The evolving role of the teacher as facilitator, and hands-on learning experiences that give students agency over their own education are two major trends already taking root in many schools and classrooms, according to the 2014 NMC Horizon K-12 Horizon report.
Within three to five years, the authors expect to see increasing focus on open education resources, as well as more experimentation with blended learning models that combine time on the computer with face-to-face instruction. In the longer term, the authors see intuitive technologies that interpret human gestures and motions as increasingly important. And, as educators rethink how to meet students’ needs the way school currently works might have to change — everything from the schedule to the space, as well as models of teaching and learning.
This report also highlights the challenges educators face moving forward, and the technology developments that will continue to accelerate these trends.
There are plenty of challenges to effectively implement the tech trends in this report. Educators are already finding creative ways to create authentic learning opportunities by bringing real life into school, and personalized learning, while not the norm, is often seen as the ultimate goal by educators. Longer term challenges include concerns about the privacy of student data and teaching students complex thinking and communication skills that they can use beyond school walls. As the internet changes how people interact with and find information, the biggest challenges will be from new schooling models competing for the same students. Students themselves may no longer see formal school as relevant since the internet has answers to so many of their questions. Those long-term challenges will need to be addressed for these trends to move forward.
Like last year, the NMC Horizon report authors make predictions about various technology developments and how they will affect educators. This year, the authors expect educators to quickly adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and cloud computing technologies. It will take a little longer for games and gamification to become mainstream, but in three to five years the authors expect more teachers to be using games as teaching tools. Similarly, learning analytics, the data behind each students’ learning is increasingly being used in classrooms. On a longer timeline, the authors find ideas like connecting information from physical objects to online networks through sensors and monitoring devices and wearable technology as potentially important for education.