K-12 Education Trends: Coming Soon to a School Near You


Wearable technology, information visualization and badges are just some of the five-year developments described in the 2015 New Media Consortium Horizon Report K-12 Edition. The report not only looks at how education systems and schools around the world are innovating, but why.

Much of the innovation outlined in the 2015 report is designed to increase access for all learners on multiple devices, and to enable deep anytime, anywhere learning. But schools are also rethinking professional development and the impact of adaptive learning and analytics in bringing personalized teaching and learning to life.

Here at Microsoft, we are inspired by the innovations that support the kind of scalable and sustainable transformation we see in schools every day. In fact, our Showcase Schools are already demonstrating many of the trends, challenges, and technology developments identified in the new report.

Below is Microsoft's take on some of the top level trends, challenges and developments called out in the new report:

Key Trends:

  • Key Trends for 5+ years focus on systems change, including Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation. We see this happening daily in the Microsoft Showcase Schools and among the forward-thinking educators who participate in theGlobal Enterprise Challenge for Education. Schools are expected to engage in Rethinking How Schools Work, and many are on this path with guidance from experts who collected research in the Education Transformation Framework . Schools are also Shifting to Deeper Learning Approaches like the ones adopted by those who have joined the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning partnership.
  • Key Trends for 3-5 years emphasize shifts in how and where students learn, leading to an increase in Collaborative Learning Approaches like those led by teachers using Skype in the Classroom. Schools that are Redesigning Learning Spaces will soon have compelling new options like HoloLens. And in classrooms where there is a Shift to Students as Creators, Sway is an effective and flexible platform for expression.
  • Key Trends for 1-3 years are refinements in teaching and learning, beginning with a Growing Focus on Measuring Learning. OneNote helps teachers create notebooks that allow them to stay organized, deliver curriculum, assess, and collaborate with students and colleagues - all with Windows device benefits of digital pen and voice annotation.Office Mix has streamlined formative and self-assessments. Schools that are Increasing Use of Blended/Hybrid Learning Designs are finding reliable and secure platforms in edX and Moodle that integrate the power and familiarity of Office 365. Students inspired by STEAM Learning find tools and mentors in the YouthSpark programs.

Significant Challenges:

Important Developments:

  • Important Developments within the next year include BYOD, which will be a seamless experience for students and teachers on all of their built-for-learning devices running Windows 10. Even School Makerspaces will benefit from Windows-powered Internet of Things devices. Schools are equalizing student access to learning resources thoughCloud Computing and Mobile Learning environments likeOffice 365, the new MicrosoftClass Dashboard, and Windows education apps.
  • Important Developments in the 2-3 year window center on Adaptive Learning Technologies that are enabled by Learning Analytics and Information Visualization. Analytics and visualization for education are happening with the analysis and prediction power of Azure Machine Learning coupled with Power BI as the dynamic visualization tool. Together, these services learn from a school's data what works for learning and make recommendations to students, teachers, and leaders. To support schools, Microsoft Education has recently launched the new Microsoft School Information Sync to support the issues of integrating data from multiple data source systems. As schools transform learning, redesigning learning experiences and learning spaces are critical investments. Architects (and Microsoft partner) Trimble show how HoloLens and 3D building bring 21st century pedagogies to life in this video.
  • Important Developments in the 4-5 year horizon include using Badges as credentials like those now offered in theMicrosoft Educator Community. Wearable technology like Microsoft Band is used as a starting point for key fitness courses. And the Delve service included in Office 365 adds Visual Data Analysis capability to help students discover personalized content around them.

Is your school or classroom already on the horizon? We'd like to hear about your innovations, and how they address these trends, challenges and developments. If you'd like to see how innovations like these are empowering teaching and learning every day, please request a visit to a Showcase School, check out the School Stories, look for Microsoft Innovative Educators at events like ISTE and events near you, and join our online communities. #EDUhorizonNOW

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