The Horizon Project Advisory Board annually identifies critical challenges facing learning organizations over the five-year time period covered by this report, drawing them from a careful analysis of current events, papers, articles, and similar sources. The challenges ranked as most likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, and creativity in the coming years appear below, in the order of importance assigned them by the Advisory Board.
- Significant shifts in scholarship, research, creative expression, and learning have created a need for innovation and leadership at all levels of the academy. This challenge has evolved over the past year and is a crucial one for teaching and learning. As the gap grows between new scholarship and old, leadership and innovation are needed at all levels of the academy—from students to faculty to staff and administrative leadership. It is critical that the academic community as a whole embraces the potential of technologies and practices like those described in this report. Experimentation must be encouraged and supported by policy; in order for that to happen, scholars, researchers, and teachers must demonstrate its value by taking advantage of opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary work.
- Higher education is facing a growing expectation to deliver services, content and media to mobile and personal devices. This challenge is even more true today than it was a year ago. As new devices like the Apple iPhone and the LG Electronics Voyager are released that make content almost as easy to access and view on a mobile as on a computer, the demand for mobile content will continue to grow. Recent infrastructure changes have resulted in increased access areas for mobile devices, and there are clear applications of mobile technology for public safety, education, and entertainment. This is more than merely an expectation to provide content: this is an opportunity for higher education to reach its constituents wherever they may be.
The renewed emphasis on collaborative learning is pushing the educational community to develop new forms of interaction and assessment. Collaborative experiences in virtual worlds are easy to find today compared to a year ago, when this challenge was first described. The results are encouraging, but more work is needed on the assessment side before the full potential of these kinds of activities can be realized. Issues like ownership of collaborative work and certification of authorship present difficulties for evaluation. Further development of social networking and other collaborative tools will continue to facilitate this kind of work, and opportunities for interaction will only increase; the challenge faced by the educational community is to seize those opportunities and develop effective ways to measure academic progress as it happens.
These challenges are a reflection of the impact of new practices and technologies on our lives. They are indicative of the changing nature of the way we communicate, access information, and connect with peers and colleagues. Taken together, they provide a framing perspective with which to consider the potential impacts of the six technologies and practices described in this edition of the Horizon Report.
Posted by NMC on February 3, 2008