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 and Personalized Learning Networks (PLNs). I don't separate these two me they're inextricably linked. Knewton is doing some really geeky-cool stuff (, although some nerds I know argue that this is just a recommendation engine, like the one Amazon uses to suggest that if you liked CD X, you'll also like CD Y. I want my students (and teachers) to build their own PLNs to create truly customized...and I mean classroom if not individual level...adaptive learning platforms. All ties in with Electronic Publishing, Open Content, etc., but PLNs/AL deserve a category of their own. We're making some headway with (, although what I'd really like to make as a next step is a schoolwide site along the lines of Learnist: - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 3, 2013 - helen.padgett helen.padgett Mar 6, 2013 - jim.siegl jim.siegl Mar 6, 2013 I agree that students need to develop PLNs. - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Mar 7, 2013 For Adaptive Learning: some interesting pilots going on (I think there are some aspects of this technology that probably touch on the edges of Virtual Assistant, Machine Learning and Learning Analytics) DreamBox Learning Florida Virtual Schools:, focused on Math in K-5 also pilots in San Jose Unified. Definite Presence of the "big 3" publishers in this space [ LearnSmart (McGraw-Hill), HMH partnered with Knewton, Alleyoop (backed by Pearson) jackwest jackwest Mar 6, 2013Im very excited about goorulearning here - a free, personalized learning engine born out of Google research - now in the nonprofit space. - - brandt.redd brandt.redd Mar 7, 2013 I prefer the term "Personalized Learning" which includes Adaptive Learning as a subset. Personalized learning is any effort that changes the learning experience according to the needs of the individual student. Adaptive Learning is one way to accomplish that through measurement of student understanding and then changing the activity selection or activity behavior accordingly.
  • Augmented Reality. I was surprised to see that Augmented Reality didn't appear on the list, although I guess it could be considered as covered under Wearable Technology: I don't foresee students/teachers wearing Google glasses anytime soon (if for no other reason than the cost!), but we do have lots of people excited about AR apps: - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 3, 2013 - roger.blamire roger.blamire Mar 4, 2013 Good point, David! We've always had AR as part of every Horizon Project cycle, but this year we decided to "sit it out," not because it's not a compelling tech, but because we have not seen much progress or implementation of it in K-12. However, because you brought it up, it's worthy of being on our radar. I'm pastin in the original definition we had for AR: Augmented reality (AR), a capability that has been around for decades, has shifted from what was once seen as a gimmick to a tool with tremendous potential. The layering of information over 3D space produces a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” and is fueling the broader migration of computing from the desktop to the mobile device, bringing with it new expectations regarding access to information and new opportunities for learning. While the most prevalent uses of augmented reality so far have been in the consumer sector (for marketing, social engagement, amusement, or location-based information), new uses seem to emerge almost daily, as tools for creating new applications become even easier to use. A key characteristic of augmented reality is its ability to respond to user input, which confers significant potential for learning and assessment; with it, learners can construct new understanding based on interactions with virtual objects that bring underlying data to life. Dynamic processes, extensive datasets, and objects too large or too small to be manipulated can be brought into a learner’s personal space at a scale and in a form easy to understand and work with. - Sam Sam Mar 4, 2013 For what it's worth, I was not displeased to see that augmented reality is not on this year's list. I just don't see it happening at any real scale in the places where I work. This is not to deny that it won't be big, or integral, or even embedded into our processes or technologies at some point in the future in ways that are so seemless as to almost be invisible ... but we are not there yet. I have seen cool AR demos and small pilots for many many years ... but almost nothing really being done 'in the wild' in the places where I work (middle and low income countries). - mtrucano mtrucano Mar 4, 2013 I too noticed that for the first time in a number of years AR wasn't on the list. Oddly, in the last 6 months I've finally begun to see AR hitting the classroom. Part of this is the familiarity our teachers now feel with QR codes, the AR idea is a nice extension. Apps such as Aurasma certainly pique the interest of educators and we're finally seeing a few bite and start to implement. Makes me think that next year we'll see that first 10% or so of tech teachers using it with a larger degree the following year. Also, with it becoming pervasive for children in daily life, they are going to start experimenting with it and bringing it to school. Lego is a prime example of the AR use our students are seeing, from the new app that appeared a week ago to create AR with the catalogue to in-store experiences. I think it's been on the report frequent enough to merit a skip, however I do think it's finally here. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 5, 2013 I think that it will sneak in - we have been so accustomed to seeing "cool" displays that we overlook the insidious way it just shows up. Nobody thinks anything of your GPS reading directions to you and telling you where to turn, but that is probably the most pervasive AR around. - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Mar 6, 2013 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 6, 2013 I too was disappointed that it was not on the list this year as I do believe that as the mobile devices are getting smarter there is greater scope for use. I feel this could be a technology could be a real bridge between the formal and informal learning spaces.
