Horizon Report Part 3 - Important Developments in Educational Technology

Important Developments in Educational Technology for K-12 Education

See Part 1Part 2 of this series on the Horizon Report 2015.

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD):BYOD empowers students to work with their own devices to produce content any time. The most important element of this development is the provision of stable, fast school wide wi-fi. The internet needs to be as open as possible. Blocking Youtube and similar sites with educational content makes the use of tools very difficult for teachers and students. Educators should have more input into what is blocked on school sites to ensure they can utilise BYOD to is full potential. 
    The common argument against this approach is inequality. To overcome inequality schools can:
    • allows students to use mobile phones and iPods using a school based wifi - while not ideal this gives access to technology to more students and reduces some inequality. 
    • make banks of of devices available in school libraries for day loan similar to a book. The school is responsible for charging and maintenance. This reduces the cost of providing technology to all students and ensures families are not disadvantaged.
  • Makerspaces:A makerspace is a tinkering space that can be used to achieve learning outcomes. The space should empower students to play and create with technology and tools. Equity of access is essential. Schools should be aware that teachers do not need to be the experts but professional development is essential to ensure they feel comfortable teaching in the space. Sylvia Libow Martines & Gary Stager have a fantastic site http://www.inventtolearn.com/ and book by the same name that discusses the tynkering and makerspace movement.

    Makerspaces can be used with K-12 and merge creative thinking and exploration. +Jackie Child has many fantastic resources about Makerspaces on her blog https://jchild.edublogs.org/2015/06/ also see

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years 

  • 3D Printing:3D printing is now moving into schools. The benefit is it enables students to create models and then print designs. This technology crosses all subject areas and year groups. Last term students from Physics, History, Design and Technology and my year 5 science used this technology to print scale models of planet . Students can create their own models using 3D design software such as Tynkercad3DTinSketchup or Blender. They can also print online models from sites such as Thingiverse. Look out for 3D printers in local libraries and local makerspaces.
  • Adaptive Learning Technologies:
    This term refers to software that can adjust to individual learning needs. This type of software will be helpful creating individual education programs (IEPs) for students of all levels. Some software already has this function and will repeat questions that have not been answered correctly. This tool will be enable learners to follow a pathway for personal needs. This will make learning more efficient and allow time for practical opportunities for applying knowledge.

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

  • Digital Badges:Digital badges are a an online credentialling system. The report discusses different groups who are working through systems to formalise knowledge and skills and implement digital badging.
    Edmodo incorpates a digital badge system. This system could be used like a virtual sticker or a symbol that you have levelled up and mastered a skill.

    There are many blogs discussing digital badges:
  • Wearable Technology:The future of technology is for it to be worn. Items such as FitBit are readily worn by many people. This is likely to expand in the next 4-5 years to include. Virtual technology like Oculus Rift in the future could offer virtual opportunities to learning about inside the body or experience different habitats.

    Some wearable technologies that Mashable have blogged about include:
    • Fitbit
    • Apple Watch
    • Skin Analyser
    • Google Glass
    • Wearable camera for dogs
    • Digital Health Trends