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    6 Technologies to Watch in Education
    blog entry posted January 15, 2010 by Tracey Sutherland, last edited April 9, 2012 
    4297 Views, 9 Comments
    6 Technologies to Watch in Education

    Six technologies are expected to have significant impact in higher education: 1) mobile computing/phones, 2) open content, 3) simple augmented reality, 4) e-books, 5) gesture-based computing (think new Wii technologies), and 6) visual data analysis.  The Chronicle of Higher Education summarizes findings in their Wired Campus section - with links to the new report online from Educause and the New Media Consortium - the Horizons Report (2010).



    • Robert E Jensen


       "6 Emerging Technologies That Will Impact College Campuses," by Tonya Roscorla, Converge Magazine, February 2, 2010 ---

      As students increasingly learn on the go, they demand that their colleges and universities stay up to date on the latest technology.

      "Technology’s like the golden goose, and it’s improving at this rate that’s unprecedented, but I’m concerned that the academy will fall behind," said Adrian Sannier, vice president, university technology officer and professor of computing studies at Arizona State University.
      That's where the
      2010 Horizon Report comes in. The annual report of the New Media Consortium's Horizon Project describes  up and coming technologies that college campuses will likely mainstream within the next five years, as well as key trends they are experiencing and critical challenges that they will face.

      6 technologies to track

       Time to adoption horizon: One year or less

      1.       Mobile computing

      Smart phones, netbooks, laptops and other devices that access the Internet through cellular-based, portable hotspots and mobile broadband cards have already become mainstream on many campuses.

      At Georgetown University, the administration texts short messages to students, and profesors use screen recording software to create podcasts of their lectures that can be downloaded onto mobile phones, said
      Betsy Page Sigman, a professor who teaches management information systems, databases and electronic commerce at the university's McDonough School of Business.

      2.       Open content

      As textbook prices have soared over the years, educational resources have popped up online at no cost to the students and faculty who want to use them. Open content has had a huge impact on the way colleges do business, said Brian Parish, the president of iData Inc, a higher education technology consulting and software solutions firm based in Virginia.

      However, some educators resist open content because they want to protect their
      intellectual property, not because they don't like the technology.

      “A lot of people want to use open content on the faculty and staff side, but they don’t want to make their stuff open content,” Parish said.

       Time to adoption horizon: Two to three years

      1.       Electronic books

      Consumers have already mainstreamed electronic readers, including the Kindle, which was's best selling product in 2009. Campuses have not adapted the readers as quickly, but as more academic titles become available, they are piloting e-books.

      Eight colleges and universities are currently in the middle of a pilot program with the
      Kindle DX, a larger format version of the reader that is designed for academic texts, newspapers and journals. Those schools include Arizona State University, Ball State University, Case Western Reserve University, Pace University, Princeton, Reed College, Syracuse University and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. 

      And they're not the only ones. Northwest Missouri State University and Penn State have started pilot programs with the
      Sony Reader.

      2.       Simple augmented reality

      When Sannier was researching augmented reality eight or nine years ago, it seemed far flung, but now it's right around the corner. Through mobile computing and cameras, people can fuse the digital world and the physical world, which is really cool, he said.

      The technology basically allows someone to point a smart phone at an object and find out information about it. For example, Sigman could take her smart phone to a place with a lot of plants, hold the camera up to one of them, and find out what kind of plant she was looking at. 

      Within a week of seeing a
      Droid phone, university President Michael M. Crow asked Sannier if he could create an augmented reality layer over the campus so that people could find out what things are, what's going on inside buildings, find their way around and really melt the walls.

      “For a university president to be as in touch with an emerging trend as that, I think it really speaks to how central technology is becoming on the academic side,” Sannier said.

