Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving school leaders, educational technologists, and teachers a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report provides in-depth insight into how trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice.
“The NMC Horizon Report > 2-15 K-12 Edition stimulates crucial conversations about what trends and challenges are influencing the adoption of forward-thinking strategies in schools throughout the world,” says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC. “In this year’s edition, we found that an increasing number of schools are incorporating online learning through blended learning models, allowing learners to accelerate at their own pace. Creativity and the integration of making are also key themes that have recently come to the forefront in K-12 learning.”
“This year’s report is the result of a rewarding long-term effort between CoSN and the NMC to keep the discussion regarding technology in schools accurate and flourishing,” notes Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “At CoSN, we tackle some of the greatest challenges facing schools today. The NMC Horizon Report has become a fundamental reference for us as we decipher the trends that are shaping the complex landscape of K-12 education.”
Key Trends Accelerating K-12 Education Technology Adoption
The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 K-12 Edition identifies the “Increasing Use of Blended Learning” and “Rise of STEAM Learning” as short-term impact trends accelerating the adoption of educational technology in K-12 education over the next one to two years. The “Increasing Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches” and the “Shift from Students as Consumers to Creators” are mid-term impact trends expected to drive technology use in the next three to five years; meanwhile, “Rethinking How Schools Work” and “Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches” are long-term trends, anticipated to impact institutions for the next five years or more.
Significant Challenges Impeding K-12 Technology Adoption
A number of challenges are acknowledged as barriers to the mainstream use of technology in schools. “Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities” and “Integrating Technology in Teacher Education” are perceived as solvable challenges — those which we both understand and know how to solve. “Rethinking the Roles of Teachers” and “Personalizing Learning” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined and well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Scaling Teaching Innovations” and “Teaching Complex Thinking,” which are complex to define, much less to address.
Important Developments in Educational Technology for K-12 Education
Additionally, the report identifies bring your own device (BYOD) and makerspaces as digital strategies and technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the near-term horizon of one year or less. 3D printing and adaptive learning technologies are seen in the mid-term horizon of two to three years; digital badges and wearable technology are seen emerging in the far-term horizon of four to five years.
The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engaged an international body of experts in K-12 schools, technology, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in K-12 education. The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 K-12 Edition details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.
The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 K-12 Edition is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.
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