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 technologies that some Australian tertiary institutions are using today that arguably ALL institutions should using broadly to support or enhance teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?
b. What technologies that have a solid user base in consumer, entertainment, or other industries should Australian tertiary institutions be actively looking for ways to apply?
c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that Australian tertiary 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 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" 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 Technology Topic
Brief description here (3-4 sentences)

Added as New Topics to RQ1

Robotics refers to the design and application of robots — a form of artificial intelligence. This technology is not new, and the field is filled with examples of machines built for highly practical functions, such as lifting and moving heavy objects as well as for intellectual purposes, including assisting people with research and organisation. In both cases, the goal of robots is to streamline and automate processes to make them far more efficient than if conducted by people. The potential applications for robotics in education are vast. In some examples, students with spectrum disorders are more comfortable working with robots to develop better social, verbal, and non-verbal skills. The use of robotics in education and its clear implications for improving workflows in the global economy also lends itself to the development of robotics. - Sam Sam Mar 5, 2015

Combined with Existing Topics in RQ1

How about the ultimate in mobile learning using drones- ie the learning is delivered to you on site at the point you need it, or your assignment is delivered to your tutor (JIT of course) its context as king, true 24 x 7, so good for Australia dont you think? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 27, 2015 [Editor's Note: This is already a topic in RQ1, so we will add these comments there.]

Intelligent Autonomous Educational Delivery Systems
While there have been numerous "intelligent delivery" systems around for maybe a decade they have tended to be simple approaches structured around AI pattern responses generated from an LMS or associated product. For example where an LMS generates tailored assessment tasks based on programmed metrics or an early Google tool assisting students with content production. However progress in AI and modelling of pedagogical frameworks suggests that the future of a true multi-agent and autonomous engagement paradigm between students and teachers with active system participation is not far away. This will further challenge the concept of the role of the teacher - amongst other things. - philcounty philcounty Feb 26, 2015 This would coalesce some of the topics such as Machine Learning, Virtual Assistant and Affective Computing into a single theme. - philcounty philcounty Feb 26, 2015
Phill I came to add this topic to the page, and you have summed it up well. On the Online Learning topic page I noted that for online learning to scale up it needs to be more than a content delivery system with peer support. In order to provide more of what a traditional face to face course offers there must be both engagement of students (online learning has a massive drop out rate) and support to fill gaps in knowledge through discussions and answering questions (like what traditional Tutors who work in small groups and help guide learners. I assume that any good course (online or not) already contains the great questions around which learning occurs. My father (an ex proff of Ed and now Dir at ACER) has always maintained that real learning only occurs around questions where the answer is "it depends". So given that the online course contains the content, questions and assessments the missing bit is the direct support and activities to engage students to help stay in the course. Currently Unis have the role "digital learning assistants" who are people who's role is to stimulate and engage students to watch out for those who a disengaging, for those that a struggling and to be an online couch. (They are not often content experts as well). I therefore conclude that there is market for such a role to be digitally enhanced, initially as enabling the Digital learning assistance role to be more effective, however longer term and at its logical conclusion, be able to act as that assistant. However as you point out the real impact on learning will come come if this engagement service was truly content smart and could answer the questions students have like a human tutor. That also feeds into my other contention - that there will only be a handful of LMS's in the world in 5 years time(could be 10 based on the adoption rate in education), however for corporates it will happen faster). I dont mean versions of software, I mean a handful of cloud based platforms used by every Uni in the world. This is because the big data required to provide these massive cost savings to supporting courses which are becoming commodities can only be done in systems with huge scale.- daniel.ingvarson daniel.ingvarson Mar 1, 2015 [Editor's Note: Combined with existing RQ1 topic: Adaptive Learning Technologies]

Internet of Things (IoT)
Kept waiting for someone to include this generic title in either technologies or trends. Surprised it hasn't shown up yet. Allowing for the normal hype excitement it is definitely a trend that will no doubt have an impact on T&L. We are now entering, if not there, a world with pervasive connectivity between objects that are able to interact with their local environment: sensors, processors, data capture and analysis, mechanical devices, etc. How do we make sense of the complexity of this distributed ecosystem, to arrive at some desired objective? How do we build complex integrated educational systems leveraging the value from this IoT (maybe even a Blackboard fitbit - see Gilly's comment above for Drones)? - philcounty philcounty Mar 1, 2015 [Editors' Note: There is already a related existing IoT topic in RQ1 called "Networked Objects." We will add these comments there.]

