Research Question 2: What key technologies are missing from our list?

Instructions: Please use these prompts to help you consider what might need to be added to the current list of Horizon Topics. Add your thoughts as bullet points below, using a new bullet point for each new technology or topic. Please add your comments to previous entries if you agree or disagree.
a. What would you list among the established technologies that some educational institutions are using today that arguably ALL institutions should using broadly to support or enhance teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?
b. What technologies that have a solid user base in consumer, entertainment, or other industries should educational institutions be actively looking for ways to apply?
c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that learning-focused institutions should begin to take notice during the next 4 to 5 years?

Each new topic entry must include a title, a description similar to the ones that are written now, and, if needed, a rationale as to why it is different from any of the existing topics. The Horizon Project research team will investigate each nomination entered here to see if it meets the criteria set for new topics (eg., that the topic represents a "real" technology, as opposed to a concept, a new idea, or a proposal; that it is sufficiently developed that research, projects, and information about it exist; and that it has a demonstrable link, or strong potential link, to education).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking them with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples.

Adaptive Learning
The turn of the 21st century has signaled a shift in what types instructional models are possible. Logistics of one instructor and a room full of students necessitated a relatively one size fits all approach to instruction and assignment. Given individual devices, an individual instructor can create differentiated learning experiences and choices for students. As technology capabilities increase, adaptive programs allow for a student to receive information and practice leveled for the individual needs of the student. Culturally, people are demanding an individualized experience in a variety of domains. Parents of gifted, struggling, special needs and uniquely talented students have long been vocal advocates for their child to try to get an educational experience that is a good fit for their child's unique needs. Given the amount of individualization society is experiencing due to mobile and website experiences, more parents and students are demanding the same opportunities in schools. Adaptive learning technology is bringing in more capabilities to differentiate. The technologies can also facilitate the data collection that is necessary to pull off an individualized learning environment. Look at a website like it changes the reading level of a news article based on a lexile score. Adapting to the reading level of the child, this allows multiple students to be in the same classroom doing relatively the same task but at the level they are at, reducing frustration of struggling students and allowing for a challenging environment for the more advanced student. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 Love Newsela as stated by mrskeeler; I use it frequently with my classes. Another one of interest is: - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 9, 2014 I agree that individualized/hyper-differentiated learning is something that is starting to pick up in terms of utilizing technology. Parents are requesting technology solutions to push students ahead now, once the systems catch up to the technology, we should be able to create the equivalent of an individual education plan for every student, not just those with learning challenges and those falling behind - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014 Wisconsin has an Institute focusing on personalized learning and has many school districts involved in this work with research behind the work. - vlyons vlyons Feb 9, 2014Vicki Lyons I agree this is a very important area for the next stage of technology delivered learning. One area that I think this has the opportunity to revolutionize the concept of real-time and formative assessments. This is a base component of the system to allow it to personalize and adapt content for students. This will offer schools, districts, states, and countries to gain a greater insight into successful curriculum, content, and instruction.- GTDeYoung GTDeYoung Feb 9, 2014

Augmented Reality
Apologies if I have missed it elsewhere - but has augmented reality been and gone? Is it something we should be considering here? See
Here is a url to illustrate how one cultural institution in Australia is using AR:
- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2014- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 10, 2014We already make use of some AR applications in our schools and it does enhance motivation and the drive to learn and explore.

Flexible Learning Spaces
I know these were discussed previously and while not a technology, schools are going to continue to evolve the sense of classroom to meet the possibilities of expanded 1:1/BYOD. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 10, 2014In my opinion many of the trends we have discussed here depend on the restructuring of the learning environment, it is not reasonable to bring in so many new possibilities for interaction, collaboration and autonomy if we do not reconsider the underlying principles of the design we have chosen for our classrooms, be it a physical space or a virtual one.

