School & District Management

What’s on the Horizon for Ed-Tech in K-12?

By Katie Ash — April 14, 2010 2 min read
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The Austin, Texas-based New Media Consortium, in conjunction with the Washington-based Consortium for School Networking, released the second annual Horizon Report: The K-12 Edition Monday. The report is written by a board of international experts in educational technology who identify key trends and challenges facing K-12 ed-tech, as well as outline which technology trends are most likely to affect K-12 students in the next one to five years.

Not surprisingly, cloud computing and collaborative environments made the cut, with the experts predicting that both will be adopted into mainstream education within the next year. Game-based learning and mobile devices will be adopted within two to three years, the report says, and augmented reality as well as flexible displays are expected to be adopted within four to five years.

Most of you have probably heard of cloud computing, collaborative environments, mobile learning, and game-based learning, but what is “augmented reality,” and what exactly does “flexible displays” refer to? Augmented reality is “the concept of blending virtual data ... with what we see in the real world,” says the report. For example, students on a field trip to a historical site may use applications that show virtual images of the place complete with maps or information about what has taken place there. Augmented reality obviously has strong ties to the introduction of mobile, wireless devices.

Flexible displays are “very thin display screens ... that can be printed onto flexible or stretchable material and then attached to other surfaces or produced in a variety of shapes,” the report explains. This would conceivably allow dynamic display screens to be incorporated into textbooks or notebooks, for example.

One reason I find this report to be helpful is that it provides extensive examples and articles for each technology trend. After explaining the impact on education that each of the six identified “horizon” technologies might have, the report lists examples of where the technology is currently being used, as well as links to articles and research about it.

In addition, to foster conversation about technology trends in K-12, you can request a copy of the 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition Toolkit, which includes a Discussion Facilitator’s Guide and the Presentation Template/PowerPoint.

There’s a lot of info from the report that I couldn’t include in this blog post, so I urge you to check it out in full here.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.