Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Horizon Report K-12: Trends and Challenges

For the past 10 years, the Horizon Report has described and commented on emerging technologies, and every year there is also a Horizon Report for K-12 which looks at the technologies that will have a large impact on teaching, learning, research or creative expression in schools around the world.  The first part of the report always deals with trends and challenges that are likely to affect the adoption of technology in schools over the coming five years.


  • Our roles as educators are changing because of the abundance of easily accessible internet resources.  It's important we teach students how to assess these resources and make sense of the information they find.
  • Technologies are increasingly based in the cloud - information is accessible everywhere on many different devices .
  • Technology skills are critical for success as technology affects the way we work, collaborate and communicate.  The digital divide is no longer a product of wealth, but of education - of the opportunity to use technology.  Students who have this opportunity are more likely to succeed than those who don't.
  • People expect to be able to learn and work whenever and wherever they choose.
  • Innovation and creativity are becoming increasingly important and this must be reflected in their importance as professional skills and therefore included in school subjects.
  • Although digital media literacy is growing in importance as a key skill in every area, teacher training and professional development in these skills is rare.  Digital literacy is "less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral."
  • New models of education are competing with traditional models of schools.
  • The demand for personalized learning is not being supported by current technology or school practices.  Technology should be supporting individual choices, but all too often is still used in one-size-fits-all teaching methods.
  • The structure of K-12 schools  must change as students now have more opportunities for online education.  However change is hard in education.
  • A great deal of learning takes place outside the classroom.
The report outlines changes due to happen in the near future (within the next year) as well as changes predicted to happen in the more longer term.  I find it very difficult to think in terms of what could be happening in schools beyond the next three years.  Here, therefore, are the predictions of what will be come increasingly important in the near future:
  • Cloud computing - at one time the focus was on free tools, now the focus is shifting more to data storage and access.  
  • Mobiles - iPads have changed the way many schools view personal devices for accessing information, social networks, tools and apps.  
  • Games based learning - currently constrained due to the lack of quality educational games, they are now being seen as important in fostering collaboration and student engagement.
  • Open content - the sharing of curricula, resources and materials represents a shift in the way students study and learn.
Photo Credit:  Daysleeper by René González  AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike 


  1. Maggie:
    Great summary of the issues and challenges. Look for this in the next issue of Dr. Doug's Hot Tweets at DrDougGreen.Com. Thanks to @tucksoon for the tweet that sent me here.
    Douglas W. Green, EdD

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