Ed tech empowers students to ‘change the world’

Students in coming years will create their own educational content, 3D printing will become mainstream, and wearable technology will put more demand on school Wi-Fi networks, according to a study released in June by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).

The “NMC Horizon Report 2015 K-12 Edition” aims each year to identify the leading trends in technology and education for the next half-decade. Key findings of this year’s report were divided into three categories:

  • Adoption of education technology accelerates. Blended learning will continue to spread quickly, the report says. Also on the rise is “STEAM learning”—STEM plus an art emphasis. Other trends predicted for the next three to five years include more use of collaborative learning approaches and a shift to students creating educational content.
  • Challenges impeding the adoption of technology. Most schools should be able to integrate technology into PD and create authentic, real-world learning opportunities in classrooms. But personalizing learning, teaching complex thinking, reimagining the role of teachers and incorporating teacher innovations will be among the greater challenges.
  • Significant developments in ed tech. BYOD, makerspaces, 3D printing and adaptive learning technologies are expected to become mainstream educational practices and tools during the next one to three years, the report says. Digital badges—the electronic version of reward stars—and wearable technology become more common over the next five years.

“A major overarching theme in this year’s report is the movement toward more active, hands-on learning,” says Samantha Adams Becker, director of the NMC Horizon Project and lead writer/researcher of the report. “There is a need for school structures that better foster creativity and real-world experiences so that students don’t feel they need to wait until after they graduate to change the world. All of the tools are available for them to make a deep impact today.”

The main obstacle in achieving this goal will be providing teachers with training on the latest technologies and pedagogies, Becker says. “The challenges in this year’s report reflect the need to provide continuous professional development and also to reward outstanding teachers who have implemented innovative ideas and strategies.”

Fast Facts

  • 38% of K12 parents say they are buying students technology specifically to meet classroom needs or requirements.
  • 44% of K8 parents say they are planning to purchase a tablet for their student for the upcoming school year.

-Source: Rubicon Project

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