The New Media Consortium (NMC) and Open Universities Australia (OUA) are releasing the 2016 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education in Australia at a dedicated series of meetings and public conversations. The fifth edition of this Australia-focused regional report describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.
Key Trends Accelerating Educational Technology Adoption in Australian Tertiary Education
The 2016 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education identifies “Increasing Value of the User Experience,” “Rethinking How Institutions Work,” and “Rise of More Authentic Assessment” as long-term trends that for years have affected decision-making and will continue to accelerate the adoption of educational technology in Australian institutions over the next five years. “Growing Focus on Measuring Learning,” “Redesigning Learning Spaces,” and “Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches” are mid-term trends expected to drive technology use in the next three to five years; meanwhile, “Growth of Competency-Based Education,” Increasing Use of Blended Learning Designs,” and “Increasing Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches” are short-term trends, anticipated to impact international schools in the region for the next one to two years before becoming commonplace or fading away.
Significant Challenges Impeding Educational Technology Adoption in Australian Tertiary Education
A number of challenges are acknowledged as barriers to the mainstream use of technology in Australian tertiary education. “Blending Formal and Formal Learning,” “Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities,” and “Improving Digital Literacy” are perceived as solvable challenges, meaning they are well-understood and solutions have been identified. “Competing Models of Education,” “Rethinking the Roles of Educators,” and “Under-resourced Campus Infrastructure” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined and well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Balancing Our Connected and Unconnected Lives,” “Keeping Formal Education Relevant,” and “Scaling Instructional Innovations.” Challenges in this category are complex to define, making them more difficult to address.
Important Developments in Educational Technology for Australian Tertiary Education
Additionally, the report identifies BYOD, flipped classroom, learning analytics, and online learning as digital strategies and technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. Adaptive learning technologies, location intelligence, makerspaces, and wearable technology are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; affective computing, augmented reality, machine learning, and networked objects are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years.
The report also explores how the topic selections of the 2016 Australian expert panel compare to those of the 2016 global expert panel as well as the 2015 Australian panel, as summarised in the below table.
The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engaged an Australian body of experts in tertiary education, technology, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges. The Australian expert panel was also asked to identify emerging technologies that have a strong likelihood of adoption in Australian institutions. The report details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.
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