Research Question 2: What important developments in educational technology 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 developments in technology 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 developments in technology 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 NMC 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" development in 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 Development in Technology
Brief description here (3-4 sentences)

New Topics: Developments in Technology

User Virtualization
- jreinoso jreinoso Sep 30, 2015
User Virtualization (a.k.a Desktop Virtualization) is a software technology that separates the desktop environment and associated application software from the physical device that is used to access it. Companies are offering user virtualization technologies for several years now as Citrix (, Vmware (, and Microsoft ( us/server-cloud/solutions/desktop-virtualization.aspx) between others, offering all kind of flavors but recent developments had allowed a better experience. Although there are different classification, at least 3 flavors are widely recognized which are: Persistent: where each user connects to an individual virtual machine (operating systems, apps, and data). Each instance is assigned to one and only one user such that all his/her operating system, data and apps are stored there. It is the virtual version of having a desktop pc, only that it can be accessed anytime, anywhere and any device. Shared: A pool of instances (operating system, data, and apps) are ready to be accessed by users. When a user requires an instance, one of the pool is assigned. The user can work on it (change data, add new apps) and when the connection is closed, the instance is returned to the pool and all data and application changes are erased. It is equivalent to access a PC from a computer lab. Application virtualization: Instead of providing a whole environment (operation system, data, apps, etc.) just the app is available to be accessed remotely. A particularly interesting case is the high-performance, high-density graphic application such that Autocad, 3DMax and others which now can be accessed anytime, anywhere and any device. All processing is made on the university servers so it doesn’t matter which device is used, the user experience is always the same. Advantages for higher education: Advantages are perceived by Professor because they can increase their productivity given that now they can have access apps, data and operating systems, anytime, anywhere and any device. Also, if they require more processing capabilities or memory, they can get it very fast because it is just an adjustment on the platform. Mobility is another plus: professors can now prepare their presentations and pedagogical environments in their devices and use them easily accessing them from classroom PCs without worrying about PC setups or performance (because everything runs on servers). Almost all specilized software is now accessible anytime, anywhere, any device allowing professors use these kind of resources easly. For institutions, several advantages are also perceived. For example, a better use of resources (memory, cpu, gpu, and data space) is made easily because all resources are shared and used avoiding previous situations where several oversized or undersized devices were assigned to users. Researchers also perceive advantages because they can have access to resources easily. For example, an experiment may requires additional resources temporarily and with this technology that can be done easily. These resources can be memory, cpu, gpu, or specialized apps. Students are also benefited because they can access the technological resources offered by the university (memory, cpu, gpu, and apps). Because all processing is done in university servers, their equipment don’t requires special (and expensive) characteristics, neither have they to buy expensive software for working at home. Additionally, computer labs can operate 7x24 virtually. In fact, any classroom can be easily converted into a computer lab taking advantage of BYOD and this technology. For IT is easier to handle information technology infrastructure because all management can be made centrally. In addition, implementing a Business Continuity Plan is easier if this technology is used. One of the most important advantages for institutions is that the software is no longer locked in private computers ( or computer labs ). Therefore , any subject can be taught in any computer lab or indeed in any classroom , avoiding the loss of earnings. We have been moving toward using VMware at our school. In the past, we would have software that we had limited licenses of and would have it installed in specific labs. This created issues for scheduling. With VMware, we no longer have that issue - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015

Combined with Existing Topics in RQ1

Adaptive & Personalized Learning
- Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 22, 2015 In adaptive & personalized learning, a learner should be able to freely perform an educational activity possibly cooperating and/or collaborating with others using multiple devices and networks as he moves in an environment. The educational activity, the devices and the networks should be adapted to the learner characteristics, needs, preferences, abilities etc. An adaptation engine adapts the educational activity and/or the infrastructure. The goal is to help the learner, increase his learning achievements and satisfaction, decrease his limitations, as well as to achieve a better education and well-being for all. - Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 22, 2015- cevetell cevetell Oct 22, 2015 - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 23, 2015 - DaveP DaveP Oct 25, 2015- neil.witt neil.witt Oct 25, 2015 [[user:escience|1445794545] - kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015 I fully agree. Metacog is a good example of the type of tools that could help bring more adaptive solutions agermain agermain Oct 25, 2015 [Editor's Note: Combining with existing Horizon RQ1 topic "Adaptive Learning Technologies."]