Robotic and Drone Technologies
Traditional Math and Science courses are being extended through the inclusion of Robots. It encourages creativity, while at the same time performing tasks that require knowledge of math and science principles that have already been taught in their regular classes. Instructors also take time to explain how the motors and sensors work on their robots thus engaging them in a whole STEM based curriculum. Students are encouraged to make real world connections and uses of problems they are solving through Robotics programming. lisagustinelli- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 9, 2014 Getting business and industry involved in this area is absolutely necessary. Not sure how we could provide the best robotics education for our students without it. - vlyons vlyons Feb 9, 2014Vicki Lyons Drones Unmanned vehicles that monitor people and objects, deliver items, or conduct other tasks that can be controlled from a distance. While we are not seeing any uses currently in education, the advancements of drones in the military and interest in the consumer sector warrants a mention of this technology for teaching and learning, even if it is on the long-term horizon. What are the implications for education? At the very least, science and engineering/automotive classes in general can teach this type of robotics to students so they are knowledgable about the vehicles of the future. - Sam Sam Feb 7, 2014- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 9, 2014I see drones as a potential trend as well. Their use can range from applied engineering, photography, surveillance systems to the augumentation of live events and media coverage; They can be used to deliver precise geolocation information,which might offer students/teachers location-specific content and experiences.- Gavin Gavin Feb 9, 2014Agree this is an interesting trend particularly if we start with robotics and then move to the technologies associated with drones.

TV White Spaces
...and their potential to expand mobile broadband access to learners and teachers in remote rural areas. Currently there are three pilots under way in Africa: Cape Town and Limpopo Province, South Africa and one in Kenya. - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Feb 9, 2014 [Editor: See this article for a discussion of what the term "white spaces" means in this context: Essentially it is the reallocation of unused electromagnetic spectrum from radio and TV to other purposes, such as wireless Internet.

Proposed New Topics Combined With Existing Topics in RQ1:

ibeacons (Editor's Note: Very compelling tool/product! I feel it fits in with the overall RQ1 topic of Location Intelligence, so we'll include this as a nuance of that topic.)
- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 9, 2014
Besides its uses in location-based applications such as games and marketing strategies, ibeacons should find its way in education in the near future, 3-4 years, as a low cost system to push content to devices within range. The manifold applications for the ibeacon allow for intuitive interaction and experiences,so it is only natural that it can already be seen in stores, stadiums, museums and other venues. I am pretty sure that in a few years we will be seeing more and more uses for the ibeacon technology, specially in learning environments.

The Technology of Search and the Emerging Semantic Web (Editor's Note: These are great points to include in the existing RQ1 topic: Semantic Applications.)
- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 9, 2014It's more important than ever for teachers to come to grips with the developments in search engines, linked data, the semantic web etc. Educators need to appreciate what semantic search is about, and how it will continue to influence our educational endeavors. Teachers would make more use of tools like Wolfram Alpha . What does Google's Knowledge Graph mean and what does it have to offer? How does the privacy options of Duck Duck go fit into all this? - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 9, 2014The **Semantic Web** holds three key features that are of interest to me. The first is the capacity for effective information storage and retrieval. The second is the capacity for computers to augment the learning and information retrieval and processing power of human beings. The third is the resulting capacity to ‘mix and match’ that will extend and expand knowledge and communications capabilities of humans in multiple formats. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 9, 2014 Educators needs to link students to resources and search is only one way of doing this, but an essential way nevertheless. We need to have a much more thorough understanding and research investigation of what this involves. Information that is immediately understandable by computers, so computers can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, combining, and acting upon information on the web. As the Semantic Web becomes more of a realization, new technologies will also continue to enhance the learning process making flexibility and adaptability a keystone of learning. The unlimited mashup of dynamic information, all portable and tailored to your preferences will be the vehicle for learning in the future.

