For the past 13 years, the New Media Consortium (NMC) has been monitoring emerging technology trends in education and libraries. Partnering with EDUCAUSE, the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition identifies trends, challenges, and important developments higher education institutions face. The Report synthesizes discussion of a 56 member panel of experts.
One short term trend identified by the report is the use of blended learning methods. Instructors are integrating a mix of online and in-person instructional methods as an alternative to a one-mode approach. Blended learning allows for flexible teaching and learning styles and overcoming logistical difficulties of distance, space, and time. Our weather related closings earlier this semester highlight the need for these mixed approaches.
A mid-term trend driving educational technology is the opportunities available for exploiting open education resources or OER. OER culls educational content openly available (through license or public domain) that permits free use and repurposing to create content for full course materials: textbooks, videos, tests, software, etc. Similarly, an open textbook movement is surging with universities creating cooperative projects like The Open Textbook Network to combine a growing list of freely usable textbooks in Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural and Physical Sciences and many other disciplines.
The Horizon Report sees improving digital literacy as a solvable challenge. Digital literacy brings a set of competencies for applying technology-based tools to learning paired with the ability to evaluate electronic information resources. These skills are put to work in critical thinking and meeting course requirements. While a solvable challenge, the report notes digital literacy poses a learning curve for instructors and students alike.
The New Media Consortium also issues a similar Horizon Report for Libraries. The 2014 Library Edition identifies 18 areas or topics–also among trends, challenges, and developments–that will affect technology planning and decision-making.
Two mid-range trends that drive technology and the direction of library services are the changing nature of the scholarly record and the drive to increase accessibility of these new forms of content. Beyond traditional books and journals, blogs, repositories, and open access venues are creating new standards for ‘certifying, convening, and maintaining’ works. Libraries are developing ways to offer those venues as research outlets as well as information resources.
Two challenges at the fore are how to embed academic libraries and information research skills (aka information literacy) and rethinking the roles and skills of librarians. The information literacy challenge is re-expressed in the digital literacy challenge illustrated in the 2015 Higher Education Report. Long-term outcomes for learning research skills means moving beyond one-time orientation sessions means continuous instruction and research support throughout the student’s coursework. Scaling information literacy requirements across the entire university involves extensive use of technology-enabled delivery and librarians consulting with faculty who deliver information literacy components through higher levels of the academic curriculum.
As information needs change, expectations of librarians and information providers are also evolving. Academic libraries and their librarians will fulfill more highly specialized roles. Librarians with responsibilities for “information discovery and management, collection development, and literacy training” are asked to take on additional functions “that emphasize the research process in greater depth, from the curation and preservation of research data to mastering the effective methods of scholarly communication and dissemination”.
Looking at the Higher Education and Library reports together, the parallel structure of 18 areas of trends, challenges, and developments where libraries and the larger institutions will need to address.
|Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption
Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation
Increasing Cross-Institution Collaboration
Growing Focus on Measuring Learning
Proliferation of Open Educational Resources
Increasing Use of Blended Learning
Redesigning Learning Spaces
Increasing Focus on Research Data Management for Publications
Prioritization of Mobile Content and Delivery
Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record
Increasing Accessibility of Research Content
Continual Progress in Technology, Standards, and Infrastructure
Rise of New Forms of Multidisciplinary Research
|Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption
Blending Formal and Informal Learning
Improving Digital Literacy
Teaching Complex Thinking
Competing Models of Education
Embedding Libraries in the Curriculum
Rethinking the Roles and Skills of Librarians
Capturing and Archiving Research as Collection Material
Competition from Alternative Avenues of Discovery
The Need for Radical Change
Maintaining Ongoing Integration, Interoperability, and Collaborative Projects
|Important Developments in Educational Technology
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Adaptive Learning Technologies
The Internet of Things
Bibliometrics and Citation Technologies
The Internet of Things
Semantic Web and Linked Data
Association of College and Research Libraries, Information Literacy for Faculty & Administrators: http://www.ala.org/acrl/issues/infolit/faculty
Digital Literacy Definition: http://connect.ala.org/node/181197 from the American Library Association.
Open Textbooks Network: http://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/. It’s worth your while to take a look at the course material and textbooks at this site.
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. (http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2014-library-edition/)
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: the New Media Consortium. (http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2015-higher-education-edition/)