This report is part of a longitudinal research study of emerging technologies that began in March 2002. Since that time, under the banner of the Horizon Project, the New Media Consortium and its research partners have held an ongoing series of conversations and dialogs with hundreds of technology professionals, campus technologists, faculty leaders from colleges and universities, museum professionals, teachers and other school professionals, and representatives of leading corporations from more than thirty countries. These conversations have been the impetus for a series of nearly 20 annual reports focused on emerging technologies relevant to formal and informal learning in colleges, universities, schools, and museums.
In 2008, the NMC embarked on a new series of regional companion editions of the Horizon Report, with the dual goals of understanding how technology is being absorbed using a smaller lens, and also noting the contrasts between technology use in one area compared to another. To date, companion editions have been prepared that center on education in Australia, New Zealand, and the fourteen countries of Iberoamerica; the series will expand to include Europe, Singapore, and Africa over the next two years.
The flagship Horizon Report, published each January, focuses on higher education globally, and is translated into multiple languages every year. Over all editions, the readership of the reports is estimated at well over 600,000 worldwide, with readers in more than 70 countries.
The Horizon Project Navigator. This edition of the Horizon Report kicks off the ninth year of the series and a turning point in the NMC’s Emerging Technologies Initiative, which is dedicated to charting the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. In each of the preceding years, the Horizon Project process has focused on the creation of a print-based publication (or its pdf analog), one produced through a collaborative process that leveraged the productive potential of a wiki for posting and responding to ideas, RSS feeds for gathering information dynamically, and tagging for collecting and sharing references. The decision to print the NMC report was based on the fact that a physical report remains a powerful tool on many campuses.
However, in its continuing interest in modeling the advantages of new technologies, over the course of 2010, and with the generous support of the HP, the NMC designed and produced the Horizon Project Navigator (http://navigator.nmc.org), an online database that harnesses the power of technology and social media to create an information and resource hub that is made stronger through the participation of its users.
The Horizon Project Navigator leverages the affordances of social media and computation to offer users access to the same materials — and more — used by the Horizon Project Advisory Board. It is a dynamic, customizable, and powerful tool for individuals who want the ability to chart the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, and creative inquiry through their own set of needs and interests. The platform provides a fully dynamic online version of the Horizon Report created for the emerging technology professional.
Dynamic reports can be adapted and modified to suit the needs of individual users, and Navigator itself provides a space within which anyone can participate in the gathering, sifting, and sharing of ideas related to the trends and challenges of emerging technologies in the context of formal and informal learning. The Horizon Project Navigator includes all the research materials, project information, and other ephemera that has been created from the intensive and collaborative process used in creating each annual Horizon Report. The 2011 Horizon Report was the first of the series that was able to draw on the resources of the Horizon Project Navigator in its creation, and marks a new epoch in the history of the project.
The Horizon Project Wiki. The Horizon Project uses qualitative research methods to identify the technologies selected for inclusion in each report. The process begins with a comprehensive survey of the literature, technology news reports, and the work of other organizations. The 43 members of this year’s Advisory Board engaged in a comprehensive review and analysis of research, articles, papers, blogs, and interviews; discussed existing applications, and brainstormed new ones; and ultimately ranked the items on the list of candidate technologies for their potential relevance to teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. This work took place entirely online and may be reviewed on the project wiki at http:// horizon.wiki.nmc.org.
The effort to produce the report and the findings detailed within it began in mid-September 2010 and concluded in early January 2011, a period of just under four months. Most of the work on the project took place in and is preserved on the wiki. All of the interim materials and rankings used to create the report can be found there, as well as the discussions of the Advisory Board around each topic. The six technologies and applications that emerged at the top of the final rankings — two per adoption horizon — are detailed in the chapters that follow.
Each of those chapters includes detailed descriptions, links to active demonstration projects, and a wide array of additional resources related to the six profiled technologies. Those profiles are the heart of the 2011 Horizon Report, and will fuel the work of the Horizon Project throughout 2011-12. For those wanting to know more about the processes used to generate the Horizon Reports, many of which are ongoing and extend the work in the reports, we refer you to the report’s final section on the research methodology.