Each year thousands of faculty, administrators, entrepreneurs, consultants, policymakers and industry watchdogs wait for the great unveiling of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report: Higher Education Edition. Today they get their wish. The report, now in its 15th year, explores how emerging technologies will impact colleges and universities across the globe. The Austin, Texas-based NMC, an international community of education experts, today released its latest findings in conjunction with the Educause Learning Initiative Annual Meeting.
The 2016 report analyzes edtech’s potential impact on teaching, learning and creative inquiry in higher education between now and 2020. As Bryan Alexander, credited with coining the term ‘MOOC’ and a panelist for the research, reminded audiences at the ELI conference earlier today, the technology developments explored in the Horizon Report won’t happen in a vacuum. They reflect changing demographic and economic forces that have their tentacles in all aspects of higher education. These shifts, including an aging population, widening income inequality and machine automation, are turning higher education on its head, Alexander said. He illustrated the point with a rhetorical question: “How many core curricula have gone through thinking about automation as an ontological threat?”
The Horizon Report receives roughly 11,000 downloads every day from across 200 countries, NMC CEO Larry Johnson said at the conference. The research draws on insights from a panel of 58 international education and technology experts, who perform a systematic review of current literature that pertains to tech trends.
We won’t attempt to synthesize the entire document—it’s 46 pages of research analysis, after all—but here’s a look at the developments that NMC panelists think will have the greatest impact on technology planning and decision-making across campuses over the next five years. (Time to adoption increases as you move down the list.)
Most of these technologies were developed outside the realm of education, but the panelists agreed they have clear applications in the field. For more on the 2016 analysis, check out the full report.