By Dennis Pierce
According to the New Media Consortium (NMC), mobile learning, “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs, cloud computing, and maker spaces are among the most important ed-tech developments in schools today—but 3D printing, adaptive technology, and even drones and wearable technology will be key factors in education within the next five years.
NMC’s Horizon Project charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching and learning, and its annual Horizon Report lists the technology trends that educators should pay attention to. During the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference in Atlanta last month, NMC previewed its latest K-12 Horizon Report, which will come out soon.
According to the organization, some of the key trends accelerating ed-tech adoption in the next few years include the redesign of K-12 learning spaces, the shift from students as consumers to students as creators, the growing use of collaborative learning approaches, and the transition to deeper learning.
These trends are fueling the adoption of maker spaces in particular—areas where students can build robots, explore crafts, and engage in other hands-on learning. 3D printing, which NMC says will grow in importance within the next 2-3 years, is also a component of some maker spaces in schools.
Other technologies that will feature prominently in K-12 schools within the next 2-3 years include adaptive learning technologies, or software and online platforms that adjust to individual students’ needs as they learn; information visualization, or infographics that can present complex data in a way that students can understand quickly; and learning analytics, which uses data analysis to inform decisions at every level of education.
Technologies that will affect education in the next 4-5 years, NMC says, include badges as a way to grant certification for informal learning; visual data analysis, which blends advanced computational methods with sophisticated graphics to tap our ability to see patterns and structure within data; wearable technology that can track and offer feedback about students’ sleep patterns, movements, and location; and drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles that are flown by computers or via remote control.
What do you think of this list? Are you using any of these technologies in your own schools now, or can you foresee applications for any of these technologies in your schools in the next few years?