Monday, May 9, 2011

What's on the "Horizon"

Many of you are already very familiar with the annually submitted "Horizon Report" by the New Media Consortium. Trend analysis is one of the most important skills a district-level leader can apply when strategic planning, designing staffing levels, allocating resources, updating polices, and the list goes on.

The NMC has been extraordinarily accurate in their forecasts over the last seven years, as seen below in a graphic that neatly arranges their previous predictions. What is most interesting is both the scalability of some trends versus the one-dimensional/false promise of others.

Recently, the NMC released this year's report, which includes recognition of innovations such as ebooks, augmented reality, game-based learning, and gesture-based learning. Below is NMC's ppt on the 2011 report.

View more presentations from New Media Consortium

NMC, however, is not the only resource a district administrator may look to in order to become more aware of upcoming drivers of change. Gartner's "Hype Cycle" of emerging technology trends is another valuable resource where information may be gleaned and applied. The format of visually seeing the excitement, disenchantment, and realized function of digital-age tools is not only comical put also alerting.

For a more global perspective, the Knowledgeworks Foundation has completed the 2020 Forecast for education, citing catalysts, trends, signals, and learning agents.

So, why look to the horizon? Why pull our heads up from the grindstone (or guillotine)? Does anyone else feel off balance with rapid changes to the learning landscape shifting our equilibrium, and techno experts volleying recommendations without research and careful consideration? Are we as district administrators at somewhat of a disadvantage if not logged on, plugged in, and growing in a personal learning network? Offline school administrators will likely be looking through a myopic, fiscal-year lens, be uninformed of emerging innovations, and recoiling from transformative forces. A visionary leader is predictive in strategic planning, experimental in programming, and engaged in trend analysis. Use the resources above to "turn your brights on" and build an awareness of what's on the horizon!

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