Reviewing the 2013 Horizon Report for K-12 Education: What do you need to know about technology trends in education?

The Horizon Report identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to impact education in the coming five years and is produced in collaboration with the New Media Consortium (NMC), the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The Horizon Report highlights technologies “with considerable potential for our focus areas in education and interpretation.” The technology trends identified by the Horizon Report may help educators to assess their school’s current place in the technology landscape and help to create a vision for the future of technology in the school. Each of the technologies identified in the report are currently being used in education to some capacity but have potential for widespread adoption in the next one to five years.

The Horizon Report: Up and Coming Technology Tools and Trends for Widespread Adoption

Near Term Adoption: One Year or Less

  1. Cloud Computing: “Whether connecting at home, work, school on the road, or in social spaces, nearly everyone who uses the network relies on cloud computing to access or share their information and applications” (p. 11).
  2. Mobile Learning: “These tools, ranging from annotation and mind-mapping apps to apps that allow users to explore outer space or get an in-depth look at complex chemicals, enable users to learn and experience new concepts wherever they are, often across multiple devices” (p. 16).

Medium Term Adoption: Two – Three Years

  1. Learning Analytics: “The essential idea behind learning analytics is to use data analyses to adapt instruction to individual learner needs in real time” (p. 20).
  2. Open Content: “The movement toward open content reflects a growing shift in the way scholars in many parts of the world are conceptualizing education to a view that is more about the process of learning than the information conveyed” (p. 24).

Long Term Adoption: Four – Five Years

  1. 3D Printing: “Enables more authentic exploration of objects that may not be readily available to schools” including print models of fossils, artifacts, proteins, and molecules. It also allows students to create their own 3D models (p. 29).
  2. Virtual and Remote Laboratories: “Reflect a movement among education institution to make the equipment and elements of a physical science laboratory more easily available to learners from any location, via the web” (p. 32).

It’s All About Context: Trends and Challenges

Technology in education exists within the contexts of K-12 schools and our local and global community. The context includes trends that impact teaching and learning and the challenges faced in efforts to integrate technology into pre-existing structures. The key trends identified for 2013 focus on an increase in access to devices, data, and communication across digital platforms and the change role of educators in the face of online learning initiatives and collaborative models. Current challenges address the conflict between tradition or status quo and the potential for different approaches to teaching and learning that may better meet student learning needs, including formative assessment and social media. Whose responsibility is it to take on the risks of experimentation with educational technology? What supports are teachers getting to help them integrate new technologies in meaningful and appropriate ways? Are we maximizing the potential of the technologies we already have access to?

Read the 2013 Horizon Report for specific examples of how the six technologies identified are relevant for teaching, learning, or creative inquiry and how they are currently being used in schools.

Do these technologies have the potential to fulfill needs in your school? What challenges would need to be overcome for adoption? What are you already doing that is working well?

The 3rd Annual Joy of Literature and Literacy Conference

On October 11th, more than 160 educators, librarians, literacy specialists and administrators from around the Williamsburg area participated in the College of William and Mary’s third annual Joy of Literature and Literacy Conference.  With a focus on non-fiction this year, the conference offered sessions from award winning children’s book authors Don Brown, Steve Sheinkin, and Susan Stockdale.  Additional sessions were provided by literacy experts Joan Kindig, Beth Estill, Wendy Lucy, Katie Plum, Pam Griffin and Annyce Maddox, covering an array of instructional tools and techniques for incorporating non-fiction books across curricular areas. Participants were treated to captivating stories, resonant art, and powerful new ideas for engaging and teaching students with non-fiction books.

In addition to the conference sessions, attendees were treated to book signing opportunities with all the children’s book authors.  Speakers’ books were available for purchase, courtesy of the campus bookstores.

Planning for next year’s conference is already in full swing, and promises to be equally successful with the theme of reading and writing across the curriculum, featuring children’s book authors Candace Fleming and Barbara O’Connor! For further information, contact


Author Steve Sheinkin shares primary sources that he used in researching and writing the young adult nonfiction book, “Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon”

SURN’s Summer Successes

Participants in SURN’s Summer Professional Development offerings benefited from a wide range of opportunities to connect, learn, and grow.


Over the summer, SURN’s Williamsburg headquarters at the College of William and Mary were a destination for teachers and administrators across Virginia who invested in summer professional development opportunities that would positively impact their schools and students throughout the upcoming academic year.  SURN-hosted events included the Leadership Academy on June 20th and 21st, and Principal Academy on July 17th, both of which provided participants with opportunities for connecting around ideological and practical issues emerging in field of educational administration and leadership.  The Leadership Academy in June featured speakers John Hattie, Deb Masters, and Valerie Gregory, who discussed the principles and practices involved in promoting Visible Learning in schools.  Participants attending the second day of the year-long Principal Academy series in July focused their energy on learning and practicing observation strategies and using observation checklists to promote Visible Learning practices in their schools.  Overall, participants of both Academies left energized and prepared to motivate and support teachers in integrating Visible Learning practices in classrooms across the region.

In August, the College and Career Readiness Institute (CCRI) provided finished a year-long workshop series for high school English teachers who are striving to integrate the College and Career Readiness standards into their teaching through the use of best practices in literacy instruction.  Teachers left the most recent CCRI workshop held on August 29th with many practical strategies for integrating CCRI standards into their teaching, including lesson planning materials and research-based resources to inform instruction.  These teachers also received valuable resources, in the form of fiction and nonfiction trade books, to support CCRI practices in their classrooms.  On average, each teacher received $50 or more of books, which were provided by the SCHEV grant that supports CCRI programming.

Not all of the participants in SURN’s summer professional development opportunities remained in Williamsburg.  For 14 days in August, SURN took eager educators and administrators to Australia and New Zealand to observe first-hand the impact that Visible Teaching and Learning strategies have on student learning and achievement.  Participants spent time in classrooms where Visible Teaching and Learning practices have been fully integrated and invested time and energy exploring how to integrate these same principles school-wide in classrooms closer to home.  Participants also took advantage of opportunities to network while experiencing the culture and beauty of Australia and New Zealand.  Attendees of the 2013 Study Tour returned stateside ready to embark upon an exciting school year filled with Visible Learning in schools.

Getting Started with Text Sets

Getting Started with Text Sets

Follow this link to a lesson plan on introducing text sets to students: