PLAYBACK: Horizon Report, Student-Led Learning, Follow the Civil War on Twitter ...


2.11.11 | New Media Consortium covers adoption of new technologies; Mind/shift covers the future of curriculum, teaching and learning; newspapers take the Civil War to Twitter, Facebook; what happens when students lead class; and what there isn’t an app for ...

On the Horizon: The New Media Consortium (NMC), a not-for-profit collective of learning-focused organizations, has released its 2011 Horizon Report (pdf).


The annual report describes the continuing work of the NMC’s Horizon Project, a research-oriented effort that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have considerable impact on teaching, learning and creative expression within higher education. You can view the work that produced the report at the Horizon wiki.

BrainTrack’s Kelly Klingman has a good write-up of the report’s findings, including the key trends and challenges identified. Digital literacy was cited as a central concern, along with a lack of appropriate metrics. New technologies are broken down with a timeline of likely adoption:

Beginning with electronic, multimedia books and mobiles in the near term, the report shows that institutions are expanding into augmented reality, game-based learning, gesture-based computing and learning analytics that will eventually become widely used.

“The mobile space is very very interesting because it brings together so many different technologies,” said [Keene Haywood, the director of research at NMC]. “It’s a completely new platform that’s exploded over the last years. Now that we have powerful devices we can carry around all the time - with sensors and apps that can be built to do specific things - what does that mean for learning?” [...]

“Augmented reality has a lot of potential we haven’t really explored yet,” said Haywood. “You’re going to see more and more sophisticated applications.” He believes that the uses of “smart objects,” embedded with sensors that speak to each other and connect to the web, aren’t too far around the corner. “We’ll have the opportunity to add layers of information - whether its to a conversation or a place. You can instantly access the historical information of a place, weather data, photos people have taken in the area - all of these elements can give you a richer understanding of where you are.”

Plus: For more on measuring new media literacies, Ioana Literat follows up on a post about the development of a comprehensive assessment tool with a look at the results.


Photo by D Sharon Pruitt.

The Future of Everything Educational: Great posts over at Mind/Shift by Tina Barseghian: Start with “Three Trends That Will Shape the Future of Curriculum,” then check out “Three Trends That Define the Future of Teaching and Learning” and “How Learning Environments Are Changing.” All are chock-full of useful links and examples and offer analysis on the implications and changes to watch for. More articles in this series will be posted soon.

Putting Your Students in Charge: Over at HASTAC, Cathy Davidson joyfully reports on the learning—and teaching—possibilities that occur when students are charged with leading class. It happens every week in Davidson’s two peer-led, peer-taught courses: “This Is Your Brain on the Internet” and “21st Century Literacies.” Read what happens when students run the show, part I and part II.

Tweeting the Civil War: In a previous post about teaching skepticism along with smart research strategies, we mentioned history teacher Kevin M. Levin’s New York Times commentary on “Teaching Civil War History 2.0.” We just noticed that the Washington Post is tweeting the Civil War, using multiple historical figures to send out updates. See the Post’s full coverage here.

And over on Facebook, The New York Times Disunion Series continues. Let us know in the comments if your class is using social media to follow the Civil War.

Internet Safety Stories: The 2011 What’s Your Story video contest invites people in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United states, age 13 and older, to produce and submit short videos for one of three categories: Being a Good Online Citizen, Using a Mobile Phone Wisely, and Maintaining Online Privacy. The deadline is April 5, 2011. Check out the 2010 winners here. The contest is sponsored by TrendMicro along with other companies and organizations. (Via Ann Collier, one of this year’s judges!).

I Pray There’s an App for That: Next time your child or a student tries to stump you on what you can’t do on your smart phone these days, here’s your answer: confession.


The Vatican has decided that a recent iTunes addition called Confession: A Roman Catholic App—billed as “the perfect aid for every penitent”—cannot be used as a substitute for confession with a priest, despite it being developed with the aid of two priests and the blessing of a bishop.

“It is essential to understand that the rites of penance require a personal dialogue between penitents and their confessor,” Holy See press officer Federico Lombardi said in a statement. “It cannot be replaced by a computer application.”

He added, for clarity, “I must stress to avoid all ambiguity, under no circumstance is it possible to ‘confess by iPhone.’”

Too bad. Tim Stevens of Engadget could already envision the app’s popularity in college dorms.


Picture of elizabeth


I am fascinated by the use of twitter in the classroom. In particular the fact that many of my students profess to not use twitter. How is this really working?

Picture of Christine Cupaiuolo
Christine Cupaiuolo


Hi Elizabeth—Here’s an earlier post on using Twitter in the classroom.

And in last week’s Playback, we pointed to Anne Collier’s post on using Twitter to develop media literacy skills, including verifying information (and this doesn’t require students using Twitter themselves—you can still read and discuss tweets).

You may, though, want to start with 100 Ways to Teach with Twitter from Emerging EdTech, or Twitter for Academia from AcademHack. Following educators on Twitter is also a great way to learn what does (and doesn’t) work. Search the hashtag #edtech for related education tweets.

Of course, so much depends on student interest and access. But hopefully these links will demonstrate the scope of learning possibilities.


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