Instructional Design and eTeaching Services - Boston College

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2011 Emerging Technologies for Teaching

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This session explored emerging technologies for teaching and learning. We took a close look at the 2011 Horizon Report that outlines key trends in educational technology and discussed some of the developments happening at Boston College. In particular, we examined how teaching tools are being affected by the rise of smartphones and tablets and we'll look at examples of applications such as ebooks and web>clickers that demonstrate new potentials of mobile technologies in education.

Presentation Overview

Time-to-adoption: one Year or Less

  • mobile computing
  • ebooks

Time-to-adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Game-Based Learning

Time-to-adoption: four to five Years

  • Augmented Reality
  • Gesture-Based Computing


At Boston College

Electronic Books

At Boston College

Game-Based Learning

Educational games can be broadly grouped into three categories: games that are not digital; games that are digital, but that are not collaborative; and collaborative digital games.

MMO's look to be the wave of the future, as more learning is directly incorporated into the Massively Multiplayer Online games.

  • Melody Mixer teaches students how to read and compose music.
  • Global Conflicts helps students understand better some of the conflicts and moral issues facing the world today

At Boston College

Augmented Reality

When "a person's experience of their surroundings is augmented with digital information and interfaces." (MIT Fluid Lab)

Gesture-Based Computing

Gesture-based learning may be the current technology that is furthest out as far as classroom adoption, but there are currently many proposed applications for GBL. The uses vary, from enhancing student presentations--Students would be able to, using their bodies and relatively inexpensive hardware, point to a 3-D object--say for a presentation on a dinosaur--point to the animal's various body parts, pull headers to label the animal, and spin the dinosaur around, so that the class can get a full view of what is being discussed. This technology might also offer an inexpensive way for a student to learn how to play the guitar or other musical instrument--air guitars are free and when linked to the proper hard and software, can provide actual musical lessons. The possibilities are really only limited to one's imagination.

  • Sixth Sense
  • SPARSH lets you conceptually transfer media from one digital device to your body and pass it to the other digital device by simple touch gestures.
  • Text 2.0 Imagine there were input devices which could allow text to know if and how it is being read - how would this change the reading experience?