future higher ed themes

6 influential technologies on the higher ed horizon


Annual Horizon Report details short-and long-term technologies, trends that will impact higher education in the next 5 years.

Important Developments in Ed-Tech in Higher Ed
According to the report, due to the trends currently affecting higher ed, the technologies that institutions should take note of include:

(Short-Term, 1-2 years):

  • BYOD: “While BYOD policies have been shown to reduce overall technology spending, they are gaining traction more so because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working,” explains the report.
  • Learning analytics and adaptive learning: Today’s educational tools are now capable of learning the way people learn. Enabled by machine learning technologies, they can adapt to each student in real time.

(Mid-Term, 3-5 years):

  • Augmented and virtual reality: “Augmented reality (AR), the layering of data over 3D spaces to produce a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as ‘blended reality,’ amplifies access to information, bringing new opportunities for learning,” says the report. “Virtual reality (VR) describes computer-generated environments that simulate the physical presence of people and objects to generate realistic sensory experiences.”
  • Makerspaces: “Creativity, design, and engineering are making their way to the forefront of educational considerations as tools such as 3D printers, robotics, and 3D modeling applications become accessible to more students. The question of how to renovate or repurpose classrooms and labs to address the needs of the future is being answered through the concept of makerspaces, which offer tools and learning experiences to help people carry out their ideas.”

(Long-Term, 5 or more years):

  • Affective computing: Refers to the “idea that humans can program machines to recognize, interpret, process, and simulate the range of human emotions,” describes the report. “In higher education, a potential application of affective computing is in online learning situations wherein a computerized tutor reacts to facial indications of boredom from a student in an effort to motivate or boost confidence.”
  • Robotics: Its potential uses are starting to gain traction in higher ed, says the report, especially in the medical field. New outreach programs are also promoting robotics and programming as multi-disciplinary STEM skills.

(Next page: The challenges associated with the trends and technologies)