Wireless Learning Spaces of the Very Near Future (Editor's Notes: Great points! Combining these with the RQ1 topic "Wireless Power.")
The role wireless will/is playing in redefining learning spaces cannot be underestimated. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 Movement towards this in my opinion will have THE biggest impact of all technology integrations. Wireless connectivity helps facilitate moving the focus of learning from the teacher to the students more seamlessly. Students will be able to share work with each other, via a projector onto a wall, with the teacher or with another student in another country from any position in class utilising any device they have been working on (tablet, laptop, phone etc). Whether that be at their desk, sitting on the floor, in a stair well or standing in a group. Wireless networks now need to be able to provide access inside a corridor, at the canteen or on the athletics track because these are all places where learning is happening, not just inside a room with desks and a white board. Integral to this is a robust network that can cope with students on three devices, AppleTv-esque devices for streaming student work, wireless projectors (coming down in price and up in delivery), HDMI cabling for improving the quality of delivery (audio and video) and supporting a wireless environment. One of the big changes is the introduction of 801.11ac network standard. This in itself will improve wireless across networks once supported by hardware. An addendum to this will be the design of schools to enable greater collaborative environments. Impact on K-12 education- the physical design of buildings needs to be considered so as to support better networking and ergo wireless environments. New schools need to have networks embedded into the fabric of the entire school site and not just the classrooms.- deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 Retro fitting out current buildings obviously needs to be considered and sadly comes at a huge capital expense. Well versed technical support staff need to be able to manage a school network with potentially three IP addresses for each user. To be able to support users on this network who will want to be able to online video edit, upload, download and present without fear or favour.
The Blueprint document is vendor driven but gives an insight to what International schools are aiming at and delivering at present. - mtaylor mtaylor Feb 2, 2014
I think this is much more along the line of the Internet of Things concept, as we have to put the wired and wireless pieces in place in order to connect everything. Networking has to become equal to electricity in planning facilities. - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
Wireless is a huge consideration and driver for many of the pieces discussed. Districts need to be planning for 2, 3 or 4 devices per child, and this requires a robust wifi network. Districts are just now beginning to prepare for this, and I believe many are not even considering this possibility. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014

New Topics Moved to RQ3 as New Trends or Combined With Existing Trends

Teach Coding and replace the traditional math course. (Editor's Notes: Combining with RQ3 Trend about teaching kids coding.)
We're moving away from teaching cursive, teaching guide words/dictionary skills and learning how to write a citation ( Technology has replaced this once needed skill set. Today, we have many calculation apps/devices, yet, students continue to spend an enormous of amount of their class time learning skills that technology can/has replaced. Wolframalpha/Mathematica are just a few of the tools that we should be teaching students…even coding. Though this TED video was given in 2010, it's still relevant. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 8, 2014 The new Technology curriculum in Australia includes computational thinking, problem solving decomposition, pattern recognition etc. In the early phase of learning we do continue to teach the basics of Literacy and Numeracy. - FionaBanjer FionaBanjer Feb 9, 2014 Code Week proved very popular in my school, as it was the spring board into our programming assignment. Its another area that is growing in schools because gratification levels, are high. Learn some programming, apply, see your results on screen. It is playing into the psyche of the supposed current generation (Z) who according to some sources have fleeting attention due to the large volume of data they can/are accessing regularly. The rise in SDK and programming is being seen as quite 'cool' in many international schools (Chris Bosh lifts the cool meter dramatically- see code week promo video). It does though have a significant trans disciplinary skills in maths, english, technology and visual arts to name a few. - mtaylor mtaylor Feb 9, 2014 Not only studies show a great divide in the types of people being trained in technology related fields - especially computer science, but there is an even greater divide in the number of women going into the field -- so many ways to deal with this situation. - vlyons vlyons Feb 9, 2014Vicki Lyons National movement to 'recreate' how we teach computer science in K-12 to include a wonderfully research-based curriculum that is being piloted in our school district and many others to move from just 'programming' to a comprehensive study of all the facets of being successful in a computer science field. - vlyons vlyons Feb 9, 2014Vicki Lyons

