Each year, the New Media Consortium (NMC) works with a panel of academics and technologists to identify developing trends in technology-supported pedagogy that are likely to have significant impact on learning and teaching over the next five years, challenges to technology adoption and trends accelerating technology adoption. The 2016 Higher Education edition was published online last week, and contains lots of interesting information about some of the major trends likely to influence the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning practice in the coming years, such as the growing interest in the development of learning spaces that foster collaborative pedagogies, and the use of data-mining and statistical analysis of learners’ activities and achievements to identify ways to improve their attainment (known as ‘Learning Analytics’).
This year, the report features a project that Kieran McDonald and I from the Digital Capability team have been working on with James Corazzo from Art and Design to coincide with the move of Sheffield Institute of Arts into the Old Post Office building. The project, outlined on page 13 of the report, seeks to use Bluetooth beacons to bridge the gap between digital- and studio-based practice and learning by creating digital ‘learning zones’ within the studio that can be accessed with mobile devices and used to encourage greater collaboration between students and allow teaching staff to present particular digital resources to students based on their location within the studio space. This is a research pilot in which we aim to identify the situations where the beacons and digital learning zones work well, as well as those where they are not well suited. We expect that the principles underlying the project can be applied to other disciplines, including those not based in a studio environment, and more information about the project can be found on the project website.