Looking Past the Horizon: Ideas for the Next Engage Innovation Award

By Vanessa Eisch, Engage Communications
February 11, 2013

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Every year, the New Media Consortium (NMC) releases a special report with the potential to rock our higher education world.

The Horizon Report http://www.nmc.org/publications/2013-horizon-report-higher-ed identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching and learning over the next one to five years.

UW-Madison’s Engage Program uses this report to inspire ideas for the Engage award programs. From award topics such as digital media assignments (2008 NMC Report) to simulations and games (2011 NMC Report), this nationally recognized and authoritative report guides Engage’s award planning.

“Engage is charged with transforming teaching and learning through technology, so in this way, the Horizon Report is an obvious starting point,” explains Engage technology consultant and NMC advisory committee member Timmo Dugdale.

Dugdale says Engage started using the Horizon Report as a strategic document in 2007 for brainstorming possible award topics. Of course, the report does not assume there are obvious teaching challenges associated with topics. That’s where Engage pulls in campus surveys identifying current teaching/learning challenges and then compiles a list of technologies that address these challenges.

“In many ways, I use the Horizon Report as a touchstone to see whether our campus is appropriately positioned as a top research institution and whether we are both keeping up with some and blazing a trail for others,” Dugdale says.

From the looks of this year’s Horizon Report, UW-Madison leads the way in early adoption of many technologies. The report predicts augmented reality and game-based learning will become mainstream on campuses in two to three years. Engage’s Augmented Reality Interactive Storytelling (ARIS) is a highly-developed open-source authoring platform that’s being used in and out of classrooms across the country and Engage just wrapped up it’s Simulations & Games award last Fall.

So, what’s next for Engage Innovation Awards? Dugdale isn’t giving too much away, but says campus is gearing up to rapidly explore Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and 3-D printing has a lot of possibilities. Both are listed on this year’s Horizon Report as up-and-coming technologies.

We’ll have to wait and see what Engage selects for its next Innovation Award. In the meantime, check out what the program is working on now with Engage Innovation Engaging Data Visualization for Teaching and Learning Award and Engage Adaptation Situated Learning: Case, Story, and Place Award.

Engage is a DoIT program that provides campus with strategies and support for teaching with technology.