Education Opinion

Horizon Report 2011 K-12 Edition - Summer Reading

By LeaderTalk Contributor — June 17, 2011 2 min read
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The New Media Consortium has released The NMC Horizon Report: 2011 K-12 Edition (link is .pdf download) which “examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative expression with the environment of pre-college education.” Each edition of this (annual) report introduces six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use in the educational community within the next five years.

As I read through the Executive Summary of this edition of the report, I was struck by their list of Critical Challenges that are currently impacting teaching, learning, and creativity. The report identifies the following five challenges (listed in order of importance) that will affect technology adoption in K-12 over the next five years:

Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of schools. The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices. A key challenge is the fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment -- aka "the system." Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom and thus are not part of our learning metrics.

The report includes more details on each of these challenges and as I read through this I grow increasingly concerned over what seems to be a “lack of urgency” around the need to understand these changes and act on them. Our profession as a whole -- and certainly our policy makers -- seem to be unconcerned about this profound shift that has already occurred around us while our K-12 “system” has remained relatively unchanged in terms of structure and function.

We are now in the middle of June -- the summer time -- a time that most educators take the opportunity to reflect on the previous year, to engaging in new learning before the new school year begins, and to plan for the upcoming school year.

I recommend that this edition of the Horizon Report be included in the “summer reading” of all educators. Read, reflect, learn, and plan... How will you change what you are doing on your campus, in your classroom, or within your education community in the upcoming school year based on your reflections after reading this report?

As you read and reflect, I also think it would be helpful to think carefully about the report’s list of the six emerging technologies:

Cloud Computing Mobiles Game-based Learning Open Content Learning Analytics Personal Learning Environments (PLEs)

How many of these can you accurately define?
How many of these are currently being used on your campus or within your district -- or are in the planning stages for being implemented in the near future?
How many of these have you never heard of before today?
How can you envision each of these within your education community, campus, or district?

I would love to know what your thoughts are on this report and the implications of this for our work as educational leaders. Please share your thoughts in the comments!


Stephanie Sandifer
Blog: Change Agency
Author of Wikis for School Leaders

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.