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?