Key Trends Accelerating Tech Adoption in K-12


What is on the five-year horizon for K-12 schools? What trends and technologies will drive educational change? The NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on, and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in schools. The report, based on the opinions of 59 experts, identifies six key trends in educational technology that are likely to impact the core mission of schools over the next five years.

Short-Term Impact Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in K-12 education for one to two years

Coding as a Literacy

Coding refers to a set of rules that computers understand and can take the form of numerous languages, such as HTML, JavaScript, and PHP.  Many educators perceive coding as a way to stimulate computational thinking: the skills required to learn coding combine deep computer science knowledge with creativity and problem-solving.

Students as Creators

More and more frequently learners are exploring subject matter through the act of creation rather than the consumption of content.  A vast array of digital tools is available to support this transformation –the growing accessibility of mobile technologies is giving rise to an increasing level of comfort with producing media and prototypes.

Mid-Term Impact Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in K-12 education for three to five years

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning, which refers to students or teachers working together in peer-to-peer or group activities, is based on the perspective that learning is a social construct.  The approach involves activities that are generally focused around four principals: placing the learner at the center, emphasizing interaction, working in groups, and developing solutions to real problems.   These approaches have been proved successful in improving student engagement and achievement.

Deeper Learning Approaches

There is a growing emphasis in K-12 on deeper learning approaches, defined as the mastery of content that engages students in critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-directed learning.  In order to remain motivated, students need to able to grasp how the knowledge and skills impact the world around them.  This includes approaches such as problem-based learning, project-based learning, and challenge-based learning.

Long-Term Impact Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in K-12 education for five or more years

Redesigning Learning Spaces

As conventional teaching models evolve and emerging technologies gain a solid foothold in classrooms worldwide, formal learning environments require an upgrade to reflect the 21st century practices taking place in them. Today, student-centric pedagogies are being embraced and classroom design must support this to impact classroom practices and student learning.

Rethinking How Schools Work

There is a movement to reinvent the traditional classroom paradigm and rearrange the entire school experience – a trend driven by the influence of innovative learning approaches. Methods such as project-, competency-, and challenge-based learning have a multidisciplinary nature and focus more on preparing students for the real-world.


Some of these trends are already beginning to have a significant impact on education, and should only continue to gain influence as adoption continues to increase in schools around the U.S. It’s important for resellers to understand these trends, and the impact they will inevitably have on their customers’ growing educational technology needs.

Download the Full Report


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