1 The internationally recognized series of Horizon Reports is part of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project, a comprehensive research venture established in 2002 that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years on a variety of sectors around the globe. This volume, the 2011 Horizon Report, examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. It is the eighth in the annual series of reports focused on emerging technology in the higher education environment.
2 To create the report, the Horizon Project’s Advisory Board, an international body of experts in education, technology, business, and other fields, engaged in a discussion based on a set of research questions intended to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify a broad array of potential technologies for the report. This dialog was enriched by a wide range of resources, current research, and practice that drew on the expertise of the NMC community and the communities of the members of the board. These interactions among the Advisory Board are the focus of the Horizon Report research, and this report details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.
3 Each edition of the Horizon Report introduces six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use within three adoption horizons over the next five years. Key trends and challenges that will affect current practice over the same time frame add context to these discussions. Over the course of just a few weeks, the Advisory Board came to a consensus about the six topics that appear here in the 2011 Horizon Report. The examples and readings under each topic area are meant to provide practical models as well as access to more detailed information. Wherever possible, an effort was made to highlight the innovative work going on among learning-focused institutions. The precise research methodology employed is detailed in the closing section of this report.
4 The report’s format is consistent from year to year and edition to edition, and opens with a discussion of the trends and challenges identified by the Advisory Board as most important for the next five years. The format of the main section of this edition closely reflects the focus of the Horizon Project itself, centering on the applications of emerging technologies in higher education settings. Each section is introduced with an overview that describes what the topic is, followed by a discussion of the particular relevance of the topic to teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. Several concrete examples of how the technology is being used are given. Finally, each section closes with an annotated list of suggested readings and additional examples that expand on the discussion in the report, including a link to the tagged resources collected during the research process by project staff, the Advisory Board, and others in the global Horizon Project community.