Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Scanning the Horizon

The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an international community of experts in educational technology - from the practitioners who work with new technologies on campuses every day; to the visionaries who are shaping the future of learning at think tanks, labs, and research centers; to its staff and board of directors; to the advisory boards and others helping the NMC conduct cutting edge research.

Every year the NMC publishes the Horizon Report highlighting educational technology trends, challenges and emerging technologies that are likely to enter mainstream use within the next five years. One of the things that I like about this report is that it goes beyond the gadgets. The report delves into the shifts in education, the practices involving educational technology, and the supporting research. This is a document that should spark discussions in your site and district PLCs, committees, and cabinets.

This year, the Horizon Report focuses on trends, challenges, and developments that should get those conversations going. When you read the full report, you will see the significance of each of the following points.
Key Trends Accelerating Educational Technology Adoption in Schools
  • Fast Trends: Driving educational technology adoption in schools over the next 1-2 years
    • Rethinking the roles of teachers
    • Shift to deeper learning approaches
  • Mid-Range Trends: Driving educational technology adoption in schools over the next 3-5 years
    • Increasing focus on Open Educational Resources
    • Increasing use of hybrid learning designs
  • Long-Range Trends: Driving educational technology adoption in schools over the next 5+ years
    • Rapid acceleration of intuitive technology
    • Rethinking how schools work
Significant Challenges Impeding Educational Technology Adoption in Schools
  • Solvable Challenges: Those that we understand and know how to solve
    • Creating authentic learning opportunities
    • Integrating personalized learning
  • Difficult Challenges: Those that we understand but for which solutions are elusive
    • Complex thinking and communication
    • Safety of student data
  • Wicked Challenges: Those that are difficult to even define, much less address
    • Competition from new models of education
    • Keeping formal education relevant
Important Developments in Technology in Schools
  • Time to Adoption Horizon: 1 year or less
    • BYOD
    • Cloud computing
  • Time to Adoption Horizon: 2-3 years
    • Games and gamification
    • Learning analytics
  • Time to Adoption Horizon: 4-5 years
    • The Internet of things
    • Wearable technology
I encourage you to read the full report to get a sense of the impact that these trends and challenges may have on teaching, learning and creative inquiry.

Dennis Large
educator & learner