Big Data
"In education, digital learning technologies such as games and online learning systems collect vast amounts of data as students progress through the game, test, or activity. This type of incremental information can give a more complete picture of the learning process than traditional measures such as grades and test scores, which only measure outcomes. It can also help educators and researchers gain valuable insight into how to improve and personalize learning for students," says Aubrey Francisco.
The Chinese version of the bestseller Learning with Big Data: The Future of Education will be published later this year by Shanghai-based East China Normal University. I wonder if this may fit with Visual Data. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 2, 2015 - bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 18, 2015 - ole ole Oct 18, 2015 - helga helga Oct 20, 2015
We have access to an amazing array of data about our students. Trouble is, we just ignore it... (- damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 20, 2015) That's because, like many innovations, it's interesting to talk about but we seem unwilling to make the organizational/structural changes necessary for big data to have any meaningful impact on what we're doing. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 21, 2015
I think Big Data as well Educational Data Mining are covered in the Horizon Topic "Learning Analytics" - Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 21, 2015- cevetell cevetell Oct 22, 2015
I agree that data relating to specific student's progress in a course/activity/game is probably more like Learning Analytics. However, I believe Big Data goes beyond data from specific learning activities. The data that a school collects could be used to look at patterns (for example, looking at success rates in first year courses vs. courses taken in high school, success in 2-4 year courses based on success in first year, etc.). - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015 Are there off-the-shelf commercial solutions for big data in education? - bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 25, 2015 The way in which big data is important in this sector is the way that more detailed/more continuous data collected from less-designed/transactional sources enable new forms of analytics -- which in turn pose novel challenges for interpretation and validation. One area of application for these analytics is learning -- the other is scholarly publishing and impact. - escience escience Oct 25, 2015 Completely agree about the inclusion of Big Data, but can I put in a plea to make sure we talk to our students about their needs, hopes, fears and expectations about what we are going to do with THEIR data - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 25, 2015 [Editor's Note: This is already a part of existing RQ1 topic "Learning Analytics" and we will add these discussions there.]

Internet of Everything
- Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 21, 2015 Internet of Things (IoT) is the worldwide Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure that will support ubiquitous services among interacting beings, objects, data and applications. In IoT, everyone and everything (humans, animals, plants, wearables, appliances, vehicles, machines, etc.) will carry sensors and/or actuators that will be interconnected via networks. Various services and applications that will use and exploit the communicated information will support users and organizations. Using the IoT, students, teachers, administrators and anyone involved in education will access, process, interact, and create knowledge, educational objects, resources, etc. resulting to advanced educational experiences and learning opportunities - Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 21, 2015 Most definitely, IoT brings some interesting applications to the design of learning experiences. It will be interesting to see how as learners go about their lives visiting museums, conducting research on topics of their interest and passion out in the field, as well as interact with experts/tutors live and virtual, the environment is designed to automatically recommend/trigger personalized experiences that are accounted for credit if the learner decides to add it to his/her educational accomplishments and pedigree. Certainly a shift in how we operate in terms of time and space as we know it today at the academy. No more semesters, no more space constraints within the physical campus, or the digital bounds of an LMS. Will there be a beginning and an end point to legitimize a student’s learning journey or will it be fluid in which each waypost is valued for the accomplishments or breakthroughs the learner has made regardless of place and time? - francisca francisca Oct 25, 2015 I would also add a term increasingly being used (in my circles anyway!) The Internet of Everything - people, data, process and things - DaveP DaveP Oct 25, 2015 - francisca francisca Oct 25, 2015Yet another term which I am not yet kin to but heard is the Internet of Learning Things ( One challenge I've found is isolating education-specific IoT uses. Too many instances seem removed from the classroom: linked refrigerators, cars, jewelry, furniture, etc. Wearable computing might be one solid way forward.- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 25, 2015 [Editor's Note: We replaced the term "Internet of Things" a while back with "Networked Objects," as it was/is a more technically focused term. "Internet of Everything" is making a splash in the consumer space. Both refer to the same ideas, however, so we'll try Internet of Everything as a new name for it!]
Online Module Learning Enhancements
- deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 15, 2015 - ole ole Oct 18, 2015 These tools help to create banners, preview videos and announcement learning objects in a website 'frame' that can increase student engagement. Canva (banner creation) Animoto (preview videos) Tackk (website 'frame') [Editor's Note: This is a great dimension to add to existing RQ1 topic "Online Learning."]

Added to RQ3: Trends

Hyper-Convergence of Technology
- tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 21, 2015 Many developments that we used to think of separately are converging into, as yet unnamed conglomerations. To cite just one example, Active Learning and Making are two sides of the same coin. I can see a vision of hyper-local location technologies being incorporated instructionally or inspirationally into MakerSpaces. Reinventing teaching and business processes go hand-in-hand with creating these kinds of spaces. So, where does this land? What technology are we talking about? As industrial barriers to innovation fall, this kind of mixing will become increasingly common. Why are drones such a big deal? We've had remote-controlled planes for decades. It's because we've suddenly added computing and sensing technologies to them, giving them brains and "eyes" that they didn't have before but at the same time completely reinventing their purpose. I'm open to suggestions about names but I think we need something to describe the concept of disparate technologies increasingly coming together to form totally new ones (an old process) but at unprecedented speed and scale. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 21, 2015 Agreed. A number of the technologies we review will not emerge as truly significant in and of themselves, but should prove to be influence as components of a converged technological entity. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 22, 2015 - helga helga Oct 23, 2015- agermain agermain Oct 25, 2015- rubenrp rubenrp Oct 26, 2015 [Editor's Note: Great insights, but this reads more like a trend, so we are adding this to discussions in RQ3.]

