Research | News

New Report Reveals the 6 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in K-12

Cloud computing and mobile technology are two of the top technologies to watch in education, according to this year's K-12 Horizon Report, an annual publication from the New Media Consortium that highlights developing trends in ed tech. And this year, the report suggests, they could go mainstream.

NMC released the findings in advance of the report's official publication, slated for June, in a webinar hosted in part by CEO Larry Johnson.  

For the report, more than forty education experts from around the globe weighed in on dozens of the biggest technology-related trends and topics on a dedicated wiki space, and chose the six most important to showcase:

  • Cloud computing and mobile technology (one year to adoption);
  • Open content and learning analytics (two to three years to adoption); and
  • 3D printing and virtual and remote science labs (four to five years to adoption).

The list is something of a departure from last year, when cloud computing was not even featured, having been assumed to be significantly mainstream (defined as having a presence in at least 20 percent of classrooms). This year, familiar topics like game-based learning and augmented reality also didn't make the cut, dropped in favor of trends like open content and learning analytics, which were not featured in last year's report.

"While the list has changed in 2013, it doesn't mean that game based learning is not important anymore, it's just not as much in the foreground as open content and learning analytics," Johnson clarified during the webinar. "If you look at what people are looking at in the next year... it is all about making learning more personal. It's about putting the learning where people are."

Johnson also used the webinar to highlight another set of key trends identified by NMC's experts that are helping to drive technology adoption in the classroom. For that list, the experts agreed that:

  • Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning, and collaborative models;
  • Social media is changing the way people interact, present ideas and information, and communicate;
  • Openness--concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information--is becoming a value;
  • As the cost of technology drops and districts revise and open up their access policies, BYOD is becoming more common; and
  • The abundance of resources on the internet is challenging educators to revisit their own roles.

Additional information about the Horizon Report, including access to last year's report and its international counterparts, is available online.

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is an education technology journalist based in Los Angeles. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.