Center for Digital Education & Converge: research in education technology for K-12 and higher education

12 Technologies to Watch in STEM Education

on September 20, 2012

On Thursday, Sept. 20, the New Media Consortium for the first time released a technology outlook for science, technology, engineering and math .

The report identifies 12 technologies to watch in these fields over the next five years. Of these 12 technologies, four did not make it onto the short list of either of the reports on K-12 or higher education that the consortium released earlier this year. These four include collective intelligence, massively open online courses, social networking and wearable technology.

This chart shows a comparison of the 12 technologies that made the short list for each of these reports, all published by the New Media Consortium. This new report, though, was published in collaboration with the Centro Superior para la Enseñanza Virtual, Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica, Electrónica y de Control at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Education Society.

The K-12 and higher education editions narrow the list to six, while the new report keeps it at 12. The technologies highlighted in the chart below made it their respective report's final list.

Three Horizon Report Comparisons
Time to adoption Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2012-2017 NMC Horizon Report 2012 Higher Education Edition NMC Horizon Report 2012 K-12 Edition
One year or less Cloud computing Cloud computing Cloud computing
  Collaborative environments Mobile apps
Collaborative environments
  Mobile apps Social reading Mobiles and apps
  Social networking Tablet computing Tablet computing
Two to three years Augmented reality Adaptive learning environments Digital identity
  Learning analytics Augmented reality Game-based learning
  Massively open online courses Game-based learning Learning analytics
  Personal learning environments Learning analytics Personal learning environments
Four to five years Collective intelligence Digital identity Augmented reality
  Internet of things Natural user interfaces Natural user interfaces
  Natural user interfaces Haptic interfaces Semantic applications
  Wearable technology Internet of things Assessment of 21st century skills

Not surprisingly, mobile apps and cloud computing made it into the short list of all three reports in the one year or less horizon. That means within a year or less, this technology could become mainstream.

But here's why these technologies matter for science, technology, engineering and math education. With cloud-based collaboration tools, students can work together to solve problems, create reports and brainstorm. Researchers can work with huge data sets as cloud-based servers are organized in better ways. And virtual machines in the cloud allow computer science programs to simulate computers that appeared at various points in history. Mobile apps allow students to disect animals virtually and view period tables in 3D.

Four to five years down the road, collective intelligence could become mainstream. Collective intelligence is exactly like it sounds: gathering and recording knowledge from large groups of people. And this is already embedded in scientific research networks.

To read more about the other technologies, their application to scientific subjects and examples of their use, check out the full report.


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on Oct 9, 2012
I recommend this Timeline Eons app, a graphic representation of the entire natural and human history: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/timeline-eons/id433352152?mt=8&ls=1


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