Technology Increasingly Boosts Productivity for Students and Teachers (Editor's Note: This is a good one! Moving it to RQ3 as it reads more as a trend.)
Has Productivity moved into its own realm in educational technology? Two years ago I included productivity as one of the pillars that the school technology plan was built upon. Today I teach students about having sites like 'cite this for me' open when they are investigating a project, and then add a URL straight into a bibliography; or using style sheets to create a Table of Contents in a Word doc rather than manually create; science teachers filming experiments for students (both absent and present) to observe post lesson via a website, QR code etc Collaborative work spaces are more prevalent than ever. Do we now need to help people understand the power of being more productive with technology?- mtaylor mtaylor Feb 5, 2014

New Topics Moved to RQ4 as New Challenges or Combined With Existing Challenges

Back to basics (Editor's Note: Great points! Moving this to the RQ4 Challenge about Student's Levels of Digital Media Literacy Being Inadequate)
A growing trend by its absence is student inabilities to carryout basic technology skills. Formatting a word processing document, using style sheets, delineating between when to use a table, a spreadsheet and/or a database, many skills in databasing/ and spreadsheets and performing a effective search. As we champion the so called digital native, are we forgetting about they came from the digital caveman who discovered 'the Apple Mactinosh' and wanted to know everything about its use and how it reacted. Who explored the depths of its capacity and then dove a little deeper. Many teachers bemoan that students can't present a word processing document formatted or perform an effective search. Many students can't tell you what an asterisk is (now its the 'starry thing'). Students are writing more than ever and that's 'GR8', but do we want a world of sms standards, no typing skills, no salutations on electronic missives. I am starting to question where is the place for old school technology skills that gave birth to the digital natives. - mtaylor mtaylor Feb 5, 2014

Student Data Privacy (Editor's Note: Well said! Combining this with the new Data Privacy Challenge proposed in RQ4)
- bobmoore bobmoore Feb 4, 2014
I know this isn't really a "technology" but since their are some other topics, such as Flipped Classrooms, that aren't technologies, I'm going to put this out there. Schools have always had significant responsibility of protecting student data. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 FERPA (Family Education Rights & Privacy Act) and COPPA (Children's Online Privacy & Protection Act) are hardly new, but the issue of student data privacy has become the most hotly discussed topic in ed-tech in may thanks to inBloom and those who oppose the collection and analysis of longitudinal student data. Cloud-based data and computing services and mobile apps have made the challenge of protecting the privacy of student data even more difficult. When in the cloud, "ownership" of the data becomes a more difficult question to answer than one might assume. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 And with ownership comes very serious FERPA obligations. Many teachers are quick to sign-up their stduents for a variety of online services, such as Instagram and Dropbox, but if those kids are under the age of 13, they can easily violate COPPA by not following the proper procedures. Mobile apps are notorious for sharing usage data with other apps and thus, commercial entities. More privacy concerns. Their are a large number of organization working on data privacy. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society (, CoSN (, iKeepSafe (, Data Quality Campaign (, Common Sense Media, and the list goes on. I agree with the above. Student data privacy is the greatest challenge we currently face and far too few administrators or district leaders are aware of the issue, willing to tackle it, or concerned with it. How little districts know about how data is collected and used by both mobile apps and cloud services is frightening. These services desperately need to be more forthcoming with how the data is utilized. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014Privacy is moving to the forefront and demands to manage privacy will soon emerge.- anton.inglese anton.inglese Feb 9, 2014 This is really the fallout of a combination of items on our list - Digital Identity Social Network, Learning Analytics, and other "big data" topics. This is a huge policy concern that can be mitigated by coordination of tools and activities when we stop worrying about just putting a device in everyone's hands and worry about what they will be doing once a device is available. Coordination between teachers and tech departments is essential to creating the learning infrastructure needed to make devices work. This is a key area, but is also a part of many different initiatives.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014- GTDeYoung GTDeYoung Feb 9, 2014

