Tech Trends (Important Pieces I’m Trying to Read)

Since I’ve been too busy to blog lately, I am way behind on sharing the really delicious and important discoveries that have been percolating to the surface. So much I want to share! Each of the follow deserves at the very least a full blog post (or several) to talk about various concepts and issues in them. These are all important documents that deserve our attention.

Horizon Report / New Media Consortium:

The Horizon Report is an annual publication (usually released in late January or early February), one of those I eagerly await with baited breath, grab while it is hot off the presses and read several times to absorb. I absolutely love the brilliant structure that makes the most critical concepts absolutely clear even if you only have a few seconds, and then enriching and embroidering upon those themes. Just look at the Table of Contents!

  • One Year or Less: Mobiles
  • One Year or Less: Cloud Computing
  • Two to Three Years: Geo-Everything
  • Two to Three Years: The Personal Web
  • Four to Five Years: Semantic-Aware Applications
  • Four to Five Years: Smart Objects

Report of the Provost’s Special Committee on Institutional Innovation in Collaborative Technologies for Learning, January 2009 / University of Michigan.

While this was completed in January, it wasn’t released until March 2009. Just a few selected highlights.

  • “University Library to be charged with fostering and enabling a more efficient and rapid deployment of transformative learning-technology and related pedgogies.”
  • “Digital Media Commons be adminsitratively part of the library.”
  • “CRLT work in close collaboration with the University Library to help foster innovation in learning technologies across our campus.”

Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning / George Siemens, Peter Tittenberger. March 2009.

This is just a stunning piece. Incredible graphics and visualizations to communicate the concepts, terse pungent statements that put a finger right on the important issues … just brilliant. Here are a few favorites snippets.

  • “Changes to the information cycle (from creation to validation) are at the core of change in higher education.” p. 3
  • “Rapid growth of information requires higher education to change its focus from knowing (epistemology) to being (ontology). p. 7
  • “Knowledge is distributed across a network that includes people and objects. To navigate, make sense, and come to understand … knowledge, the process of cognition is also distributed across networks …” p. 10
  • “Research mindsets required by academics to succeed in their discipline are also important in teaching with technology. Through an ongoing cycle of personal research, theory and practice, educators are able to create an approach to technology that fits within the scope of their discipline, and the expectations of learners.” p. 15
  • “A defining trait today is the ability to speak into the context others have created.” p. 41

The Tower and the Cloud, Higher Education in the Age of Cloud Computing / ed. Richard N. Katz.

I’m writing a review of this for a journal, due next week, so you’ll be hearing more, soon. Briefly, it looks at the evolution of what it means to be an academic individual or an organization of higher learning in the context of the incredibly potent and rich information environment that has exploded with social, semantic and cloud computing technologies. My blog post yesterday on Science 2.0 actually touched on this peripherally, but they do a much more elegant job of this.

Open Cloud Manifesto:

I owe you all a blogpost on “what is the cloud”. After all, you’ve seen it mentioned in at least three of the five publications listed in this post. Obviously it is important. As the term gets adopted and used, it is also misused, so I want to take the time to clarify some of those for those of us who are working outside the heart of geekdom. I find the many ways I see the term used a bit confusing, so it will also help me to get a better handle on it. However, this manifesto? Touches on the foundation issues already addressed as part of the University of Michigan vision — a commitment to open educational resources, to open access, to transparency in our intellectual lives and academic endeavors.


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