Friday, February 22, 2008

tt4t_026 Horizon Report 2008 and a snowy day in Illinois

It’s Friday, February 22, 2008 and welcome to Episode 26 of Tech Talk 4 Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. It’s another snowy day here in eastern Illinois and several area schools are either closed or closing early today due to snow and ice conditions. Looking at the silver lining it really is a beautiful day with freshly fallen snow and a great day to snuggle up and read a report related to educational technology. I have named this report as my technology pick of the week, more on that later.

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School administrators anxiously await weather developments and usually err on the side of caution when dangerous weather threatens road conditions. Safety is a primary concern and these decisions are not easy for school administrators. Many schools offer updated websites to keep the public informed of changing conditions as well as alerting local news media. In addition some schools offer a call tree or an automated calling center that will automatically dial the numbers of parents and relatives to inform them of school closings or for emergency use. With the recent tragedy at Northern Illinois University and similar events in the recent past many schools are more seriously investigating a calling center as a method for emergency response to keep the public and students informed. This technology allows officials to add phone numbers to a database that will automatically dial and deliver a customizable pre-recorded message to a call list on demand. Technology is used in many ways by educators from instructional technologies in the classroom to administrative data systems at the central office level. Technology touches every aspect of modern life and we are becoming more and more dependent upon it.

Here in Charleston all schools are open so it is just another day at work. It was a bit of a busy morning at the ITC as we had a visit from our new President of EIU, Dr. Perry, and we also had fifty third graders here for a new semester of Project WOW. Check out Episode 9 of TechTalk4Teachers for an overview of the Podcasting with Third Graders project we helped with last semester. A link to the Fall 2007 edition of Project WOW is in our show notes.

Project WOW – Fall 2007

Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week

My Technology pick of the week this week is the Horizon 2008 Report published annually by the New Media Consortium. This years report marks the fifth year anniversary of this report and was just released last month. The Horizon Report profiles emerging technologies as they relate to learning and education. I always assign a reading from this report to all the technology-related university teacher education classes that I teach. It is the best up-to-date resource that I have found for learning about emerging technologies and their application to teaching and learning environments. This is also an excellent resource for Principals and other school administrators for keeping up with the latest trends in technology use by students. The Horizon Report looks at technology trends that are out one year or less, two to three years away, and four to five years away and discusses educational technology trends and implications for educators. The report is approximately 36 pages and is well worth a read. This years report features six emerging technologies from cell phones to collaborative Web 2.0 technologies. Since this is the fifth year for this report it also looks back over the past five years and discusses the Megatrends that have occurred. Another thing that I really like about the Horizon Report is that it is licensed under the Creative Commons license. Here is a quote from the Horizon website about the report, “All Horizon Reports are released with a Creative Commons License and may be freely replicated and distributed for noncommercial purposes provided that each is distributed only in its entirety.“ This site practices what it preaches by sharing in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that Web 2.0 technologies make possible.

The past five years have seen a shift to increased broadband Internet access that has led the way for the development of many Web 2.0 technologies. Think back about the past five years, companies like YouTube, My Space, and Facebook did not even exist and today have permeated our everyday culture. One reason they did not exist is because most Americans did not have the bandwidth required to use Web 2.0 technologies. In rural Illinois not having adequate bandwidth is still a problem in most communities and does inhibit the use of web-based applications.
Be sure to check out the show notes for three links that I have posted related to the 2008 Horizon Report.

Horizon Project Website

Horizon Report Wiki

Horizon Report 2008

Show notes for Episode 26 of TechTalk4Teachers are available on the web at that’s techtalk the number 4
That wraps it up for this episode of TechTalk4Teachers. Until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.

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