    I just do not see AR being more than a gimic, if it is something that transforms education it is a ways off. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 6, 2013I am sorry to see all the disappointment in relation to AR in education... I just believe it was not exploited to the extent it could have been. We mainly saw cheap WoW experiences. Yet, I believe it could well be used for deeper and more complex exploitation, like e.g. in case of developing interactive posters for learning - tszmarta tszmarta Mar 7, 2013
  • E-Advisors. I also like the concept of "e-advising": tkn=UVMF5oFxaLSWpi8XPvu0GvcBhJSaFdeK29Oy&cmp=clp-edweek. Could be considered part of Learning Analytics, I guess, but perhaps this application of data analysis is distinctive enough to be listed separately. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 3, 2013 David, love the concept of "e-advising." Perhaps, there is a correlation with virtual assistants. Our social interactions are different today; thus, an "e-coach" is part of the new educational frame. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 4, 2013 really interesting thought and definitely scalable - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Mar 6, 2013 I agree, I think this is really coming around. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 6, 2013 This is an exciting idea. We are beginning to see classroom teachers find personal time in evenings to be available virtually to chime in to help students in academic discussions and problem solving. - sharyn.gabriel sharyn.gabriel Mar 7, 2013 - jim.siegl jim.siegl Mar 4, 2013 Along a similar vein as eAdvising, we are looking at ementoring, one of our STEM schools has traditionally match students with STEM professionals for sendor projects and we are looking at extending this in to the virtual space. - Tony.Brandenburg Tony.Brandenburg Mar 5, 2013Examples of tools in this space--IBM Mentor Place
  • Social Reading--Possibly the intersection of the social media and electronic publishing topics. (This made it on to the Higher Ed short list last year -- ) I could see this combined with the personal learning network catagory in K12 (examples: Copia, bookshout, see Social reading, the next phase of e-Book Revolution and - jim.siegl jim.siegl Mar 4, 2013 - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013 Education example - A teacher makes a number of annotations in an ebook, exports them, sends them to students, who import them into their own copies of the book. - helen.padgett helen.padgett Mar 6, 2013
  • Exercise Desks or Kinetic Desks. I know this might sound a little wacky, but it's catching on in Florida and there's actually some good research behind it: I am still trying to track down the radio interview with the Florida principal who uses the bikes in his school, but you can see a photos of different types at or .... - marcia.mardis marcia.mardis Mar 6, 2013 .... This is something that a lot of our principals are discussing and I hear with others that we meet with as well. Funding the last few years really prohibited the idea of flexible furniture in the classroom, but it's something a number of educators are looking at as a necessity. With the influx of mobile devices, LMS, and cloud based activities for students, the rows and chair/desk combos don't really work to facilitate learning. While it's far too cost prohibitive to tear down the school and start again, many that I speak with see this as the solution. Unfortunately, it's going to take a few years for it to become mainstream as budgets need to recover and update other items first. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 6, 2013- deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 6, 2013Flexible learning spaces
  • Pencasts - I realize this is mainly coming from the Livescribe company, but I am seeing more educators talk about pencasting and loving it - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Mar 6, 2013
    I do love my livescribe pen and recommend it to my students but it has been around for a long time and is not taking off, it is another device and I see it much more likely that the iPad will be the investment, not the livescribe. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 6, 2013
  • Intelligent Tutoring Systems - Current research shows ITS to be as effective as live, human tutors achieving one standard deviation (one sigma) improvement over conventional instruction. ( - brandt.redd brandt.redd Mar 7, 2013

Topic moved to Research Question 1 - Emerging Technologies:

  • Mobile device LMS app manager Of course I just made this up but something designed for creating, managing, synchronizing a learning environment on cross platform mobile devices. LAUSD's RFP for Computing Devices for Common Core Technology Project has raised the bar and hopefully has shifted the focus off the tablet an back to instruction. - ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Mar 6, 2013 [Editor's Note - Great thoughts -- perfect to be added to "Mobile Learning" in RQ1]

Topics moved to Research Question 3 - Trends:

