blogging about blogging



Horizon Report

The New Media Consortium (2007). The Horizon Report: 2007 Edition. Stanford, CA.

Take leaders in technology, throw them into an online sharing forum and ask them to talk about the future of technology as it impacts teaching and learning….ok so perhaps the process was a little more involved than that. Yet in essence this would be what the Horizon Report does for us: it gives us a clear site on some of the technologies to watch for which will soon be impacting education, teaching and learning.

For the past four years the New Media Consortium has published this excellent report on how new and emerging technologies are impacting teaching and learning. Now our focus of research is going to be within K-12 education with most likely a specific focus on high school. The New Media Consortium focuses on higher education. So the question is why would I feel this is important to bring to your attention. The answer is quite simple: K-12 education tends to lag behind. There is no citation here…just experience. Typically with online technologies, what we see happening at the Higher Ed level will end up in the high school and K-12 arena not too many years down the road. Thus the 2006 (last year’s) Horizon report spoke specifically about blogging technologies. This year they see blogging as such a commonplace occurrence in higher education that they have moved on from blogging. This suggests to me that we may see K-12 being to truly utilize this type of technology in the next couple of years.

Perhaps a moment with the report will be helpful: Through peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed resources a team for the consortium explores various technologies to try and identify those most salient for further study for inclusion in their report. They group these technologies into 3 major categories based on when they see full adoption of these technologies. Categories are: Within the next year, within the next 2-3 years and…yes, you guessed it, within 4-5 years. So we see a continuum from about to explode on the scene to those technologies which are just being experimented with.

The report doesn’t always look at a specific brand name or even specific type of technology. Rather they are looking for what it is doing to and for education. For example in this year’s report they talk about user created content authoring. This can be done in a variety of ways. However they clearly identify the type of content authoring that they are referring to—people consuming and producing online content through easy to use interfaces….yes blogs, but also wikis, podcasts, machima, u-tube, and on goes the list. As this relates to learning it is how this content is being for learning or teaching. By shifting content authoring to the user, it reshapes the concept of expert and our understanding of creditable source. For teaching and learning, this has a major impact as content begins to be shared across the board. Less and less is there an owner of knowledge and information. Thus, we see a reshaping of how we understand knowledge and learning. I believe at this point, my colleagues in academia who may end up reading this blog would appreciate me throwing out the word epistemology.

How we think about knowledge and understand its construction is thus deeply impacted. Since some suggest that core to our motivation in teaching is our epistemological stance, this shift is incredibly important. Jumping right off of epistemological is my bonus ‘Word of the Day’ which would be ontology or what we believe about humans. Why would I do that to our wonderful readers of this blog…well…blame it on the New Media Consortium. Their second technology to see full implementation within the next year is Social Networking. For those of us with an ontological stance that humans are social beings, this is no surprise.

Social networking technologies are those which utilize a variety of linking mechanisms to allow people to easily connect with others. Blogs are often part of the social networking interaction on the web, especially as they as authors choose to embed their blogs in the larger ‘blogosphere.’ Thus, it is not just the user-created content, but the ability to connect with others who are creating and consuming this content which the Horizon Report identifies as important in the next year or so.

The Horizon Report actually focuses more on the traditional social networking websites such as myspace.com or facebook. However, as blogging software has become more sophisticated and embedded in other online applications, it also would be a part of this social networking. An intricate web of interconnected postings already creates the blogosphere where one can move from posting to posting as they link one to another. Even within this blog we have featured blogs which allow us to position ourselves and suggest other blogs to listen and comment.

The other two categories and technologies are:
2-3 years: Mobile Phones and Virtual Worlds
4-5 Years: New Scholarship and emerging forms of publication AND Massively Multiplayer Educational Gaming

As this post has already rambled on, I will leave those for further conversation at another point in time. If you are interested in talking more about the Horizon report they of course have a website, wiki and blog in which to do so.….in the spirit of social networking, I will connect you over to them.

CYO,
J:)

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