The Rise of the EdTech Startups
...and their impact on education. Colleges and universities are facing new competition for customers--students and their parents--from startups delivering similar goods (knowledge, credentials, prestige) more affordably and efficiently. Many of the tools that bring innovation in and beyond the classroom today come from startups rather than the LMS or campus IT. Some of these tools/apps are LTI-ready that means they easily integrate with the existing LMS on campus. These plug and play tools/apps become source for much creativity and inspiration by both teachers and students. 1.
2. 3.
4. - Maya Maya Oct 19, 2015Maya Georgieva [Editor's Note: Great insights, but this reads more like a trend, so we are adding this to discussions in RQ3.]

Rise of Alternative Credentialing
- US Department of Education Opens Financial Aid to Students in ‘Bootcamps’ and Non-Institutional Programs - Ted Mitchell, Under Secretary of Education at the US Department of Education, thinks he has an answer. Today he is announcing that the federal government will loosen restrictions on schools that work with “alternative education providers,” including massive online open course (MOOCs) developers and coding bootcamps. Here’s the kicker: Students enrolled in select programs can be eligible for Title IV federal financial aid.
The US Department of Education has launched the “Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships” (EQUIP) pilot, open to carefully selected colleges or universities that work with non-institutional providers to create new programs. These partnerships must include an independent, third-party “Quality Assurance Entity” of the school’s choosing that will monitor and evaluate the program’s rigor. The school’s accrediting agency must also approve. Inside Higher Ed: A New Route to Student Aid
The New York Times: New Federal Program Offers Students Aid for Nontraditional Education
The Chronicle of Higher Education: A Boon to Boot Camps? U.S. Extends Aid to Campus Deals With Nontraditional Programs
- Maya Maya Oct 19, 2015Maya Georgieva - escience escience Oct 25, 2015
[Editor's Note: Great insights, but this reads more like a trend, so we are adding this to discussions in RQ3.]

Added to RQ4: Challenges

Computers, Individuals, and Planetary Health
- edward.oneill edward.oneill Oct 25, 2015 The more we ask students to use computers, the more we put their health at risk., Can we in ed tech continue to install computer labs where users sit? Should students be sitting in classrooms? Should faculty and staff have standing desks? Treadmills? At what point do we hold ourselves to account for the health of our users, for the impact of computing on our communities' collective health? When will we begin to measure the impact of our computing practices on the health of the planet? At what point do we demand of ourselves that we act ethically towards those we serve and the planet on which we live? [Editor's Note: This reads more like a Challenge, so we will add it to the discussions in RQ4.]

Other Insights and Links

New Development in Technology
Digital exa:. - ole ole Sep 29, 2015

Information Economics/Political Economy
A recurring (although far from universal) consequence of the changes in technology occurring now is "disruption". Disruption, as we have seen it evolve with respect to information technologies most often occurs when technologies dramatically change an important economic property -- such as the marginal cost of use; the effort to evaluate product quality; or returns to scale. We should draw specific attention to areas in which the technologies we discuss are , or have the potential to, shift the economics of the activity. Perhaps this is best addressed within each technology, or as a general driver... See for example, our recent analysis of the scholarly publishing system: - escience escience Oct 25, 2015

Need for a Lifelong Learning Database (Learning and Performance Support System)
paul.signorelli Oct 15, 2015 Started this "Lifelong Learning Database" thread in the New Media Consortium 2015 Wiki-Thon (item #6, at and saw the discussion become very spirited as a new topic on the 2015 Higher Education edition report, so am bringing it back here because it still seems as important as ever...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. As of September 2014: Stephen Downes was looking at his own more-expansive version of this idea and using the terminology "Learning and Performance Support System":
paul.signorelli Oct 15, 2015

Artificial Intelligence

- michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 7, 2015 This topic was here before...maybe it needs to return.- rubenrp rubenrp Oct 26, 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. 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."

- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 18, 2015

While Machine Learning covers much of this, I think it's worthwhile bringing back AI as a separate entity - some of its current applications are hybrids that less autonomous/more expert system-like than what seems to be implied by the Machine Learning label.- rubenrp rubenrp Oct 26, 2015 People Literate or Centric Technologies A mix of technologies that will offer more human interfaces and behaviours some of these include Autonomous Vehicles (Google Car), Bioacoustics sensing and input, Biochips for research in medicine and data gathering , Brain-Computer Interface for example in neuroprosthetics also known as mind machine interface or direct neural interface, Digital Dexterity the proficiency of adoption of new tools and technology - can also be viewed as digital distraction! , Human Augmentation in sports, psychology etc - DaveP DaveP Oct 25, 2015

Immersive Learning Technologies

While Mobile and Online Learning environments were listed, and Virtual and Remote Labs were addressed as well, I was surprised to see that immersive learning environments were not included in the list of Learning Technologies. True that the likes of Second Life and Game-Based education have been around a long time, however, the investigation provided into these represented a first wave of developing understanding for the potential of immersive strategies, and game-based solutions are still growing and adapting as viable environment for experiential learning. Immersive Learning is more that a virtual world like Second Life, or educational games like some of the web-based edugames at (no disrespect intended). There are some great learning opportunities existing using games like Minecraft, Portal 2, and Super Mario Maker that help reinforce STEM concepts, comprehension of basic physics and spacial problem solving, critical thinking, and promote deeper levels of cognitive processing. Additionally, these tools provide perfect environments to develop project management skills. These are just the smallest of examples of viable games that teach without the stigma of being "educational." So students are more motivated and engaged. Beyond the idea of game-based learning, there are simulations (those fully virtualized and those that have blended live components), virtual reality environments, and augmented reality to name a few. When we also factor in the integration of advanced haptics to provide 3D sound, sense of touch, object manipulation, mental interfacing, full-range motion, and even smell, the degree of the experience can be incredible. With the senses engaged at such depth, and provided the design is right, a high degree of suspension of disbelief is possible, and learners are able to meaningful knowledge acquisition for timeframes exceeding the typical attention span. Some of the benefits as a learning technology: - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 22, 2015

- francisca francisca Oct 25, 2015 I completely agree, Doug. Efforts like the teenage obesity prevention at Oregon State University using virtual worlds ( ) and other technologies like wearables, the partnership between military, academy, and industry for the Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy ( ) to do R&D of next gen computing and security compliance, the acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook, and the ever growing number of domains in High Fidelity’s immersive virtual worlds platform ( ) are some of the most exciting and promising preludes into the next iteration of the Web.

How is immersive learning different from VR?- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 25, 2015

Interactive Video

- shaffeje shaffeje Oct 13, 2015 Reinventing presentations and video for online, on-demand, mobile, and anytime/anywhere that can also be tracked. Interactive video puts the action in the hands of the user and delivers the interactivity within the video. An example is Five Minutes (but this is not for the light-hearted!!!). Five minutes is a "live-action game created for Zombie-lovers, gamers, and other tough-as-nails audiences. The experience blurs the line between zombie game and branded interactive film." Written and directed by Maximilian Niemann and produced by Felix Faißt with a student team at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. Other examples or similar concepts:

I would also add Zaption to the list of interactive video software. It allows the use of an existing video to be 'spliced' with multiple choice questions, open text boxes and other resources to augment the quality of learning. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 15, 2015

Speaking of interactivity, and of video, I also see a need to develop tools that will allow true interactivity and rich interactions on line, in a very easy, friendly user way.- kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015 Existing platforms do not offer fluid synchronous interactions between online participants, the same way groups naturally behave in an offline environment: going from small group conversation to larger groups, then back to smaller groups, or pairs, or even individual work, in a very fluid and easy way. However the platform Shindig seems to bring this to the online environment, and I am curious ro see how large online courses (such as MOOCs), might use such a platform to facilitate sharing of perspectives and collaborative work in what is still a very large group lecture format. - agermain agermain Oct 25, 2015

Parallel/Multiple Screens
- rubenrp rubenrp Oct 26, 2015 This would qualify, I think, as a Digital Strategy: as more people use more devices, they tend not to simply replicate what one device does with another device (the "my laptop is my portable desktop" strategy of yesteryear), but rather construct complex complementary approaches for using all devices simultaneously. You can see it as you walk by desks where a laptop, smartphone, and tablet are all side-by-side and being used simultaneously - but for different tasks, in ways that multiple windows or monitors on a single device would not accommodate easily. And now you can add the Apple Watch to the mix... [Editor's Note: This is a good point, but it feels like a dimension of mobiles and wearables.] Note to the editor's note: This might fit in with the topic "Hyper-Convergence of Technology" as what is being created here is a personalized environment for work that incorporates traditional PC environments with mobile environments to create unique combinations of technology. It kind of gets to the larger point that what's going to increasingly matter is not technologies themselves but rather how you combine them. When you're fixing a car a single tool is often not enough. That's why we have toolboxes. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 27, 2015