Changes in Libraries: The NMC Horizon Report Higher Education Edition 2016: Part 1

The New Media Consortium (NMC) in the U.S. runs the Horizon Project, which analyses emerging technology uptake in education. It is “truly global in its scope and reach…[with] a readership in more than 160 countries and growing. To date, over 50 editions of the NMC Horizon Report have been published, along with 50 foreign language translations in areas including global higher education, K-12 education, libraries, and museums…Every edition leverages the perspectives of a diverse expert panel and features projects that showcase innovative educational technology in action.” (NMC Horizon website). This makes their reports an ideal topic of discussion for the International Librarians Network as we look at change in libraries.

The 13th edition of the NMC Horizon Report for Higher Education was released this year. change-1082791_1920You can download the full report for free (available in seven languages), it is well worth a read. The report looks at six key trends that are driving technology adoption in this sector, as well as six challenges impeding this adoption. Six important developments in education technology over the next five years are also discussed. By utilising this research, learning and teaching institutions can make informed choices about the future directions, decisions and strategies they employ when it comes to using technology.

Let’s first look at the key trends. The long-term focuses around changing attitudes and thinking around libraries and the institutions they fit within. This is definitely something we as information professionals have been consistently saying and is something that, as the report says, will continue to be important into the future. In the academic library context, the report discusses the larger role of the university as a place for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial thinking. However, in order to breed this culture, universities must be open to innovation themselves and to using new technologies. And this is generally what is happening. Students in the 21st century need to be prepared and employable for jobs that may not even exist when they enrol into, or graduate from, their course. Thus, the ‘traditional’ system is being upended, with alternative methods of delivery being embraced – flipped classrooms, blended learning, authentic learning, project-based learning and active learning are all becoming quite common trends nowadays. To support these delivery methods, learning spaces are being updated with new technologies for collaborative communication and ‘real-world’ experiences. This change then fosters deeper learning experiences for students. In the short-term, more technologies that allow for measuring learning are being utilised, where analytics are leveraged to provide a more personalised learning experience and to re-imagine assessments. And of course, the report details the rise in blended learning, which seems like old news these days! However the report predicts technology will continue to advance so that blended learning will remain a compelling technique into the future. This is a logical assumption and it is likely that new technologies will continue to reinvigorate blended learning. Who knows, we could have holograms running lectures in the future!

This is a complex topic, so we’ve split the discussion across a couple of posts. Watch out for Part 2 coming in the next day or so.


Michelle De Aizpurua, ILN Content Officer.

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2016B and tagged , , , , , , , .

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