Research Question 2: What key technologies are missing from our list?

Instructions: Please use these prompts to help you consider what might need to be added to the current list of Horizon Topics. Add your thoughts as bullet points below, using a new bullet point for each new technology or topic. Please add your comments to previous entries if you agree or disagree.
a. What would you list among the established technologies that some educational institutions are using today that arguably ALL institutions should using broadly to support or enhance teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?
b. What technologies that have a solid user base in consumer, entertainment, or other industries should educational institutions be actively looking for ways to apply?
c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that learning-focused institutions should begin to take notice during the next 4 to 5 years?

Each new topic entry must include a title, a description similar to the ones that are written now, and, if needed, a rationale as to why it is different from any of the existing topics. The Horizon Project research team will investigate each nomination entered here to see if it meets the criteria set for new topics (eg., that the topic represents a "real" technology, as opposed to a concept, a new idea, or a proposal; that it is sufficiently developed that research, projects, and information about it exist; and that it has a demonstrable link, or strong potential link, to education).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking them with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples.

  • Near Field Communication(NFC) NFC is a short-range wireless radio technology that is being incorporated into more and more mobile devices, namely smartphones. Devices communicate within a very short distance (near field) with NFC equipped objects (NFC targets). These targets can be tags, stickers or cards for instance. Typically this distance is around 4 cm or less (about 1.6 inches). The NFC equipped device can generate a radio field that can then power a passive device and then communicate with it. These objects do not need to be battery powered. Peer to peer communication is also possible. Initially, this radio technology is being touted as a new way to conduct money transactions, however, it is becoming clear that NFC can be used in many other ways too. For example, waving a NFC equipped device over other objects can cause apps to launch on the smartphone that can give you feedback about the object. NFC devices could be configured for specific users to launch preferred apps and services. At the 2011 World Mobile Conference in Barcelona, Spain, almost all upcoming smartphones will be equipped with NFC equipment enabling this technology to start to gain some widespread adoption. As a result, more and more NFC objects are likely to released as well in coming months. It can be argued that NFC is an enabling technology as it needs to work with additional technologies such as a smartphone to function. This technology has the potential to further the evolution of smart objects and can lead to interesting educational applications. Information for this was found at Wikipedia: and from this NYTimes Bits blog post: - KeeneH KeeneH Feb 15, 2011
  • It doesn't exist yet but a number of thinkers about education and young people have called for a technology that forgets. Is it really a good idea that we have technologies that remember everything we ever post, upload, do or write? We risk being handicapped by our past attempts at being me and our failures are recorded for everyone for ever. Not right. - roger.blamire roger.blamire Feb 21, 2011
  • Geosocial Networks I wonder whether the mash up between Geolocations and Social network like e.g. Gowalla ( is relevant to add onto the list. - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Feb 24, 2011
  • Thunderbolt I/O Intel's long-awaited Light Peak technology, now known formally as Thunderbolt, is finally available on its first consumer device, and the company unveiled more details about when it will show up elsewhere. First unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum back in 2009, the data transfer tech promises to replace a handful of ports with one that can handle more tasks and do them faster. Intel unveils Thunderbolt (photos)Code-named Light Peak, the current copper-based generation of Thunderbolt boasts 10Gbps data transfer speeds between computers and devices--that is, twice the speed of current USB 3.0 throughput. Future iterations of the specification are expected to move from copper wire to a fiber-optic connection, which Intel has said could one day allow for throughput rates up to 100Gbps. Thunderbolt can transmit both raw data and audio-video information simultaneously, using existing DisplayPort and PCI-Express data protocols. With each Thunderbolt port having two data transmission channels, the technology can transmit and receive data at the same time--and at its top speed. To help readers better understand the technology and why it matters, CNET has put together an FAQ. Read more: - Larry Larry Feb 25, 2011