Watson University
Deakin University has recently partnered with IBM to use Watson to field a range of student questions. Watson learns as it interacts with students and their questions. This is just the early stages of a potential new paradigm for how universities might operate into the future. At the moment Watson is used to provide answers to student questions such as admissions, enrolment, fees, financial assistance, student housing, extracurricular activities, health and wellness,jobs, employment preparation. What happens when we move beyond that list? What happens when Watson is fronted by a hologram and staff and students are interacting with a remote database? What happens when learning designs and assessments are provided by the next generation Watsons? Will current universities be the front door for Watson University? - geoffrey.crisp geoffrey.crisp Feb 28, 2015 [Editor's Note: Great points! We don't feature specific products as Horizon Project technology topics, but this discussion fits in well with RQ1 topic Machine Learning, so we will add those comments there in RQ1.]

Combined with Existing RQ4 Challenges

Personalised Learning.
Personalised learning is no longer about what the learner knows now, but concerns how the learner can learn more. In the future we will be unceasing learners, acting on feedback that we feed-forward to our next application of knowledge. Learners will need to adopt a ‘growth mindset’ as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’ (Dweck, 2006). When a learner adopts a growth mindset, they openly seek challenge and thrive on challenge. They exhibit purposive engagement that is a key to learning. Growth mindset learners progress by cultivation of their efforts and they have a passion for stretching themselves as opposed to limiting themselves (Dweck, 2006). A roadmap for personalised learning focuses on six dimensions: (1) digital literacies, (2) seamless learning, (3) self-regulated learning, (4) learning-oriented assessment, (5) lifelong learning, and (6) learning pathways. - mike.keppell mike.keppell Feb 26, 2015 yes interesting one. [Editor's Note: This topic is already listed in RQ4 Challenges under "Personalising Learning," so the discussions here will be added there.]

Other Key Observations

Isnt it time that the commercial LMS providers started looking over the horizon...e.g. where is the Blackboard fit bit, ? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 27, 2015

Blogging/Web Publishing
Social media is a collective term that takes in social networking (like Facebook), content sharing (Flickr and YouTube), web publishing (blogging) and wikis. Social media comprises ‘‘tools for sharing and discussing information among people. It refers to user generated information, opinion, and other content shared and discussed over digital networks’’ (DEECD, 2013). Basic knowledge of social media functions, specific to the forms in which it exists, is essential for appropriate use. The forms in which social media are available are extensive and distinct and each has many advantages and disadvantages. will finish this later - huge increase in use of Wordpress (or similar) by universities in the teaching environment - helen.carter helen.carter Feb 24, 2015 [Editor: this is all true, but while important, blogging is really not an emerging technology -- it has been mainstream for some time - years really. Our report is focused on emergent aspects of ed tech. -- there may be a way to include mention of it under Social Media but it really does not fit as a separate topic.]

Cognitive Enhancement Technologies
This broad term describes a range of approaches that students are already using to enhance their capacity to study. These technologies include devices that induce some form or another of electrical stimulation to the brain or nootropics; drugs that supposedly enhance thinking or alertness. While these technologies are not necessarily related to the delivery of higher education, they are already having a significant impact on students. Recent reports on the use of drugs like Ritalin and modafinil suggest that a large a growing proportion of students are using forms of cognitive enhancement in response to the pressures they face in managing their academic, work and social lives. The use of these devices, drugs and other synthetic forms of cognitive enhancement poses serious ethical and equity questions. Read more here - - jason.lodge jason.lodge Feb 26, 2015 Interesting but maybe this is more of a challenge than a trend in T&L as it covers much more than technology for educational outcomes. However with what appears to be a buzz around various neurotechnologies (drugs, implants, plus) as well as nifty physical enhancements the question of who we will be teaching in the future is quite cute. More than likely a decade or more away though so I won't worry about it at the moment :) ..... - philcounty philcounty Feb 26, 2015 [Editor -- we agree with Phil on this one -- interesting but no clear evidence that anyone is looking into this outside a few labs, and in very very general ways. Our view is that this is still a good ways off.]

