Beyond the Horizon Report: a plan and a call for participation

Two weeks ago I floated the idea of creating a new project, a future of education and technology initiative that would go beyond the late Horizon Report.

I wasn’t sure if anyone would respond, to be honest.  This is awkward stuff, thinking about starting a new project while an inspirational one is being liquidated.  It’s a bit inside baseball, too.

Then people did respond.  From all over the world.

From Britain, an offer to help out:

From Australia, Jonathan Nadler created this visualization for a variety of efforts, including a new research project:

Nadler_beyond the Horizon

Click to get full size.

(More from Jon below)

Another from Australia (what an awesome nation!), Kay Oddone blogged her reflections on the whole NMC story, with pointers to the future.

Rather than ‘keeping on, keeping on’, this likely halt in our favourite tech prediction publication may give us the pause to find new ways to work together to create something even better. A project that learns progressively and builds upon previous discoveries, which focuses on the how as much as the what.

The transnational team of Lisa GustinelliJonathan Nalder, and Paul Signorelli offered this call for a new community after NMC:

We are at a very early stage in the evolution of this community—in some ways, it feels as if the NMC’s body hasn’t yet been placed into the ground—but we are already seeing the genesis of a community bootstrapping itself forward in hopeful and promising ways…

(More on them below)

From Turkey came advice from a related research project:

From the United States came further concrete advice, as Michael Green called for an open approach:

So where do we stand now?

At the present “we” are a group or network of interested and engaged people from around the world, in different professional and institutional positions, linked together through technology and a shared passion for the topic: better understanding the future of education and tech.  We think there’s a crying need for better intelligence about where things might be headed.

Although different organizations have expressed interest and support in various ways, none are playing a formal or determining role at this point.

We don’t have a name yet, although many have been floated, and we will settle on one.

To be clear, there is *no* connection between this potential project and the New Media Consortium. This is not a continuation of the NMC’s Horizon Report, but the creation of something new. It is influenced by Horizon, as well as many other futures projects.

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  (Here’s my personal disclaimer.)

Here’s what we’re considering doing.

The goal: to produce a prototype and/or detailed plan before the year is out.

The method for doing so includes the following:

  1. Several design thinking events occurring face-to-face, such as at conferences, unconferences, and fortuitous meetups.
  2. Several design thinking events occurring online, synchronously, through videoconference tools.
  3.  ” ” ” ” ” “, asychronously, over a short time (say several days to a week). using a combination of tools, such as a wiki or Google Doc, Twitter hashtag, Slack group, etc.
  4. A continuous, public, open, Web-based conversation about producing a prototype and/or detailed plan. This can use tech from #3, but would run without interruption until the goal is achieved.
  5. A single, simple website to aggregate all of this information, with links and explanatory text.

What do you think of the plan?

To make this happen will require significant energy, planning, and commitment. There’s a lot of cat-herding, experimentation, and research involved. I am happy to do my part, since this is precisely in my wheelhouse.

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Others have joined up and contributed essentially to this process, including Maya GeorgievaTom Haymes, Jonathan Nadler, Lisa Nigara, Paul Signorelli, and more.

We could use more folks. Indeed, this new project’s inception could grow a community.

Who’s with us?

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27 Responses to Beyond the Horizon Report: a plan and a call for participation

  1. Alan Levine says:

    Not really related, but FYI @DigitalMaverick is Drew, and he’s from the UK, not Australia. I’ve met him in person

  2. Elizabeth Ross Hubbell says:

    Might EdCamp be a viable place to host a discussion? Denver has one coming up Feb 3rd. The audience tends to be very K-12, however, so if it’s the higher ed perspective you want, I’ll try to think of others.

  3. Pingback: Beyond the Horizon Report: A Plan and a Call for Participation | Building Creative Bridges

  4. Lance Eaton says:

    How does one sign up to help?

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      Lance, thank you.
      Right now, we’re putting together a list of interested people. What’s the best way to reach you?

  5. Eladio Jimenez says:

    How’s can we get involved?

  6. Sarah Kunze says:

    Hoping to follow this conversation more at EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative in New Orleans next week, will be looking for opportunities to connect

  7. Bronwyn Desjardins says:

    Hi Bryan
    I’m an ADE and EdTech Coach based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Is there scope for me to get involved?

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      Absolutely, Bronwyn. Can we reach you through email?
      And watch this blog for an announcement about a new site for the project.

  8. astrid de herrera says:

    I’m in!
    Innovation, feedforward, pbl, inquiry…
    in argentina, education is very old fashioned…teachers are not trained properly.

  9. Maggie Ricci says:

    I’m an instructional technologist at Indiana University. I’m interested in helping out, so please keep me in the loop.

  10. Vanessa Vaile says:

    Can’t remember whether or not I registered interest. Count me in to follow the discussion, although I’m not sure where, how or even whether I’d fit in. Unaffiliated independent outside observer?

  11. Henno Kotze says:

    Inspiring idea, Bryan. I’m in – from Australia (really)!

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      Splendid, Henno. Can we reach you through this email?
      And also, look for an announcement about the project’s web site. Coming up fast.

  12. Maxine says:

    Hi! My name is Maxine. I actually new to this space, but it sounds very exciting and I want to help. I’m a psychologist and have worked as an instructor, administrator and consultant in higher ed for 7 years and currently work in edtech. How can I get involved and stay up in the know? My email is


  13. I’m about three weeks late in finding this (thank you Vanessa Vale for pointing me here). I connected with Bryan Alexander a couple of years ago in reading Robert Putnam’s ”
    Our Kids” book.

    Rather than read backwards, I’m starting with this introduction post and my comments will pretend that I don’t know what has been done since.

    With that said, if a new group of people is gathering to create a “future of education and technology initiative” I’d offer the web library I’ve been developing since mid 1990s as a resource. The library is organized into four main sections which I visualize on this cmap.

    I’ve been using GIS maps since 1994 to focus attention on all places where kids, families and schools need extra help and started using cMaps in 2005 to visualize strategies and sections of my library. My collection of cMaps can be found at

    I hope that others are also creating similar maps, and that in the resources that are aggregated as part of this effort, a list of such sites will grow.

    Over the next few days I’ll read through the rest of the posts, and hopefully catch up by next week.

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