       Time to adoption horizon: Four to five years

      1.       Gesture-based computing

      The iPhone, iPod Touch, Nintendo Wii and other gesture-based systems have become popular in the consumer industry because they allow users to control what the device does with their body movements. Devices with these systems could make the Internet come alive and "very likely lead to new kinds of teaching or training simulations that look, feel and operate almost exactly like their real-world counterparts," the report states.

      “it’s clear that people have become more open to interacting with devices in a lot of different ways,” Sannier said. "I think the challenge there is less technology than it is practice.” 

      2.       Visual data analysis

      This technology basically combines advanced computational methods with sophisticated graphics engines. Oftentimes when someone looks at a straight list of data, it's hard to see the outliers, which are the points that are farther away, Sigman said. But with visual data analysis technology, that person can put the data in a 3-D chart that will make it easy to see where the outliers are.


      2 Obstacles to overcome

      While universities may have an easier time replacing pens and notebooks with laptops, they will have a tougher time as they integrate technologies such as gesture-based computing, which represent a completely new way of providing information, Sannier said. These technologies will challenge the existing university structure, and universities need to respond to by accepting the idea that they don't have to control or provide these technologies.

      At Arizona State University, Sannier is preparing for this switch by taking the following steps:

      ·         Move away from directly providing the network and allow an outside company to provide that network at a larger scale. The university now uses Gmail and is working with cloud computing providers.

      ·         Make both wired and wireless networks easily accessible 

      ·         Integrate technology in a functional way. The university is working with Facebook to bring one of its applications onto the social networking site and is also working with Google to offer Google Apps for Education to their students, which will give them a new way to create and view material.

      ·         Shift the focus from direct provisioning to applying commercial technologies to the academy

      1. Change the culture
      Preparing for the challenges that new technologies bring will require more than just a change in mindset.

      “The real challenge is to change the culture of the academy," Sannier said. " We need some lighthouse institutions to do some amazing things with these technologies in classrooms and change them, and then to propagate those.”

      Academies can change their culture by sharing best practices among each other and looking at how for-profit colleges and universities are able to succeed, he said. The success of the for-profit institutions will put competitive pressure on the universities for possibly the first time, and that could be a powerful change agent for universities.

      2. Prepare the faculty and staff
      That's not the only change that the universities will have to make. They also have bring their faculty and staff up to speed on the latest technologies because students will bring devices to school and already know how to use them, Sannier said. Parish from iData agreed.

      “They expect to be able to use their mobile phone, they expect open content, they expect to use their e-books," Parish said. "It’s the staff and the organization of the university that needs to be prepared to provide that to them, and that’s the real challenge.”

      At Arizona State University, Sannier is focusing on making the consumer technologies that are coming on campus easy to use instead of trying to train people how to use them. The university is also deploying online resources that allow people to push a button that will make the technology work.

      Back at Georgetown University, Sigman plans on experimenting with any technology that comes along, and she sees possibilities in these emerging technologies.

      “What an exciting time we live in, and what an exciting time it is for professors to be teaching," Sigman said. "There’s just so many wonderful tools that we have at our fingertips.”


      Bob Jensen’s threads on education technologies are at


    • Edith Orenstein

      I guess Second Life would fall under the category of Simple Augmented Reality (one of the six trends highlighted in the 2010 Horizon Report), or some may say Second Life, developed by Linden Lab, is a precursor to Simple Augmented Reality, but I thought I'd share a 4 minute video filmed in Second Life, produced by the Maryland Association of CPAs, which we believe to be 'the world's first music video about accounting, filmed in Second Life."

      Steven Zelin, "The Singing CPA," and I were co-musical directors, and the 'cast' performing in Second Life consisted of MACPA staff and some well-known accounting bloggers.

      Launched in time for Valentine's Day, the 'music video,' called "If I Were an Auditor," (song parody based on "If I Were a Carpenter") can be accessed via a link in the FEI blog

      Dave Albrecht and Tom Selling were among the avatars in the production, along with other accounting bloggers.

