Important Developments in Education Technology


The NMC Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition, based on the opinions of 59 education and technology experts from 18 countries, identified six important developments in technology that will support innovation and change in education within the next five years.

Near-Term – Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less


Makerspaces are physical environments that offer tools and opportunities for hands-on learning and creation.  Educators are increasingly using makerspaces and maker activities as a method for engaging learners in creative, higher-order problem-solving through design, construction, and iteration.

Online Learning

Online learning refers to both formal and informal educational opportunities that take place on the web. Educators are becoming increasingly more comfortable testing various levels of integration in their existing classes and programs, and it’s become uncommon for schools to not have some sort of web presence.

Mid-Term – Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years


Robotics refers to the design and application of robots, or automated machines that accomplish a range of activities.  Potential uses for robots in K-12 are gaining traction for hands-on learning, particular for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) refers to computer-generated environments that simulate the physical presence of people and/or objects and realistic sensory experiences.   Thanks to advents in graphic s hardware, CAD software, and 3D displays, VR is becoming more mainstream and has some compelling implications for learning.

Far-Term – Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Artificial Intelligence

In the field of artificial intelligence (AI), computer science is being leveraged to create intelligent machines that more closely resemble humans in their functions.  It’s believed that AI has the potential to enhance online learning, adaptive learning software, and simulations in ways that intuitively engage with students.

Wearable Technology

Wearable technology refers to smart devices that can be worn by users, taking the form of an accessory such as jewelry or eyewear.  Today’s wearables not only track where people go, what they do, and how much time they spend doing it, but now what their aspirations are and when those can be accomplished.

Additional education technology developments likely to impact education include:

Consumer Technologies

> 3D Video

> Drones

> Electronic Publishing

> Quantified Self

> Robotics

> Tablet Computing

> Telepresence

> Wearable Technology

Digital Strategies

> Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

> Flipped Classroom

> Location Intelligence

> Makerspaces

> Preservation/Conservation Technologies

Internet Technologies

> Cloud Computing

> Networked Objects

> Semantic Applications

> Syndication Tools

Learning Technologies

> Adaptive Learning Technologies

> Digital Badges

> Learning Analytics

> Mobile Learning

> Online Learning

> Open Licensing

> Virtual and Remote Laboratories

Social Media Technologies

> Crowdsourcing

> Online Identity

> Social Networks

Visualization Technologies

> 3D Printing

> Augmented Reality

> Information Visualization

> Virtual Reality

> Visual Data Analysis

> Volumetric and Holographic Displays

Enabling Technologies

> Affective Computing

> Artificial Intelligence

> Electrovibration

> Flexible Displays

> Machine Learning

> Mesh Networks

> Mobile Broadband

> Natural User Interfaces

> Near Field Communication

> Next-Generation Batteries

> Open Hardware

> Speech-to-Speech Translation

> Virtual Assistants

> Wireless Power

While some of these tech developments can already be considered mainstream, many more are just beginning to gain traction and acceptance in education. It will be important to monitor these developments, as they will likely help alter the education landscape as we know it.

Learn more by downloading the full report

Source: The NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition

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