The following list was primarily derived from EDUCAUSE. They produce a monthly publication that seeks to identify, compile, and review new technologies that show promise in education. Below, I describe the emerging technologies that began to gain prominence in 2010.
- Next-Generation Presentation Tools. Electronic presentations are evident at all levels of the educational arena, and new presentation tools are emerging that give teachers the ability to customize presentations in a way that more closely resembles new methods of learning and teaching. Many of these tools use nonlinear sequencing or branching, which allows a teacher to take students’ questions and follow them through to finality without disturbing the sequence of the overall presentation. Some of these new tools promote collaboration between authors. These alternative presentation applications could cause educators to revisit the nature of information sharing and presentation (EDUCAUSE, 2010a).
- Backchannel Communication. The term backchannel communication refers to a secondary electronic conversation that occurs simultaneous to a lecture, learning activity, or conference session. This form of communication takes place informally through applications such as Twitter or chat tools, but backchannel communication is formally being cast into the foreground by some educators. These pioneers encourage students to interact with one another during activities or lectures; this communication occurs without disrupting the speaker (EDUCAUSE, 2010b).
- E-Readers. These electronic tools are high-resolution, low-power, and portable. E-readers are designed to display written material in a digital format, such as newspapers or books. Some of these devices allow users to access other electronic material (e.g., websites or blogs). E-readers have the greatest potential to alter traditional approaches to the acquisition of content (i.e., buying a textbook). These devices could also transform classroom interaction because students would have more real-time access to information through the Internet (EDUCAUSE, 2010c).
- Analytics. Analytics applications statistically evaluate data in order to discern patterns. These tools allow organizations to make informed decisions and recommendations. Schools can use this technology in order to inform financial decisions, tweak course offerings, and alter recruiting practices. Analytics can also help colleges align resources with needs. In addition, these tools could be used in LMS to provide meaningful data (EDUCAUSE, 2010d).
- Mobile Apps for Learning. Any educational interaction that takes place via mobile technology can be referred to as mobile learning (m-learning). A variety of devices are available for m-learning, ranging from mobile phones to the iPad. However, the most popular medium for m-learning is currently cell phones. Mobile software applications allow students and teachers to access course content and a number of resources from any location that has the Internet; a large portion of this data can also be uploaded onto a mobile device, which eliminates the need for Internet access (EDUCAUSE, 2010e).
- Open Educational Resources. Resources that are available to the public at little or no cost are termed as open educational resources (OER). A plethora of free educational material can be found on the Internet, including simulations, syllabi, tests, and textbooks. OER provides access to instructional resources to a much larger group of learners. Instructors can also choose components from OER to enhance their courses. Extremists foresee a day when learners will construct their own courses from OER (EDUCAUSE, 2010f).
- LMS Alternatives. LMS currently serve as the primary platform for online education by providing a set of tools to deliver content and manage courses. Emerging Web 2.0 applications now offer a host of applications that rival, if not surpass, the educational tools offered through LMS. The new applications include social networking sites, document sharing tools, cloud-based media options, timeline tools, and social bookmarking sites. Many educators are adopting these alternative tools because they teach students real-world skills that will be used in the workplace. In this scenario, the LMS simply becomes a hub from which other applications can be accessed. The new Web 2.0 tools also encourage active learning, effective collaboration, and student engagement (EDUCAUSE, 2010g).
- Online Team-Based Learning. Online team-based learning takes place when learners work in small groups to accomplish learning outcomes. This approach shows a great deal of promise in online courses because the forum promotes social interaction in an environment that often lacks this crucial element. This method often emphasizes the learning process rather than the final outcome, especially as it relates to assessment (EDUCAUSE, 2010h).
- Online Media Editing. Anyone with a suitable computer and Internet access can edit graphics, audio, and video using cloud-based media editing tools. These Web 2.0 applications offer several advantages, including the flexibility to work on any machine or platform; in addition, these tools are usually free or inexpensive. Open access to these online editing applications helps to promote equal opportunity for all learners to use the same technology tools. These applications are also user-friendly, so educators can devise a number of ways to incorporate new kinds of activites in almost all disciplines (EDUCAUSE, 2010i).
- The HyFlex Course Model. The HyFlex course design model offers the elements of a hybrid class (i.e., a combination of online and traditional) in a flexible manner that allows students the option of participating online, attending class, or choosing both. In this model, teachers offer course material in a traditional and online format, while students choose their learning preference for each meeting. However, this model is not self-paced. Ultimately, the point of the HyFlex approach is to eliminate the barrier between the physical and virtual classroom. This model promotes a more customized learning environment (EDUCAUSE, 2010j).
- Android. Android is an open-source operating system created for use in mobile phones, tablet computers, e-readers, and similar mobile devices. Android is owned by Google and integrates well with Google applications such as Google Calendar and Gmail. In addition, Android allows smart phone users to seamlessly access social networking sites. A large number of free applications exist for the Android. Android and similar mobile operating systems make mobile learning and teaching practical. At this point, these tools promote information gathering (e.g., listening to a lecture) better than information creation (e.g., writing a paper). Interconnectivity between smart phones, the Internet, and personal computers allows individuals to work with others and easily share content (EDUCAUSE, 2010k).
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010a, January). 7 things you should know about next-generation presentation tools. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010b, February). 7 things you should know about backchannel communication. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010c, March). 7 things you should know about e-readers. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010d, April). 7 things you should know about analytics. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010e, May). 7 things you should know about mobile apps for learning. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010f, June). 7 things you should know about open educational resources. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010g, July). 7 things you should know about LMS alternatives. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010h, August). 7 things you should know about online team-based learning. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010i, October). 7 things you should know about online media editing. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010j, November). 7 things you should know about the HyFlex course model. Retrieved from
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010k, December). 7 things you should know about Android. Retrieved from