Games and Gamification
As this topic is still being actively pursued on many university campuses, has an active and expanding research community, has been regularly selected by panels, and has generated other topics such as badges, it would seem premature to remove it entirely. Such removal from the 2015 Higher Ed report has generated criticism and being "stuck in the mid-term horizon" could represent a longer maturation process over other technologies because of the pedagogical implications. The Horizon Report methodology should be trusted to remove topics that are no longer active, but if the methodology keeps including the topic and it is considered by the editors to be inappropriate, this is problematic. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 22, 2015 not gone anywhere much yet? apart from badges maybe...mysterious - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 27, 2015 Games-based learning refers to the use of games to achieve learning outcomes. Gamification is often defined as the application of game-like mechanics (eg. points, badges, levels, challenges, virtual goods and leader boards) to non-game situations or contexts primarily to motivate users to perform certain activities. Gamification is different from games-based learning. There is also some interesting discussion around meaningful gamification which not only employs the use of game mechanics to provide external rewards but also utilises elements of the Self-Determination Theory of motivation (autonomy, mastery, and relatedness). Ref also making changes to moodle core for an institution-wide (world-wide via Moodle this year?) games-based learning activity. Significant impact on student learning, though awaiting papers to be published ... - helen.carter helen.carter Feb 24, 2015 People are still fixated on the mechanics of game based learning or gamification. It will only have a small impact until we realise it is about the design principles and not the game itself. Curriculum design should incorporate game design principles and the learning and assessment activities themselves do not have to be "games" as such but based on the set of principles that promote flow, self efficacy, reward and recognition, persistence, resilience etc. - geoffrey.crisp geoffrey.crisp Feb 28, 2015

[Editor: interesting that Downes is mentioned here. While the jury is out on how much weight to put to his observations, he does have a large readership, so let us respond to that comment here. A close reading of his post makes clear that in no uncertain terms he is critical of us for INCLUDING this topic, not for leaving it out. He calls it a failed prediction. While we'd not go that far, since we are not in the prediction business, sometimes good ideas do get stuck and never cross the "chasm." This appears to be one of them. We just don't see much evidence of it moving beyond a committed group of supporters and enthusiasts. While the value is clear, tools to help ordinary educators gamify courses or event topics or activities are not in development that we can see.]

The number of published studies involving one or another form of neuroscience have increased exponentially over the last decade. The widespread use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in particular is leading to a much deeper and more profound understanding of how learning works in the brain. The challenge for higher education is that understanding how the brain learns is some way from usable approaches to enhancing learning in lecture theatres, labs or learning management systems. The rise of the new field of educational neuroscience, or more specifically, the learning sciences means that it is becoming feasible that the growing understanding of the brain might be meaningfully interpreted to help enhance higher education. This process is not easy and it will take many years to interpret what happens over milliseconds in small modules within the brain for use in delivering the education of future professionals that takes years and involves the 'whole student'. Nevertheless, this process of translation is already well underway and neuroscience will start to impact how we think about learning in higher education if we like it or not. - jason.lodge jason.lodge Feb 26, 2015 [Editor -- another very interesting area, but as yet no clear evidence that anyone is looking into this outside of neurology, nor applying it to learning outside the lab, or in very very general ways. Our view is that mainstream use of this is still a good ways off -- a decade at least.]

Virtual Reality
Doesn't really need an introduction, but was surprised not to see it in the technologies list. For specific uses it will be huge in the next few years as consumer-priced units backed by Facebook, Samsung and Microsoft etc debut. - jnxyz jnxyz Feb 22, 2015 - kevin.ashford-rowe kevin.ashford-rowe Feb 25, 2015I certainly concur with comments around the important role of virtual reality, particularly as we increasingly see a 'competency based' approach to learning design arising and thus, I suspect, a requirment for more authentic assessment. I'd also like to add augmented reality as another increasingly important technology that has significant potential technology enhanced learning affordance.

[Editor: There is no doubt that for much of the past two decades this has been a recurring topic, and most would agree the potential is great. Our research, however, has not shown the practice to measure up to the potential. VR remains difficult to do well, and few tools exist that would make it easy for mainstream teachers or even instructional designers to do high-level simulations. This is, like games and gamification, a promising area that appears to be "stuck" in the midterm horizon, always tantalizingly near, but just out of reach. Baring some new developments on the production side, we have determined that it is unlikely that VR will enter mainstream use within our time horizon of the next five years. We continue to watch for developments, but have retired the topic for now.]