Each year the Horizon Report, a joint project of the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative, reports on current trends in the use of technology in education.
This year's four major trends are
- How technology is changing the role of educators. Now that knowledge is not a scarce commodity, students are more in need of learning how to evaluate sources, make sense of new situations, and demonstrating their competence and accomplishments.
- Any time, any place. With ubiquitous connections, people expect to be able to do whatever they need or want to, whenever they need or want to do it, wherever they happen to be.
- Decentralization. Increasingly, applications are cloud based, support is not local, and the applications work on any connected device.
- Collaboration. Social networking has vastly increased communications, and while education has been slow to follow, increasingly, student work will be collaborative, crossing departments and institutions.
The report admonishes schools for not teaching better digital skills; not the skills involving how to use the technology, but the higher order skills of knowing how to use the technology to think better and achieve better outcomes. This is further exasperated as schools at all levels focus on decreasing costs and on narrowly defined goals like test scores.
The report sees large near term impact from mobile computing, despite concerns about privacy and security, and open content, as schools look to shed costs. As open content gets adopted and mobile devices are improved, the use of e-books will also grow as will the deployment of augmented reality, which overlays digital information over views of the physical world.
The report, available here, also has examples for each of the trends and challenges facing education.