      Putting on what amounts to a 3-minute 'music video' in Second Life, I have a feeling, is more complex than conducting a lecture or interactive classroom experience in Second Life, since the 'music video' required some level of 'costuming' and more importantly 'choreography' (albeit, largely improvised).

      But it was the first indepth exposure to Second Life for some of the participants, and probably for many of our blog readers as well. I welcome any comments on the video or the use of Second Life, either here thru commenting on AAACommons, directly in our blog, or via email. Thank you.

    • Robert E Jensen

      "4G or Not 4G: A Guide to Cut Through All the 'Fast' Talk," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2012 ---

      Of all the confusing technology terms used in consumer marketing today, perhaps the most opaque is "4G," used to describe a new, much faster generation of cellular data on smartphones, tablets and other devices. It sounds simple, but there are many varieties of 4G and conflicting claims.

      AT&T T -0.30% claims "The nation's largest 4G network," and T-Mobile says it has "America's largest 4G network." Verizon Wireless boasts "America's fastest 4G network," and Sprint S -0.17% says it had the first 4G network.

      Yet the technology used by T-Mobile, and mostly comprising AT&T's 4G network, isn't considered "real" 4G at all by some critics, and the one used by Sprint has proven to be a dead end and is being abandoned. The flavor being used by Verizon is now being adopted by its rivals, but won't be interoperable among them.

      It's a headache for consumers to grasp. So here's a simplified explainer to some of the most common questions, based on interviews with top technical officials at all four major U.S. wireless carriers.

      What is 4G?

      It's the fourth and latest generation technology for data access over cellular networks. It's faster and can give networks more capacity than the 3G networks still on most phones. There's a technical definition, set by a United Nations agency in Europe, and a marketing definition, which is looser, but more relevant to most consumers.

      Who needs 4G?

      It's mostly for people with smartphones, tablets and laptops who often need fast data speeds for Web browsing, app use and email when they're out of the range of Wi-Fi networks. It can give you the same or greater data speeds as home or office Wi-Fi when you're in a taxi. In hotels and airports, it's often faster than public Wi-Fi networks.

      How does 4G differ from another term being advertised, 'LTE'?

      LTE, which stands for "Long Term Evolution," is the fastest, most consistent variety of 4G, and the one most technical experts feel hews most closely to the technical standard set by the U.N. In the U.S., it has primarily been deployed by Verizon, which offers it in over 200 markets. AT&T has begun deploying it, offering LTE in 28 markets so far. Sprint and T-Mobile are pivoting to LTE, though they have no cities covered by it yet.

      What are these other versions of 4G?

      Sprint uses a technology called WiMax. T-Mobile and AT&T deployed a technology called HSPA+, a faster version of 3G that they relabeled as 4G, and which many technical critics regard as a "faux 4G." Sprint will begin switching to LTE later this year, and T-Mobile in 2013.

      How fast is 4G?

      Claims vary and performance depends upon the type of device, location, and time. In my tests, 4G phones, tablets and data modems for laptops typically deliver from three to 20 times the download speeds of 3G devices. The speed king is LTE. The LTE devices I've used have typically averaged download speeds of between 10 and 20 megabits per second, with frequent instances of over 30 megabits per second. The other forms of 4G have generally produced download speeds well under 10 mbps in my tests. But all of these are better than 3G, which in my tests on all networks and many devices, averages download speeds of under 2 mbps. The Digital Solution 

      How does LTE compare with common wired home Internet speeds?

      Although it is wireless, LTE is often faster than most Americans' wired home Internet service. According to Akamai, a large Internet company, the average broadband speed in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2011 was a mere 6.1 mbps.

      How does LTE compare with Wi-Fi?

      Wi-Fi is usually a wireless broadcast of a wired Internet service, so, if the average U.S. broadband speed is 6.1 mbps, that's around what the average Wi-Fi speed is. But, in public places, the shared Wi-Fi is often much, much slower than LTE. In tests I did this week at Dulles Airport near Washington, and at a hotel outside Boston, the public Wi-Fi networks delivered well under 1 mbps on the new iPad. But the Verizon LTE cellular network on the iPad averaged over 32 mbps in both places.

