supporting user communities related to best practice for diffusion of learning technologies.Collective action is absolutely "where it is at" given the imperative to share/reduce high costs of technology-enabled learning, plus work through best practices for effective community adoption.- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: This reads more like a trend, so I am placing it in RQ3.]

Growth of Standards like Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI)
LTI enables a tool to be used across many platforms, as opposed to logging into unique tools one at a time. When faculty consider teaching with web-based tools, the necessity of requiring students to create accounts to use those tools may be a barrier to adoption. LTI eliminates this barrier by providing for a streamlined learning experience for faculty and students. - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: Standards are outside the scope of the technologies we typically focus on, but it would fit nicely as a trend, so we are placing it in RQ3.]

Combined with Existing Trends in RQ3

Blended Learning
Embracing the very best of online and face to face learning and teaching methodologies, blended learning strives to give the students the very best education possible, using every method currently available to enable students to learn, whatever their learning styles, geographical location or educational background. Audio, video, learning objects, social media and formal and informal face to face classes all have their part to play in creating the best possible learning experience, but few programmes are truly blended, as academics lack the necessary skills or experience to make them happen, which has lead to the creation of teams like mine to help them enhance their learning and teaching. the road to the perfect blended learning experience will be a long on, not least because the technologies change so often, but I have no doubt that, eventually, all educational programmes at all levels will use blended learning to enhance theor learning and teaching. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 [Editor's Note: Great points! This fits in with our existing trend "Increasing Use of Hybrid Learning Designs" and has been added to the discussion there.]

Added as New Challenges to RQ4

Establishing Institutional Course Production Environments
..."on steroids." As many of these tools are currently or soon-to-be part of the everyday post-secondary learning environment, there is increasing pressure on adopting and managing institutional course production methods and workflow (large-scale e-learning course rollover, clean-up and minor fixes which are required to prepare a course for the next cohort of learners, with all the quality checks required when the course contains locally-developed syllabus and content, open and proprietary publishers' content, locally-supported tools, cloud-based tools and syndication of various other elements within the course.- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: This reads more like a Challenge and is being placed in RQ4.]

Student Information Systems Need to Change
All higher education organization have a heavy investment in SIS. Transcript control and fidelity is critical to the mission of higher, ensuring that we can accurate track, store and report on student achievement. At the same time, SIS in most institutions has become a barrier to change. It is as if our institutions state: If we we can't track and transcript it, you can't do it. But, from MOOCS to badging, the world is asking for alternative forms of education delivery and tracking. SIS needs to change.- david.thomas david.thomas Oct 21, 2014 Agreed. - Sam Sam Oct 26, 2014 I would agree that most SIS systems no longer meet the changing needs of both educational institutions and the students themselves. I just attended a presentation at our campus by Workday on their plans for their new SIS which they are building from scratch, and the difference between what they are planning and our current system was quite marked. I liked this recent article in The New York Times which just highlights how are current systems are not meeting the needs of students either: - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014 Agreed, and these SIS are so convoluted they cant keep up woth what we wanted to do 5 years ago, let alone what we want to do 5 years from now with badges, intra-institutional credit transfer and management, etc.- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: This reads more like a Challenge and is being placed in RQ4.]

Need for a Lifelong Learning Database (Learning and Performance Support System)
Carrying this "Lifelong Learning Database" idea over from a very spirited discussion earlier this year in the New Media Consortium Wiki-Thon (item #6, at and adding an update about a proposed Learning and Performance Support System: The 2010 Pew Research Center report on Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next suggests that this generation may become the best-educated ever since members of that generation understand that learning doesn’t end upon graduation. The recognition that the learning that extends from K-12 into formal higher-education degree work continues into the workplace also can take into account the idea that learners may return to campus physically or virtually for additional degrees at various stages in their lives—which means that some sort of database which provides one-stop shopping for those interested in recording their various formal and informal learning opportunities can be valuable to learners, employers, and learning organizations that want to quickly document a learner’s background during the admissions process. A platform-agnostic system that goes far beyond the current e-portfolios—something that allows learning organizations to officially post learner’s significant achievements (degrees earned as well as other achievements recognized through badging and other systems) –would be well worth exploring and documenting within the context of Horizon Project reviews of evolving uses of technology in learning—think of something far more sophisticated than LinkedIn, sanctioned, facilitated, and supported by a consortium of learning organizations. Update as of September 2014: Stephen Downes is looking at his own more-expansive version of this idea and is using the terminology "Learning and Performance Support System": paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 27, 2014 I definitely this will be an area of interest. It promotes lifelong learning and as stated will be of benefit to those entering the workplace. anna stoute - astoute astoute Oct 28, 2014 I agree. I see this as an extension to the great interest in previous years in e-portfolios and current interest in topics like badges and micro-credentials. - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014 - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 28, 2014 [EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a great idea, but we could find no supporting evidence for it. In the Horizon Project, we try to focus on trends, technologies, and challenges that currently exist, either in some campuses or in other sectors. As such, we are reframing it it as a challenge that needs to be solved, rather than as something that sounds like it already exists. Thus moved to RQ4]