  • Robotics. "Robots recently became a popular tool in raising interests in computing for middle and high school students. First year computer science courses at several universities were developed which involves the programming of a robot instead of the traditional software engineering based coursework." , ,
  • A management system for teachers or students that tracked time spent in areas such as, academics, kinesthetics, critical thinking, reflection, actual writing time, etc. Imagine as a teacher writing lesson plans into a piece of software that told you how much time students are exercising, thinking, memorizing, sitting, reading, etc. This system would help us look at a bigger picture, thus, shifting our daily instructional patterns. Something similar to a learning styles inventory. (- michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 26, 2011) I am not sure if this fits here or not but also systems with branching logic. alice.owen- alice.owen alice.owen Feb 27, 2011
  • Widgets/Apps. Yes, we all have many widgets on our visual screens. However, there are few secondary schools who offer courses, such as Apple Developer ( ). What if a math requirement could be replaced by this course? (- michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 26, 2011)
  • Artificial Intelligence. Artificial intelligence and education are becoming increasingly interesting to both academic researchers and medical practitioners. It is essential to explore artificial intelligence and education from both the theoretical and applied viewpoint. I had the opportunity to keynote in the 2010 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Education (ICAIE 2010) in Hangzhou, China and there is much to be explored in this area. - lynn.nolan lynn.nolan Feb 27, 2011 The January issue of Wired magazine is devoted to AI - - bwatwood bwatwood Feb 27, 2011
  • Personal Cloud I'm not sure whether this should come within the Cloud Computing section, or whether this is truly a separate technology. Described in the title of an article by John Naughton in The Observer newspaper of 27 Feb 2011, as "a silver lining in the age of cloud computing". Quoting Prof Eben Moglen (see of Columbia University as describing cloud-computing as the "the architecture of the catastrophe" since the cloud has so far encouraged us to consign our information into the hands of corporations. John Naughton considers the technology required for a personal cloud for personal storage that allows us to create our own cloud, or shared cloud and points to setting one up using Pogoplug (see So can this be used to support groups of learners, perhaps even to share services within groups?- Gavin Gavin Feb 27, 2011- oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 27, 2011
  • Professional Development - while not a key technology, it most certainly is key to the adoption of the technologies that we are exploring. Is there a way to ensure that we emphasize these key point? We can discuss the influence and potential of maximizing online tools for online PD - asychronous, individualized, customized, user driven, etc. We have the power through social media and online collaboration to empower teachers to grow and change beyond any previous opportunities. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Feb 27, 2011 Agreed, given the content that now exists on the web, how does one shift professional development into a PLE / PLN model? - bwatwood bwatwood Feb 27, 2011 Agree, teachers who don't learn in this type of environment themselves will not be equipped to teach successfully within them. - mscofino mscofino Feb 28, 2011
  • Online Conferencing Venues/Technologies- Several education conferences are being held entirely online and the number of participants as well as conferences is growing. Educators are able to learn with other colleagues worldwide completely online and usually for free. Moreover, many of these conferences have free mobile access with the Adobe Connect app or Fuze Meeting app. These are a few of the conferences:
    - shelley.terrell shelley.terrell Feb 28, 2011
  • Competency-Based Pathways - Also known as Proficiency-Based Pathways and closely related to Mastery Education. Like PD, this is not a technology per-se. However, the cost of doing competency-based education is prohibitive without technology to facilitate. iNACOL has an excellent report here: - brandt.redd brandt.redd Feb 27, 2011

  • Cognitive Tutors - These programs are becoming very advanced and relevant as they take advantage of increased computing power, vastly better natural language processing (the basis for IBM's Watson which just won Jeopardy) and better design and human interaction through the use of intelligent agents and the like. Work being done at the Pittsburg Science of Learning Center ( and The University of Memphis' Insititute for Intelligent Systems shows what cognitive tutors can do in education and training. The subject of natural language processing might deserve its own category on this page as well. Not only is it helping with cognitive tutors, it's also serving to automate many functions having to with evaluating and utilizing large document data bases, writing assesssments, performance based assessments and so on. Additionally, it could very well turn the world of organic search on its head.- chris.brown chris.brown Feb 28, 2011