  • There is an increase in education entrepreneurship courses. The working environment today requires people to be able to market themselves (LinkedIn), search for short contract jobs and develop their skillset outside of work. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 4, 2013- deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 6, 2013
  • Informal Learning is on the rise. This topic was on the list in previous discussions. It appears more and more summer programs, blended learning courses, and online courses are taken by students. Many parents and schools are increasingly creating marketable courses as well as skills, where parents enroll their children. Cost is a factor.- michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 4, 2013 jmorrison jmorrison Mar 5, 2013- deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 6, 2013What about MOOC's too ? A lot of learners are taking courses out of personal interest and dipping in and out of courses to get a flavour. Social media and the ease of putting information online really makes this a plausible reality. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 6, 2013
  • Computational thinking is increasingly discussed as a teaching strategy: As a problem-solving method that uses computer science techniques, this is not a technology in itself. However I have heard many discussions in the past year or so as to its importance across the curriculum as thinking process that is a natural fit for students.- kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 6, 2013 I've also seen the many discussions about computational thinking, but I think that falls in the same category as the belief that math teaches logic. If we want students to learn logic, we should teach them logic. Computational thinking in and of itself won't solve problems. But it could be a trend - I don't think we are restricted to effective trends.- deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 6, 2013 - helen.padgett helen.padgett Mar 6, 2013 Computational thinking can easily be integrated in K-12 classrooms to engage students in activities that stimulate critical thinking and problem solving. Computational thinking combines critical thinking skills with the power of computing to make decisions and find innovative solutions. Check out ISTE’s research and free resources for K-12.'s a free course on MIT’s EdX - 6.00x is an introduction to using computation to solve real problems. The course is aimed at students with little or no prior programming experience who have a desire (or at least a need) to understand computational approaches to problem solving. alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Mar 7, 2013 I would like to add in to the computational thinking the concept of project management for students. We teach study skills to help absorb information to pass tests. Why don't we teach them the basics of how to organize their thoughts and actions around a profession that is growing. It goes along with teaching logic and programming, but sets up the integration of other subjects as well, and might tbe the best tie to for why communications (writing, reading, language) and history (review of past successes/failures) are important. Agreed. - sharyn.gabriel sharyn.gabriel Mar 7, 2013
  • The intersection of public spaces (museums, libraries, etc) with schools is dispelling the myth that learning only happens in school., thus increasing the move toward learning 24/7 and dispelling that myth that learning only happens within the walls of brick and mortar schools. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013 This is a great point. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 6, 2013- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Mar 7, 2013
  • Maker Spaces and Hacker Spaces are a growing partnership opportunity for schools. I know these were mentioned in RQ1 by some, but the emergence of maker spaces is certainly exciting many children outside of school. I think as Kari mentions above, the intersection of public spaces, including maker spaces, with education is going to be on the rise in the next few years. Given the costs associated with some of the equipment in maker spaces, it seems logical that trying to incorporate them with a K12 school is an ideal partnership. If items such as 3D printers really are going to become common in school, this is a tremendous method for leveraging the technology and extending learning beyond the 8 am- 3pm window. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 6, 2013 Thanks for your response! :-) - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013 - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 6, 2013 Maker spaces are all over the place, hopefully the pendulum is swinging and the robot standardized testing is going to see it's demise with the common core coming in. Many educators are getting into it and that will translate to that going to the classroom. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 6, 2013 I think this will be a very big trend in the future, as we try to help student apply what they are learning to the world around them.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Mar 7, 2013 I wonder also how concepts fit into technologies since they are becoming increasingly intertwined. Many of the technologies mentioned are enabling and forcing ideas like curation and conceptual granularization. Treating them as separate technologies doesn't seem quite right, but neither doesn't treating technology as a disembodied force. - marcia.mardis marcia.mardis Mar 6, 2013
