As the centerpiece of NMC's Emerging Technologies Initiative, the Horizon Project has charted the landscape of emerging technologies and their applications for teaching, learning and creative inquiry since 2003. The consortium's Horizon Reports, now published in six languages, are regarded worldwide as the most timely and authoritative sources of information on new and emerging technologies available to education anywhere. Specialized reports document emerging technology trends and developments in Australia, K12 education, and the multimedia and entertainment industries.
The Edward and Betty Marcus Institute for Digital Education in the Arts (MIDEA) provides timely, succinct and practical knowledge about emerging technologies that museums can use to advance their missions. The Institute, created in 2009, is a collaboration between the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation and the New Media Consortium, showcases best practices in emerging applications of technologies like social media, mobiles, augmented reality, cloud computing, and others that are just around the corner. MIDEA offers its members a wealth of online resources, regular analysis, continuous research, news, and reports, as well as a flagship blog that will be home to ideas and reflections authored by some of the leading minds in the museum world. Most of all, however, MIDEA will offer members a dependable, credible, and timely font of carefully vetted information and tools they can put to use immediately, including a new Museum Edition of the highly regarded Horizon Report. In 2005, prior to the founding of MIDEA, The Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, along with NMC created The Edward and Betty Marcus Digital Education Project for Texas Art Museums, which was a systemic effort to increase the capacity of musuems across Texas to use new media to tell compelling stories about art and their collections. That project introduced Texas museum professionals to all forms of digital media and provided considerable training in the software and concepts of digital storytelling.
The NMC and the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), with significant support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), launched the Steve in Action Project in fall 2008. The three-year effort seeks to develop, demonstrate, evaluate, and document social tagging tools and methods in a range of cultural heritage settings. Building on the work of a previous research grant funded by the IMLS in 2006, the Steve in Action team is shifting the focus from research to practice. Early results of the research project indicate that social tagging does have the potential to significantly enhance access to online collections of art; this project will support and encourage the mainstream adoption of social tagging tools and methods by cultural heritage organizations of all sizes and types.
Launched under the banner of the Educational Gaming Initiative and with initial support from the MacArthur Foundation, the NMC Campus Project has evolved into the largest educational presence in any virtual world, involving more than 150 colleges and universities and a very active community of educators that numbers nearly 12,000. The project became completely self-sustaining in June 2007, and now occupies nearly 100 islands in Second Life. The entire history of the effort — and all the latest in current news and events — are chronicled on the project's blog site, the NMC Campus Observer, and in a growing collection of videos.
The Pachyderm Project is a partnership led by The New Media Consortium and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), that received initial funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). A major software development effort launched in 2003 brought software development teams and digital library experts from NMC universities and museums together to create and refine Pachyderm, an open source authoring environment for creators of web-based and multimedia learning experiences. Over its lifetime, the Pachyderm Project has received nearly $5.5 million in support, making it the NMC's largest externally supported project. Pachyderm is used in many universities and museums, and continues to development as an open source platform; Pachyderm 2.1 was recently released.
The MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning, which ran for two years beginning in 2006, explored the intersection of digital media and learning from the perspectives of experts, visionaries, and thought leaders chosen from across the globe. The working hypothesis of the effort was that digital media had advanced significantly in recent years, enabling new forms of knowledge production, social networking, communication, and play. Through the use of such media, young people are engaged in an unprecedented exploration of language, games, social interaction, and self-directed education that can be used to support learning.