by Dr. Richard E. Ferdig
In 2011, the New Media Consortium collaborated with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to create the latest Horizon Report (http://go.nmc.org/2011-k12-html5). The report attempts to identify trends and challenges in education along with current and cutting-edge technologies that will impact K-12 education over the next five years. This year’s report specifically highlights cloud computing, mobile technologies, game-based learning, open access content, learning analytics, and personal learning environments as critical technologies of the future.
The purpose of these research briefs is generally to highlight a key research publication or report and then summarize key findings. The Horizon Report is not a research publication per se, but it deserves the attention of literacy educators and researchers for at least three reasons.
First, there is already existing evidence that these technologies can be used to improve or at least impact literacy acquisition, teacher education, and research. One could quickly cite research on literacy and video games, information literacy, and even the use of web-based personal learning environments for remedial and advanced reading and writing acquisition. Such a report provides a link from the work inside of literacy education to a broader context that is attempting to understand the use of such tools and technologies.
Second, challenges and trends that are potentially answered by technology or are caused by such innovations are directly aligned with key goals of literacy educators and researchers. For instance, the report acknowledges that “sense-making and the ability to assess the credibility of information are paramount” (p. 4). The authors acknowledge interdisciplinary ties between arts and sciences (p. 5). Finally, they suggest that “digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession” (p. 5).
Last, but not least, the six key technologies highlighted by the report both provide access to new literacies but also require education as they themselves are new literacies. It is pertinent that literacy educators and researchers ask what kinds of skills students and teachers will need to access open content through mobile, personalized environments. What kind of assessments will be necessary to obtain the right kind of learner analytics or the correct remedial or advanced open content? What limits will these new technologies place on those who lack the reading and writing abilities needed to fully participate?
Dr. Richard E. Ferdig is a professor of ITEC and the RCET Research Professor at the Research Center for Educational Technology, Kent State University, email@example.com.
This article is part of a series from the Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).
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