Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Horizon Report 2010 - Changes to Come?

The Horizon Report 2010 has come and gone. Reactions? What's most noticeable is that there are a lot of repeating themes to previous Horizon Reports. Perhaps this is due to the reality that there just aren't that many technologies to go around. My interpretation is that certain themes are emerging as this decade comes to a close. As the Web continues to grow, its supporting technologies are emerging to support its growing veins and organs. As a result, we aren't just seeing a few new technologies popping up here and there annually; rather, we're witnessing the growth a layer of technologies that form a foundation for moving our physical world more aligned to the digital realm. Here's a look at the 6 key technologies from the Horizon Report:

1. Mobile computing - This is not a surprise as the iPhone has entered our lives as seamlessly and ubiquitously over the past couple of years. Handheld tools such as smart phones to netbooks are portable tools for productivity, learning, and communication, offering an increasing range of activities fully supported by applications designed especially for mobiles.

2. Open content - Although the open content movement is a response to the rising costs of education, it has been around since the open source and freeware movements in the software and gaming industries back in the 1990's. In the open content (also known as open access in the publishing and academic world), the desire for access to learning in areas where such access is difficult and an expression of student choice about when and how to learn battle against the corporate for-profit universe which for years has seen growing textbook prices, hefty rising student fees, and the ivory tower image of the babel of academia. The digital world is attempting to fight back, be it free online courses or video webcasts open to the world.

3. Electronic books - Going hand in hand with open content, electronic books promise to reduce costs, save students from carrying pounds of textbooks, and contribute to the environmental efforts of paper-conscious campuses. As pblishers are raising the costs of printing to justify the costs of doing business, the digital world is paving the way to break down those barriers and allow for portable, compact, and inexpensive options for all.

4. Simple augmented reality – This is the technology that has subtly entered into our daily lives with little notice or fanfare, but will ultimately change the way we interact with the Web. AR is the concept of blending (augmenting) virtual data — information, rich media, and even live action — into our physical world – with the purpose of enhancing the information we can perceive with our senses is a powerful one. This is what some predicts as the next generation 3D web (or Web 3.0).

5. Gesture-based computing - Allows our natural movements of the finger, hand, arm, and body which can recognize and interpret body motions. As we work with devices that react to us instead of requiring us to learn to work with them, our understanding of what it means to interact with computers will have a paradigm shift.

6. Visual data analysis - An emerging field, a blend of statistics, data mining, and visualization, that promises to make it possible for anyone to sift through, display, and understand complex concepts and relationships. Visual data analysis may help expand our understanding of learning itself. Learning is one of the most complex of social processes, with a myriad of variables interacting in highly complex ways, making it an ideal focus for the search for patterns. Indeed, Chris Anderson has argued in Wired Magazine that the explosion of data spells the ‘end of theory.’
Sensors everywhere. Infinite storage. Clouds of processors. Our ability to capture, warehouse, and understand massive amounts of data is changing science, medicine, business, and technology. As our collection of facts and figures grows, so will the opportunity to find answers to fundamental questions. Because in the era of big data, more isn't just more. More is different.
What does this all mean? We're moving (albeit slowly) into an exciting era of cultural, social, and technological transformation. This has greater implications than just surfing the Web.

1 comment:

Dean Giustini said...

Now here's a trend to watch, I think, Allan

"Textbooks That Professors Can Rewrite Digitally"

....tantamount to using a wiki~!