Education Reform: Six technologies that soon could be in your classrooms

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May 292012

Education Reform: Six technologies that soon could be in your classrooms

Education Reform: Game-based learning, personalized learning environments, augmented reality are coming soon, says a new ed-tech report

Education Reform: By Meris Stansbury, Online Editor,

May 23rd, 2012

Education Reform: Read more by Meris Stansbury

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Looking into educational technology’s crystal ball for the fourth time, the annual Horizon Report for K-12 education has listed six emerging technologies that schools are likely to adopt in the near future.

Some of the technologies, like mobile tech, might seem like no-brainers—but will students be immersed in augmented reality within five years ? According to the report, even the most future-proofed classrooms ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The report, produced by the New Media Consortium (NMC), the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education, uses a qualitative research process designed and conducted by NMC that engages an international body of experts in education, technology, and business around a set of research questions designed to expose major ed-tech trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in pre-college education.

“Educators, administrators, and practitioners across the world use the report as a springboard for discussion around emerging technology,” said Larry Johnson, CEO of NMC and founder of the Horizon Project. “As this is the tenth year of the NMC Horizon Project and the fourth year of the K-12 series, this report also offers an opportunity to think how some of these technologies have unfolded over time.”

He continued, “What we see is that there continues to be long-term channels along which educational technology is evolving. These have affected, are affecting now, and will continue to affect the practice of teaching and learning in profound ways for some time.”

In the next year

According to the report, mobile devices and apps, as well as tablet computing, are ripe for adoption now—largely because  schools are rethinking their standing policies on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs.

Educators have already realized the value of mobile devices and apps, such as the ability to graph complex mathematical equations, or storing and sharing notes and eBook annotations. Other potential uses for mobile devices and apps include their use as embedded sensors, cameras, and GPS technology.

Tablet computing allows for one-to-one learning with a touch interface and provides high-resolution screens, as well as the ability to share content, images, and video.

The report notes that many educators prefer tablet computing to mobile devices such as smart phones, because they are viewed as less disruptive and provide more feature-rich tools.

In two to three years

Game-based learning is on the mid-horizon, explains the report, because games are starting to become even easier to integrate into the curriculum, while also providing engaging content for students and allowing for collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.

However, the report notes that “until a way is found to marshal resources more effectively in support of game-based learning, it will remain on the mid-term horizon.”

Another mid-horizon technology is personal learning environments (PLEs), which the report describes as any collection of resources and content that students have chosen to use in directing their own learning, at their own pace.

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