      Continued in article

      Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---


    • Robert E Jensen

      iPad App Video (free) :  Personalized Feedback With ScreenChomp ---
      Thank you Richard Campbell for the heads up

      Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade ---

    • Robert E Jensen

      Styluses for the iPad

      "The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
      Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
      Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
      Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."
      Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

      Moving Finger versus Stylus
      "The iPad Isn't Ready for Working by Hand," by Jon Mitchell, ReadWriteWeb, April 7, 2012 ---

      Last week's release of Paper for iPad was a huge boon to the cottage industry of third-party iPad styluses. It was hardly the first app for drawing or writing directly on the screen of an iOS device, but it struck a chord. It was just the right blend of skeuomorphic real-world design and familiar iOS gestures. I had never even considered a stylus before, but this seemed like my chance.

      I travel the Internet in fairly Apple-obsessed early-adopter circles, so I went with the stylus I'd seen recommended most often: the Cosmonaut by Studio Neat. Studio Neat made the Glif camera mount, one of the most celebrated iPhone peripherals around, so it seemed like a safe bet.

      The Cosmonaut arrived in short order in spartan, Space Race packaging. It's fairly wide to hold like a pen. It's black, grippy and dense, the exact same length as an iPhone. The business end exhibits the capacitive properties the touch screen requires: a soft touch that gives way gradually to pressure, just like a fingertip, but more precise.

      Continued in article

      Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---


    • Robert E Jensen

      "A Way to Share Photos, Files And Money in Black & White:  Walt Mossberg reviews Xsync, an iPhone app that uses QR codes to transfer photos, songs, videos and even money, The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2019 ---

      Say you want to quickly transfer a file, like a photo or a contact entry, from your smartphone to a friend's. Most people would email or text the file. But a number of technologies have come along to make the process quicker and simpler.

      On some Android phones, you can "beam" files like photos from phone to phone by tapping one phone to another, or bringing them very close. But that requires that both phones have a special chip, called NFC, which isn't yet universal on Android phones and doesn't exist at all in iPhones.

      Another approach is to use an app called Bump, which transfers files between iPhones and Android phones when those holding them do a sort of sideways fist bump. It works pretty well, but you have to make contact with the other person.

      This week, I've been testing a different approach—an iPhone app called Xsync. It doesn't require any special chip and instead uses a free app and a hardware feature almost every smartphone possesses—the camera. While it is primarily meant, like Bump, for transfers between phones in proximity, it works over long distances. I was able to almost instantly send and get photos, videos and songs using Xsync between two iPhones held up to computer webcams during a Skype video call.

      The key to Xsync is the QR code, that square symbol found seemingly everywhere these days—online, in print newspapers and magazines, on posters and other places. These codes typically just contain text—often, a Web address. But Xsync, a tiny company based in Seattle, generates QR codes that initiate the transfer of whole files, or in the case of photos, even groups of files. It has a built-in QR code scanner to read these codes using the phone's camera.

      The biggest drawback to Xsync is that it is currently only available for the iPhone. An Android version is planned for sometime this quarter. Meanwhile, you can use an Android phone with any QR code reader to receive, though not send, files sent via Xsync.

      The Xsync app is something of a teaser for the underlying technology, which the company calls the Optical Message Service. The company's goal isn't to build its own apps, but to license the technology to cellphone makers so it becomes a built-in way to transfer files.

      Here's how it works. Once you install Xsync on your iPhone, you select an audio file, photo, video, contact, or calendar appointment, each of which is represented by a simple icon. The app creates a QR code representing the intended transfer of that file and temporarily sends the file to Xsync's server. Your friend uses Xsync to scan the QR code you've created with his or her iPhone's camera, and the files are sent to your friend's iPhone.

