While each new NMC Horizon Report serves as an effective predictor for the future of technology in education, for us at Digital Media Academy (DMA), the report also functions as a type of scorecard. With 15 years of experience conducting summer tech camps on college and university campuses, DMA has been dedicated to technology education since our 2002 founding at Stanford University. DMA tech camps are places of discovery, where kids (ages 6-12) and teens (12-17) can get hands-on experience working with today’s hottest tech. Because DMA was founded on the idea of bringing cutting-edge technology to eager young students through our summer camp programs, we know we need to be truly visionary in our curriculum development, as well as in our overall approach to teaching technology. In other words, we’re expected to be ahead of the curve. Each NMC Horizon Report helps us confirm that we’re still maintaining a correct focus on education technology’s big picture. And we’re very excited this year to see that the NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition not only affirms our educational stance, but also shows that we’re on the same page as the New Media Consortium. We found three sections of the NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition that had particular resonance for us: BLENDED LEARNING: Using All Available Methods It is indeed the “Age of the Hybrid” (hybrid cars, plants, foods, etc.) and this applies to educational methods, too. More than ever, modern educators must be willing and able to use any tool in the educational grab bag, or more to the point, any combination of tools available to them. In our case, we’ve taken a page out of the NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition (P. 18, “Increasing Use of Blended Learning Designs”) to effectively extend and enhance our course offerings. Because our programs are, by their nature, compressed learning experiences that last either one or two weeks, our Instruction Team is always looking for ways to push that experience further and deliver more content. DMA Online now offers a variety of fundamentals courses in different subjects. Our DMA Online courses are helping us achieve these ends, by supplying in-coming summer students with core fundamentals in various subject areas. The courses are all cut to “modern specs”: 1) course material is delivered clearly and entertainingly; 2) course lessons can be taken at the student’s own natural learning speed; and 3) course activity can be arranged around the student’s existing schedule. By equipping students ahead of time with basic knowledge they’ll need when they attend our camps, we’ve been able to ensure that our students are fully up to speed and ready to benefit fully from our in-person instruction. This is an example where blended learning has proven quite effective, with our DMA Online curriculum dovetailing nicely with our established classroom instruction. PLUG IN/ PLUG OUT: Finding the Right Mix Page 30 of the report (“Balancing Our Connected and Unconnected Lives”) addresses a topic of growing concern for all educators – namely, how to strike a proper balance between a student’s electronic and non-electronic activities. This is a topic of special interest to us for two reasons: First, so many of the subjects we teach are heavily steeped in computers and electronics. Second, because we are not just a tech camp but also a summer camp, parents often express concern beforehand that their child may end up spending all of their camp time working on classroom-based projects. Kids get regularly scheduled outdoor recreation breaks at DMA. However, this is a dilemma that DMA solved years ago, by firmly upholding a policy whereby our camp day contains scheduled recreational breaks. And by seeing that we institute this policy, we are able to achieve two aims at once: encouraging outdoors-based physical activity and regular exercise, and bolstering social interaction between students outside the classroom. As the NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition states, “A number of progressive universities are emphasizing outdoor education as a means of providing students with more sensory and hands-on experiences.” We feel our outdoor recreational experiences are vital to our campers’ social development and we are encouraged that the NMC Horizon Report recognizes this issue, which we think also applies to students at pre-collegiate levels. VIRTUAL REALITY: A Dazzling Performer “Google Cardboard presents students with the opportunity to construct their own VR content, and more educators are using it because of its accessibility and flexibility.” So says Page 40 of the NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition (“Augmented and Virtual Reality”), and we couldn’t agree more. Which is why we’ve been using Google Cardboard in our own virtual reality courses. DMA students see – and design – eye-popping worlds in our virtual reality class. We’ve seen the visceral reaction that kids and teens have when they first encounter VR’s wonders and it’s tremendous. With Google Cardboard, they can have a functional basic VR viewer that shows them the amazing reach of this particular technology. Like the NMC, we are actively interested in finding ways that tech subjects like VR can be incorporated into the teaching of other subjects. Who knows? Soon DMA may be teaching VR technology in conjunction with other tech topics, such as robotics. GET INVOLVED WITH US! If you’re an educator who teaches tech or uses tech in their teaching, we’d like to make contact with you! At DMA, we’re always interested in finding inspired educators who might be able to review aspects of our curriculum and help us refine it. Learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Phill Powell serves as Managing Editor at DMA News (http://news.digitalmediaacademy.org/), the informational arm of Digital Media Academy, where he writes posts on topics related to tech and tech education. He has been covering technology trends for national audiences since the 1990s.