Two recent reports that have been referenced by plenty of other bloggers recently are the Horizon 2009 report, and the Web Use Project's "The Participation Divide: Content Creation and Sharing in the Digital Age"
Of course, you should read them for yourself, but, just in case you don't, here are 8 takeaways that resonated for me.
1. From the Horizon report - No shock here: "Experience with and affinity for games as learning tools is an increasingly universal characteristic among those entering higher education and the workforce." That's something we have seen in other reports like the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Despite what educators generally continue to believe, the studies found that massively multiplayer and other online game experience (which is common among our students) is rich, varied and offers opportunities for increased social interaction and civic engagement among this group. Among this group - meaning for your students, not for you. When game-based learning strategies work, it's because there is active participation and interaction. I believe that those two are still desired results in the classroom.
2. What is on the horizon for EdTEch? In the next year, mobile and cloud computing - and they blend pretty well. Looking ahead 2 to 3 years, Geo-Everything (as in GPS+) and the Personal Web.
3. If you want to start on your five year plan and budget, the suggestions would be "Semantic-Aware Applications" (read the report) and Smart Objects.
4. One thing that caught my eye in the trends section of the Horizon Report was the comment: "Increasingly, those who use technology in ways that expand their global connections are more likely to advance, while those who do not will find themselves on the sidelines." Increasing globalization continues to affect the way we work, collaborate, and communicate.
From the Web Use Project
report abstract (my emphasis):
This paper looks at the prevalence of creative activity and sharing in an age when the barriers to disseminating material have been considerably lowered compared to earlier times. We use unique data to explore the extent to which young adults create video, music, writing and artistic photography, as well as the prevalence of sharing such material online. Findings suggest that despite new opportunities to engage in such distribution of content, relatively few people are taking advantage of these recent developments. Moreover, neither creation nor sharing is randomly distributed among a diverse group of young adults. Consistent with existing literature creative activity is related to a person's socioeconomic status as measured by parental schooling. The novel act of sharing online, however, is considerably different with men much more likely to engage in it. However, once we control for Internet user skill, men and women are equally likely to post their materials on the Web.
6. How do we explain that relatively few people are taking advantage of these recent developments? Do we need the classroom to be the place to introduce these new developments and technologies?
7. The findings show that students coming from an educated family (defined as at least one parent with a graduate degree) are much more likely to publish, and that “while it may be that digital media are leveling the playing field in terms of exposure to content, engaging in creative pursuits remains unequally distributed by social background.”
8. My favorite observation concerns yet another have/have-not gap with technology. There are clearly those creators who contribute to online content, and there are those (and they are the majority) who are still at Web 1.0 and remain consumers of content. According to the Web Use report, "Those who share their content publicly have the ability to set the agenda of public discussions and debates."