The new NMC Horizon Report 2015 K-12 Edition: how can technology impact teaching/learning the next 5 years?

There has been Horizon reports before, but this one is different. In previous reports the focus was on new and emerging technologies. Now this is not the case. The focus now is on trends in teaching and learning and how technology can have an impact on them. You can download it here.

From the Executive Summary:

The experts agreed on two long-term trends: rethinking how schools work in order to bolster student engagement and drive more innovation, as well as shifting to deeper learning approaches, such as project and challenge-based learning. These are just two of the 18 topics analyzed in the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, indicating the key trends, significant challenges, and important technological developments that are very likely to impact changes in K-12 education across the world over the next five years. Regarding the challenges for schools, integrating technology in teacher education is considered solvable. K-12 leaders are already addressing the root problem by developing new models for training and professional development. Finnish teachers, for example, are turning to “Edukata,” a participatory design model that encourages them to investigate new technologyenabled pedagogies such as the flipped classroom and then implement them effectively in their classrooms. On the other hand, the experts identified the task of scaling these teaching innovations as a wicked challenge — one that is impossible to define let alone solve. Teachers do not often have the adequate support systems to transition their good ideas beyond their own classrooms. The end goal of solving this challenge will be to diffuse the most effective pedagogies throughout entire schools, districts, and nations. In view of the trends and challenges observed, the panel also signalled the important developments in technology that could support these drivers of innovation and change. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and makerspaces are expected to be increasingly adopted by schools in one year’s time or less to make use of mobile learning and cultivate environments where students take ownership of their education by doing and creating. The time-to-adoption for 3D printing and adaptive learning technologies are estimated within two to three years, while digital badges and wearable technology are expected to be mainstream in schools within four to five years.

In short:

One Year or Less:

  • BYOD
  • Makerspaces

Two to Three Years:

  • 3D Printing: (Becker noted that 3D Printing was mentioned in the first Horizon report in 2004. What’s different now is that the price point as come down so much that they are becoming much more common.)
  • Adaptive Learning Technologies: Using automated technology can make personalized learning more of a reality, Becker noted. The systems also expose data to teachers they would not otherwise be able to get. “There is not a ton of concrete research on how well these systems are performing yet,” she said. “The jury is still out. But in the next two to three years we will have interesting results.”

Four to Five Years:

  • Wearable Technology
  • Digital Badges: Becker noted that some educators are already fully engaged with digital badges while others don’t see it as a promising trend. “Badges are potentially a means of rewarding new skills that students pick up,” Becker said, but she added, “far-term technology trends tend to be somewhat controversial.”
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