Editor’s Picks 2015, No. two The ed-tech trends on the cusp of mainstream

By Stephen Noonoo
December 30th, 2015

First preview of K-12 Horizon Report notes big ed tech shifts

Ed. note: This year the editors selected ten stories we believe either highlighted an important issue in 2015 and/or signaled the beginning of an escalating trend or issue for 2016 (look for No. 1 on Dec. 31). We’d be remiss if we didn’t include this analysis of the annual Horizon Report’s ed-tech trends, which provide a snapshot of what’s taking place in schools now and what to watch out for next year and beyond. Few surprises here: maker tech and more personal devices appear to continue their steady ascent.

horizon-trendsThis year, BYOD and makerspaces have their stars on the rise—they could be in 20 percent of classrooms by year’s end. And over the next few years, 3D printing, adaptive software, and even wearable technologies in schools could do the same, according to an advanced preview of this year’s K-12 Horizon Report, an annual trendsetting look at the current state of technology and learning produced by the New Media Consortium. Each year, the report confers with a panel of education experts and takes a close look at the trends, challenges, and underlying developments driving today’s education technology adoption and implementation.

The final product whittles dozens of emerging and established ed tech topics into just 18, arranged by category—the trends, challenges, and developments referenced above—and time to adoption (or, in the case of challenges, complexity of the problem and how close we are to solving it).

Now trending

The report’s list of trends serves as something of a snapshot of the current state of education technology adoption in schools. But it’s not all plucking out the hottest buzzwords—there’s a methodology behind it, according to Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of NMC. “Our approach looks at when a trend will have its maximum impact in schools, and the degree of that impact,” he said. “Will it ‘flame out’ in a year or two (e.g. Second Life)?  Or will it persist (like mobile) for years, and continuously surprise us with its growing utility and capability?”

Next page: Deeper learning and flexible schools impact technology adoption