  • Schools are beginning to move away from interactive white boards to other screen technologies. I don't use interactive whiteboards myself, but the research I've seen indicates that nearly a third of K-12 teachers still swear by them. I know our teachers, especially at the elementary school level, feel they can't live without the gizmos. Our problem is that we can't afford to put one in every classroom...these suckers are expensive. As of this year, we've decided to switch to eBeams ( Now every teacher can have an interactive whiteboard, and they're used on a just-in-time basis, meaning that a costly piece of gear doesn't wind up being wasted as a mere projector screen. ;) - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 3, 2013 I think IWB's are going to go OUT of vogue. With 1:1 and more student focused learning it does not make sense to go this route. iPads are really popular, things such as apple TV or reflectorapp makes it hard to justify the cost. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 6, 2013 I think the interactive board wave is long over. Certainly the idea of projector/iPad/Apple TV is catching on as a less expensive, easier to use solution for teachers, but by no means is it ground breaking enough to make a list of top ideas for the coming years. I think the sudden rush of IWB companies to partner with projector companies to sell software, as well as with publishers to coproduce content indicates the jig is up on IWB. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 5, 2013- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Mar 6, 2013I agree its time to move on.
  • There is a renewed emphasis on Programming as a STEM skill.. Don't know what else to call it...the Coding Renaissance??: Suddenly, there's been this...epiphany...that teaching programming is important. I think it's fantastic...still can't help but wonder why it took so long for educators to reach this conclusion!- davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 3, 2013 Agree strongly, but it's important not to drop wider digital competence development - jmorrison jmorrison Mar 4, 2013 - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013 - roger.blamire roger.blamire Mar 4, 2013 I 100% agree. - Tony.Brandenburg Tony.Brandenburg Mar 5, 2013 In many places, widespread 'ICT literacy' instruction in schools has been found wanting (the UK is one prominent example), and there are movements to get back to teaching programming (like occurred in the 70s and 80s in many advanced industrialized countries). A recent related announcement from New York City: There is support in some quarters from the promotion of coding as a 'new literacy'. However one feels about that position, it is hard to argue that (1) coding is a skill that will become less relevant over time (2) lots more people will be writing code (of various sorts -- including people who are not 'programmers') in the future. Raspberry Pi is perhaps the poster child (?) for the 'educational coding' movement in many places (in ways that the OLPC was a half decade ago, at least in many low and middle income countries). - mtrucano mtrucano Mar 4, 2013 Yes, let's replace many of the new math skills with programming skills. michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 4, 2013 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 6, 2013I think what's important is why are the students engaged in programming - what is the underlying rationale, are they designing games/ apps? Who is setting the agenda? - jackwest jackwest Mar 6, 2013 Coding is getting a lot of attention in my circles, but still not seeing it happen in schools. Totally agree, more and more I see schools requiring programming. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 6, 2013 Code - I see as an important skill for the new century - maybe could be related with others - Bruno Gomes Case

Topics moved to Research Question 4 - Challenges:

  • We need to shift our language. We continue to call each subject the same as decades ago: English, Social Studies, Language Arts, Physical Education, Math, Science, etc. Today it's not the telephone, it's the smart phone; it's not the blackboard, it's the smart board; it's not a book, it's an e-reader; it's not the radio, it's the iPod. Subjects need to be titled: communications, not language arts; programming, not math; and introduce new courses such as entrepreneurship, social media, writing for the web, etc. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 4, 2013 Excellent idea. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 5, 2013 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 6, 2013And it's not a tablet, it's the iPad. Rather than shifting language, maybe we should look at the shifting hegemon. - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Mar 6, 2013