There is an Ever-Present Digital Divide (Editor's Note: This reads more like a Challenge; moving it to RQ4)
I know this is an old topic, but it is critical that we just don't assume that "everyone is connected." According to “Teens and Technology 2013” only 37% of US teens have smartphones. Less than one fourth has a tablet computer and for those that have access to a laptop/desktop computer, 7 in 10 say they share the computer with other family members. (Pew Research Center & Berkman Center for Internet & Society of Harvard). Even if we have access in schools, students are not as nearly connected at home as we think. Data shows a high percentage of homes with "broadband" access, but does that include "4G" type broadband, which could be misleading, as that doesn't necessarily extend to all devices and their maybe high costs associated with large data usage over 4G. I really feel that an underlying theme for this report needs to be that in spite of the tremendous promise for technology, we still have a very wide and deep digtial divide. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 5, 2014 Yes, the Digital Divide! You´ll love this story. Some time back, I got a call from one of our vendors. Big sale on interactive whiteboards! Our elementary school still uses them, middle and high school long ago switched to eBeams: Anyway, I was curious why they were suddenly such a bargain. Seems the government of Mexico bought thousands to distribute to poor schools. The problem? Many of the schools they wanted to give them to don´t have ELECTRICITY! So now there´s a warehouse full of them. The point is that when it comes to bridging the Digital Divide, you´ve got to set some priorities. Progress is being made. As I´ve mentioned elsewhere, one of my favorites is the Kennari tablet: On the software side, there´s Open Source: I think the digital divide is a bigger problem than is often recognised, because surely it's not enough for some of the kids, or even most of the kids in the class to be allowed to bring their own device - every single child would need to be able to bring their own and the teacher would even then need some spares for those pupils who had forgotten theirs that day? The reason is that any student who didn't have a device could complain, entirely reasonably, that they were being disadvantaged. You can imagine the fuss that parents who couldn't afford to equip their children with smartphones would make. If the devices are useful (and why allow students to bring them otherwise?) then those without them are disadvantaged and the school could scarcely defend that situation. Even if the school provides a device to those students who don't own one, those students are likely to be stigmatised as the poor kids. This suggests to me that BYOD will be very difficult to achieve until digital devices (smartphones and portable computers) are as cheap and ubiquitous as pens and pencils are today, because pens and pencils are the only devices which schools, in the developed world, can reasonably expect all students to own and bring with them (and even that's quite difficult sometimes). I think the way forward is for the school to provide the devices. After all, we are always being told that teachers fail to make sufficient use of the technology they've got - that's perhaps what we should concentrate on, not bringing in still more technology to be underused. - paul paul Feb 10, 2014

Other: Expert Panel Notes on the RQ1 Categories

I think the list already generated is pretty comprehensive :) I'm not sure that separating some technologies into 'learning' techs away from others sends the message that we might want. Surely all of the techs listed can have a learning focus? I would also like to see us consider a shift away from some technologies being seen as 'enabling' or assistive technologies. Increasingly there are many mainstream technologies that can provide enablers to learners that previously might not have been able to access the programme, even something as simple as voice-to-text. Wondering whether the way we categorise technologies might reflect more of an inclusive shift towards tech as supportive of increasingly personalised spaces....- karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014 [Editor: we should probably find another label for this category. We do not intend for the technologies listed under "enabling" to be confused with assistive technologies in any way. We list technologies here that expand or enhance other tools, such as the camera in a phone, or its ability to geolocate. In other words, they enable devices to do more. We will note this potential source of confusion and redo that heading next round.]

