A shortlist of 12 emerging technologies reveals a few different options than the last number of years.

The NMC Horizon Project has narrowed these technologies down over the past year and will announce in February its final cut of six technologies that could become mainstream in higher education. Check out the short list and let us know what you think in the comments.

Time-to-adoption horizon: One year or less

  • Flipped classroom

    When educators flip their classroom, they move lectures out of the classroom so they can help students work on projects and problems in class. Students spend time at home watching short recorded lectures, listening to podcasts and reading information online. 


  • Massively open online courses

    Universities generally offer these types of courses in partnership with organizations that provide the technology platform to support them. The courses have four defining characteristics. They're massive, with sometimes thousands or hundreds of thousands of students taking them. They're open to any students who want to join at no charge. They take place online. And they're set up like courses a student would take at a university.


  • Mobile apps


  • Tablet computing

Time-to-adoption horizon: two to three years

  • Augmented reality

    This technology overlays a person's actual surroundings with virtual information.


  • Game-based learning


  • The Internet of Things

    The NMC Horizon Project team describes the Internet of Things as "network-aware smart objects that connect the physical world with the world of information." The four characteristics of a smart object are its small size, a unique identifier, a small data store and on-demand communication to external devices.


  • Learning analytics

    This process involves collecting and analyzing data from students' academic work. The data helps colleges track student progress, predict how they will do in the future and identify problem areas.

Time-to-adoption horizon: Four to five years

  • 3D printing


  • Flexible displays

    These displays get their name from the thin, pliable plastics they're manufactured on, according to the project's summary. They're purportedly more readable, lighter, brighter and more energy efficient. In the education field, these displays could be used on e-readers and tablets, or wrap around smart tables and desks.


  • Next generation batteries

    Batteries that charge more quickly, last for a long time and won't lose efficiency after many recharges could make life easier for students and professors who go mobile. The technology behind these changes includes low-power-consumption processors, LED lights, and improvements in lithium battery technology, the project says.


  • Wearable technology

    This technology could combine an accessory such as sunglasses with useful information about the users' surroundings.