Significant Developments in EdTech for Higher Education


The NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition, based on the opinions of 58 education and technology experts, identified six important developments in technology that will support innovation and change at higher education institutions within the next five years.

Near-Term – Time-to-Adoption: 1 year or less

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – In higher education, many students bring their own device to class and they connect to the institutions network.  BYOD policies have gained traction across the country and institutions not only accommodate it, but in many cases encourage the use of mobile devices for a wide range of activities.

Learning Analytics and Adaptive Learning – With analytics institutions are profiling learners in order to build better pedagogies, empower active learning, target at-risk student populations, and assess factors affecting completion and student success.

Mid-Term – Time-to-Adoption: 2-3 years

Augmented and Virtual Reality – Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) represent two flexible, immersive technologies that can spark educational outcomes by bringing leaners to deeper levels of cognition as they attain new perspectives on underlying data.

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

Long-Term – Time-to-Adoption: 4-5 years

Affective Computing – affective computing refers to the idea that humans can program machines to recognize, interpret, process, and simulate the range of human emotions.  In higher education this could be used in online learning situations wherein a computerized tutor reacts to students in order to motivate and boost confidence.

Robotics – Robotics refers to the design and application of robots, or automated machines that accomplish a range of activities. New programs have begun promoting robotics and programing as multi-disciplinary STEM skills that can make students better problem solves.

Source: The NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition

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