      In my tests, it was easy, quick and reliable. I successfully used Xsync to send and receive all the included types of files with an iPhone 5, an iPhone 4S, and an iPad Mini. I was also able to receive files on an Android phone, a Google GOOG -0.96% Nexus 4, via a QR code generated by Xsync.

      You can even generate a QR code using Xsync that will allow you to transfer money from your PayPal account to another person's, though that requires an added authentication step for security. But it worked, and would be a good way to, say, split a bill at a restaurant. (This PayPal feature of Xsync doesn't work with Android, for now.)

      The company says the file transfers are secure, for two reasons. First, they are encrypted. More important, each code is generated for a specific transfer and expires after a relatively short time. For instance, codes for photos expire after 24 hours, according to the company.

      You can use Xsync to transmit certain kinds of files—including documents—you've stored in your Dropbox account, though, oddly, the Xsync app hides this document-transfer feature under an icon for sharing calendar appointments.

      And you don't have to be close to make the transfer. In addition to my Skype example, you can send a QR code generated by Xsync via email or text message, or even post the code to Facebook FB -1.59% . Another person can then scan the code to get the file.

      Xsync can generate codes that represent either existing files on your phone, or files you create on the spot. If you don't want to use an existing one, the audio, photo, video and calendar icons in the app invite you to create a new file to be transferred.

      Continued in article

    • Robert E Jensen

      MC Horizon Report
      2013 Higher Education Edition (the tenth edition) ---

      The NMC Horizon Report, 2013 Higher Education Edition, is a collaborative effort between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE Program.

      The tenth edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, a decade-long research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education. Six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period, giving campus leaders and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning.

      The 2013 Horizon Project Higher Education Advisory Board initially voted on the top 12 emerging technologies — the result of which is documented in this a interim report: the NMC Horizon Project Short List > 2013 Higher Education Edition. This Short List then helped the advisory board narrow down the 12 technologies to six for the full publication. Those results are available in the official Preview. View the work that produced these findings at

      > Download the Short List PDF
      > Download the Preview PDF

      Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

    • Robert E Jensen

      "6 Emerging Technologies in Higher Ed," by Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education, February 4, 2013 ---

      Over the next five years, six technologies will continue to gain traction in colleges and universities, according to the 2013 NMC Horizon Project released Monday, Feb. 4.

      About 50 experts spent time narrowing down a list of 80 potential technologies to these six: In a year or less, massively open online courses and tablets could become mainstream. In two to three years, games and gamification, and learning analytics could follow suit. And four to five years down the line, 3D printing and wearable technology could see widespread use.

      . . .

      Time-to-adoption horizon: One year or less

      Time-to-adoption horizon: two to three years

      • Games and gamification
        Game-based learning has gained considerable traction over the past 10 years, according to the report, which states that "games have proven to be effective learning tools, and beneficial in cognitive development and the fostering of soft skills among learners, such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking."
      • Learning analytics
        This process involves collecting and analyzing data from students' academic work. The data helps colleges track student progress, predict how they will do in the future and identify problem areas.

        Our coverage:

        The Future of Predictive Analytics in Higher Ed

      Time-to-adoption horizon: Four to five years

      • 3D printing
        3D printing holds much promise in higher education -- "Typically, geology and anthropology students are not allowed to handle fragile objects like fossils and artifacts," the report states. "3D printing shows promise as a rapid prototyping and production tool, providing users with the ability to touch, hold, and even take home an accurate model."
      • Wearable technology
        Technology can be embedded in clothes and accessories to provide useful information about a person's surroundings, answer phone calls, and tweet, among other things.

      Continued in article


      Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---


    • Robert E Jensen

      "200 Million Workers Want Windows 8 Tablets, Not iPads," by Mark Hachman, ReadWriteWeb, February 4, 2013 ---

      Jensen Comment
      Note the large sample size.