2010 Horizon Report Identifies Six Technologies to Watch

The New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) have released the 2010 Horizon Report. The annual Horizon Report features the continuing work of the NMC’s Horizon Project, a long-term research project that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have considerable impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry within higher education.

The seventh edition in this annual series is a collaboration between the NMC and ELI. Each year, the Horizon Report describes six areas of emerging technology that will have significant impact on campuses during the next one to five years.

The six technologies described in detail the 2010 Horizon Report and their time-to-adoption are:

Time-to-Adoption: One Year or Less

  • Mobile computing
  • Open content

Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Electronic books
  • Simple augmented reality

Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years

  • Gesture-based computing
  • Visual data analysis

The report introduces each of the six technologies by defining what it is and its relevance to higher education, creativity, or research, and examples of current or future applications. Each section then concludes with an annotated list of readings and other resources.

“Campus leaders and practitioners across the world use the report as a springboard for discussion around emerging technology,” noted Larry Johnson, chief executive officer of the NMC. “As this is the seventh year of the report, it also offers an opportunity to look back at the overarching trends over time. What we see is that there continue to be long-term channels along which technology appears to be unfolding. These have affected, are affecting now, and will continue to affect the practice of teaching and learning in profound ways for some time.”

To create the 2010 Horizon Report, the 47 members of the 2010 Advisory Board engaged in a comprehensive review and analysis of research, articles, papers, and interviews; discussed existing applications and brainstormed new ones; and ultimately ranked the items on the list of more than 110 technologies that emerged for their potential relevance to teaching, learning, and creative expression.

According to ELI Director Malcolm Brown, “Identifying the key emerging technologies for learning is vital in a time in which all planners are forced to make very careful choices about investments in technology. The Horizon Report goes beyond simply naming technologies; it offers examples of how they are being used which serves to demonstrate their potential. Finally, the report also identifies the trends and challenges that will be key for learning across all three adoption horizons. This makes the Horizon Report essential for anyone planning the future of learning at their institution.”

Incidentally, if the rise of Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media caught you off-guard as much as it did me, I think it’s important to note that the 2005 Horizon Report included “social networks and knowledge webs” as a technology with a time-to-adoption horizon of four-five years. I guess I should have been ready.

The 2010 Horizon Report can be accessed here.


2010 Horizon Report. Johnson, Laurence F., Levine, Alan, Smith, Rachel S. and Stone, Sonja. 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, 2010. http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2010-Horizon-Report.pdf (accessed January 15, 2010).