While I agree with a point above about Google apps becoming almost ubiquitous in some areas, I would advocate an tech-agnostic approach to keep our integrity:) - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014

- davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 27, 2014 Separate Categories? As expected, it's a comprehensive/complete list. All of the current/future edtech trends I've been reading about lately are certainly covered, along with, as usual, things I'd never heard of before. I could argue that some topics deserve their own entry. I'm still a sucker for 3D Virtual Worlds, but yes, Games and Gamification can be said to include this. Google Apps for Education is a big enough phenomenon to deserve its own entry, IMHO, but it can be folded under Collaborative Environments. Same with Learning Management Systems, I guess, along with Personalized Learning Networks and even what I call "Global Projects," such as the Flat Connections efforts: But the "internationalization" of ed software, the attempt to reach a worldwide versus just North American market, might be worth a mention. Augmented Reality can be considered part of Games or the 3D categories. Beyond this, it's really just the "Stoner Stuff," so called because it's my hippy-dippy friends who tell me all about it, man. Check out the Frog Design site: Anonymity and disconnecting might have implications for Digital Identity/Citizenship sooner rather than later. Interesting that Quantified Self and other NMC topics made the list. Note especially the Reinvention of the PC. Tablets are, for a variety of reasons, going to be all the rage for the foreseeable future, but I predict it won't be too long before we're looking back at the PC with nostalgia. ;) (Editor's Note: Great feedback! We aim to keep everything separate in order to examine the specifics and nuances of each topic. Though if an item is voted in, we can certainly bring up some of the overlaps, e.g. if augmented reality makes the report, there is bound to be great examples we include of AR games.)

Some of these have been mentioned within other comments, and a few of them are mentioned above, but I thought I'd just list them separately here (sorry in advance for any repetiton). Data privacy (and the politics around data privacy) is a monstrous issue in many education systems around the world, one with which few education systems feel confortable. In most countries, not only are laws insufficient, but there are not standard practices which apply. The politics around data privacy appear to be growing more contentious (I view controversies around things like inBloom in the United States as only the tip of the iceberg of what's coming in this regard). This is of course a larger societal challenge, but one from which education systems will not be immune. In many developing countries where ICTs are permeating school life at the same time they are doing so across wider society, student data privacy issues may help define how such issues are handled more broadly. They may be so under the radar (or under the hood) as to remain hidden from explicit consideration, but improvements in search continue to have profound impacts on the ways educational technologies are used. The explosion in new metadata, and meta data schemes, helps in this regard, and the ability to do things like search within images or videos may have a profound impact on student abilities to 'find' information. I don't see it mentioned here, but computer-based, high-stakes summative assessment looms large in many education systems right now. Related requirements are driving edtech procurement in many activities in many states in the U.S., but this is not only an American phenomenon. Witness the national school leaving exams in places like Lithuania, Slivenia and Georgia, for example. A topic that is perhaps worth a mention (more for future years) relates to the development of superstar teacher 'brands', which are enabled as a result of technology use in education. I am thinking especially of the tutor industry in places like China, Korea and Japan, but there are suggestions that this sort of thing is emerging in other places as well (at the higher ed level, MOOCs will help this along, as will the continued emergence of emerging edutainment fora like the TED talks). Finally, as ICT devices continue to proliferate, I would not be surprised if there is increased attention to ergonometrics -- most likely as a result of health issues (and of course law suites!). - mtrucano mtrucano Feb 6, 2014

I love the items that are identified & discussed here. I don't think this applies to a specific technology as much as an enabling concept - similar to "Digital Divide". The way we live, work and play has been changing at very rapid pace in recent times given the nature of globalization, technology enablement & new workforce demands we are seeing around us. A new generation of “consumers” of education is picking up this change in their personal environments, I have heard called “Generation C” (connected, communicating, content-centric, computerized, community-oriented, always clicking). But education systems and the way we teach, learn, assess and apply skills in schools and HE institutions has not been able to keep pace with that change and the needs of this generation. With aggressive personalization and socialization becoming key trait for changes in the 21st century open & connected world, traditional education models are lagging more and more behind. Hence governments, educators and in fact entire societies worldwide are at cross road of how to adapt faster to make student learning more relevant for enabling students’ success and countries’ competitiveness in future. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014 This is great, but I see it fitting in more with the challenges if you'd like to write about it over in that section. - Sam Sam Feb 7, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014