Five key categories describe a decade of emerging technologies that the annual NMC Horizon Reports outline.
An analysis conducted by Ruben Puentedura — founder and president of the ed tech consulting firm Hippasus — revealed that social, mobility, visualization, storytelling and gaming categories all appear in these reports, which identify emerging technology that could become mainstream in K-12 and higher education.
“We have these amazing technological developments," Puentedura said, "but we really need to keep track of what it is that they make possible to change in the education environment.”
Puentedura shared how these categories relate to a narrowed down list of technologies that could appear in the upcoming K-12 Horizon Report scheduled for release in June.
Members of the Horizon.K12 Advisory Board rank technologies in different horizons of short-term (one year or less), medium-term (2-3 years) and long-term (4-5 years). By June, they'll cut this list down six emerging technologies.
Social technology has been in previous reports, but has now become part of the fabric of education, Puentedura said. That's why it's not on the narrowed down list for this year's report.
In the short-term horizon, mobile technology reigns, as it has for the past few years. This year's list includes bring your own device, cloud computing, mobile learning and online learning.
While the long-term horizon is a little more mixed, most of the technology falls into the visualization category. The technologies in this horizon include 3D printing, augmented reality, virtual and remote laboratories; and wearable technology.
Learning analytics helps visualize information about students, Puentedura said.
“I think that it is very important that we come to see learning analytics as something that all parties — the student, the teacher, the peer group, the parent community, etc. — have to have access and a stake and an interest in," Puentedura said. "It cannot be just a top down way of looking at it.”
And similarly, augmented reality shows how information delivered through technology relates to the physical landscape.
Technologies in the medium-term horizon fall into this broad category of storytelling: adaptive learning and personal learning networks; electronic publishing, learning analytics and open content.
This category didn't appear on the cut-down list this year for K-12, but did show up on the 2013 final higher education list in the form of games and gamification.