As students increasingly learn on the go, they demand that their colleges and universities stay up to date on the latest technology.

"Technology's like the golden goose, and it's improving at this rate that's unprecedented, but I'm concerned that the academy will fall behind," said Adrian Sannier, vice president, university technology officer and professor of computing studies at Arizona State University.

That's where the 2010 Horizon Report comes in. The annual report of the New Media Consortium's Horizon Project describes up-and-coming technologies that college campuses will likely mainstream within the next five years, as well as key trends they are experiencing and critical challenges that they will face.

Six Technologies to Track

When campuses may adopt them: one year or less:

1. Mobile Computing

Smartphones, netbooks, laptops and other devices that access the Internet through cellular-based, portable hotspots and mobile broadband cards have already become mainstream on many campuses.

At Georgetown University, the administration texts short messages to students, and professors use screen recording software to create podcasts of their lectures that can be downloaded onto mobile phones, said Betsy Page Sigman, a professor who teaches management information systems, databases and electronic commerce at the university's McDonough School of Business.

2. Open Content

As textbook prices have soared over the years, educational resources have popped up online at no cost to the students and faculty who want to use them. Open content has had a huge impact on the way colleges do business, said Brian Parish, the president of iData Inc., a higher education technology consulting and software firm based in Virginia.

However, some educators resist open content because they want to protect their intellectual property, not because they don't like the technology.


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Tanya Roscorla  |  Managing Editor, CDE

Tanya Roscorla covers education technology in the classroom, behind the scenes and on the legislative agenda. Likes: Experimenting in the kitchen, cooking up cool crafts, reading good books.