2010 ANZ Short List

2010 ANZ Horizon Report Short List pdf

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Key Trends

Critical Challenges


Critical Challenges


The advent of cloud computing and the subsequent migration of IT infrastructure to the cloud poses a significant challenge to the skill sets of existing IT groups. Infrastructure management skills are becoming less critical at the institutional level as more services are moved off-campus and into hosted environments where staff are always available. Instead, campus IT specialists need to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by the wide range of possible products. Their jobs will involve much more brokering and integrating of services and much less installation and maintenance activities, and their skills must change accordingly.
Even where technology for learning is strongly promoted, there remains a desperate need for professional development opportunities around emerging technology. One-to-one computer use is an admirable goal and a worthwhile one, and this strategy has been shown to improve student engagement and access to learning materials. Unfortunately, simply making the equipment available is not sufficient to reap the benefits. Where technology is promoted without an accompanying commitment to professional development for staff, learning suffers. This challenge continues from year to year, as emerging technologies change by their very nature, while professional development opportunities fail to keep up with the pace.

Faculty are under pressure to publish and perform, making it difficult to engage with and master new technologies that could be used for teaching and learning. The intensification of academic workload coupled with pressure on university staff to increase research outputs and performance reduces time and energy for exploration of and experimentation with new technologies. The potential of many emerging technologies for educational use is still being discovered, so exploration and experimentation are critical activities that should be promoted and protected.

In today's networked world, learners are placing greater value on knowing where to find information rather than on knowing the information themselves. The form of learning is changing. The amount of knowledge collectively held by humanity is staggering, and being able to find, evaluate, and synthesize material from a variety of sources is arguably more important than holding all that knowledge oneself. Young people entering higher educational institutions — and the workforce — are accustomed to constant access to a network of peers on whom they rely for entertainment, mutual learning, collaboration, and expertise. This cohort may well expect to be able to make use of their own personal learning and social networks, and the technologies that support them, in their places of work or study. Their world is open and mobile, and they will resent being cut off from it.

Institutional inertia prevents innovation and promotes the status quo. Decisions already in place regarding technology choices are difficult to change, even when the changes in technology outpace previous solutions. One example of this challenge is often found in learning management systems, many of which have failed to evolve along with other tools. Once adopted, LMS platforms often remain in place despite frustration from teachers and students using them, and innovation is not encouraged. Further, campuses tend to be slow to support the personal technology students bring with them and thus miss an opportunity to leverage tools that students are already willing and able to use.

Reduced funding continues to present challenges in adopting new technologies for many institutions. Faculty who want to adopt new technologies — mobile devices, hosted subscription- based software applications, wireless access, and so on — run into the issue of whether such equipment and services should be the responsibility of the student or of the institution. Institutional budgets are tight, but so are the students’. If the institution purchases the devices, there is the further issue of managing distribution and collection on a regular basis.

There is a conceptual mismatch between pedagogical practice and the design of many emerging technologies that makes it difficult for teachers to appreciate or use new tools. Many new technologies are based on underlying philosophical beliefs such as openness, collaboration, connection, and student-centeredness that simply are not in alignment with the majority of teaching practices. Adoption suffers because teachers do not see the connection between their classroom practice and technology tools, particularly social tools that emphasize communication and sharing — two activities often seen as antithetical to learning, study, and especially assessment. Syllabi and lecture notes are often converted into digital formats that mirror their print forms instead of taking advantage of the dynamic nature of online tools.

There is a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy. To fully participate in the media-rich world around them, students must be able to understand basic content and media design, interpret media and advertising, and create multimedia messages that demonstrate visual fluency. These skills are not routinely taught and it is often wrongly assumed that because they are surrounded by media-rich messages, students simply absorb the ability to interpret and create them. There is an increasing realization that these skills are as important as written, spoken, and information literacy, and they must be formally taught.