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Horizon Report – 2010

The 2010 edition of the Horizon Report is now available. I won’t comment on the content of the report – I’m sure others will critique/approve the specific trends addressed. Instead, I want to discuss the process of putting the report together. I received an invite from NMC earlier this year to participate on the Advisory Board for the Horizon Report. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Alan “mock George for not being practical” Levine and others have put together an effective process for brainstorming, discussion, and final selection. Method matters. A good research project can unearth cause/effect/correlation that may not be obvious at the start. But, when you’re trying to identify trends, a method is needed that permits sharing diverse views and then trusting that people directly involved in the educational technology field will be capable of identifying and classifying key trends. The iterative, conversational approach that NMC has adopted is among the most effective I’ve come across for identifying trends and future directions. Two suggestion for NMC:
1. Pioneer educational informatics and visualization approaches to expand the report. Given the enormous amounts of data being produced through social media, Department of Education statistics, etc., making sense of data is critical. Targeting a few key data areas would extend the value of report. (for example, have a look at numerous social media monitoring services).
2. Enlarge the pool of participants. While I can see the logistical value of having an advisory board assist in the final production of the report, I would like to see a broader net cast at the start of trend identification. Why not open it up completely? Yes, it’ll produce a mess of views, but that diversity is exactly what prevents calcification of views that occurs when similar groups of individuals are involved in brainstorming.

2 Comments

  1. Alan Levine wrote:

    George, you are among the most practical people I know! Uh oh, that sounds like mocking, I need the smilie for “I am serious”.

    Thanks for being part of the process, and we do constantly look at new ways to improve it. It was only 2006 that it began being run 100% in a wiki and a year later that tagging started as a key tool for collecting resources.

    I’m interested in the visualization tools, even before it became a topic (more than word clouds, like you suggest, data driven ones) and is part of some new Horizon efforts we are planning

    For (2) the same process would not work wide open, but there are roles people beyond the board can do already- we constantly ask people to push things our way via tagging, but the number who do is relatively small. We had an open call for examples once the topics were announced, and received over 100 responses. I can see maybe as the topic development is done, we can look at sending out requests via social/professional networks for inputs, but there needs to be a board to help focus/filter the flow. The role of the advisory board member is not just to put your own view; many during the first round of research questions turn to their own organizations/networks for input.

    Hope to see you there next year!

    Friday, January 15, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  2. Good ideas, George.

    For 1) concept mapping is one route to follow. I did some of my work for this using The Brain, for example.

    For 2), perhaps we could Twitter the process more deliberately, over several months.

    Monday, January 18, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

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