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NMC Horizon Report > 2012 K-12 Edition


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The NMC Horizon Report > 2012 K-12 Edition is a collaborative research effort between the NMC, the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). This edition of the NMC Horizon Report series discusses the top emerging technologies, trends, and challenges that the advisory board believes will have a major impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in pre-college education over the next five years. The NMC Horizon Report > 2012 K-12 Edition identifies mobile devices & apps and tablet computing as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. Game-based learning and personal learning environments are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; and augmented reality and natural user interfaces emerged in the third horizon of four to five years. The research and analysis contained in the report will help inform K-12 educators' technology strategies over the next five years.

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  • 1. NMC Horizon Report > 2012 K-12 Edition
  • 2. Each of the three global editions of the NMC Horizon Report — higher education, primary and secondaryeducation (K-12), and museum education — highlights six emerging technologies or practices that are likelyto enter mainstream use with their focus sectors within three adoption horizons over the next five years.
  • 3. 1Contents > Click on a topic or page number to jump to that page.Executive Summary 3Key Trends 7Significant Challenges 9Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less> Mobile Devices & Apps 11> Tablet Computing 15Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years > Game-Based Learning 19> Personal Learning Environments 24 Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years> Augmented Reality 28 > Natural User Interfaces 32 The NMC Horizon Project 36 Methodology 38 The NMC Horizon Project: 2012 K-12 Edition Advisory Board 40 Interested in these emerging technology topics? Learn more about them and other edtech insights by “liking” us onFacebook at and following us on Twitter at
  • 4. NMCThe NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition is a collaboration between the New MediaConsortium, the Consortium for School Networking, and the International Society forTechnology in Education.The research behind the NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition is The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition is madea collaboration between the New Media Consortium (NMC), the possible via a grant from HP.Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the InternationalSociety for Technology in Education (ISTE). Their critical participation HP creates innovative technology solutions that benefitin the production of this report and their strong support for the NMC individuals, businesses, governments and society. The HPHorizon Project is gratefully acknowledged. To learn more about the Sustainability & Social Innovation team applies HP’s globalNMC, visit; to learn more about CoSN visit; reach, broad portfolio of products and services, and the expertiseto learn more about ISTE, visit of its employees to support initiatives in education, healthcare and communities around the world. As the world’s largest technology© 2012, The New Media Consortium. company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services, and IT infrastructure to solve customerISBN 978-0-9846601-4-8 problems. More information about HP is available at is granted under a Creative Commons Attribution License to Cover photographreplicate, copy, distribute, transmit, or adapt this report freely provided Photo by North-West University. Students on the Vaal Triangle campus inthat attribution is provided as illustrated in the citation below. To view Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, where mobile learning approaches area copy of this license, visit or being researched. Photo submitted for the HP Catalyst Project Showcase:send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, 94305, USA. Inside Front and Back Cover PhotographCitation Photo by Julie Bohnenkamp. Kindergarten 1:1 iPad Classroom at CenterJohnson, L., Adams, S., and Cummins, M. (2012). Grove Elementary in Greenwood, Indiana participating in part of anNMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Indiana Department of Education Innovation grant. www.centergrove.Consortium. Design by
  • 5. 3Executive SummaryT he internationally recognized NMC Horizon Report education (K-12), and museum education — highlights series and regional NMC Technology Outlooks are six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to part of the NMC Horizon Project, a comprehensive enter mainstream use with their focus sectors within research venture established in 2002 that three adoption horizons over the next five years. Key identifies and describes emerging technologies trends and challenges that will affect current practicelikely to have a large impact over the coming five years over the same period frame these discussions. Over thein education around the globe. This volume, the NMCHorizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, examines emergingtechnologies for their potential impact on and usein teaching, learning, and creative inquiry within the The NMC Horizon Report: 2012environment of pre-college education. While there aremany local factors affecting the practice of education, K-12 Edition, examines emergingthere are also issues that transcend regional boundariesand questions we all face in K-12 education; it was with technologies for their potentialthese questions in mind that this report was created.The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition is the fourth in impact on and use in teaching,the K-12 series of reports and is produced by the NMC incollaboration with the Consortium for School Networking learning, and creative inquiry(CoSN), and the International Society for Technologyin Education (ISTE), with the generous support of HP’s within the environment ofSustainability & Social Innovation team. pre-college education.To create the report, an international body of experts in course of just a few weeks in the early Spring of 2012,education, technology, and other fields was convened the advisory board came to a consensus about the sixas an advisory board. The group engaged in discussions topics that appear here in the NMC Horizon Report: 2012around a set of research questions intended to surface K-12 Edition. The examples and readings under eachsignificant trends and challenges and to identify a topic area are meant to provide practical models aswide array of potential technologies for the report. This well as access to more detailed information. The precisedialog was enriched by an extensive range of resources, research methodology employed is detailed in thecurrent research, and practice that drew on the expertise closing section of this report.of both the NMC community and the communities ofthe members of the advisory board. These interactions The report’s format is consistent from year to year andamong the advisory board are the focus of the NMC edition to edition, and opens with a discussion of theHorizon Report research, and this report details the areas trends and challenges identified by the advisory boardin which these experts were in strong agreement. as most important for the next five years. The format of the main section of this edition closely reflects theEach of the three global editions of the NMC Horizon focus of the NMC Horizon Project itself, centering onReport — higher education, primary and secondary the applications of emerging technologies — in this
  • 6. 4 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Editioncase for K-12 settings. Each section is introduced with able to work, play, and learn on these devices wheneveran overview that describes what the topic is, followed they want and wherever they may a discussion of the particular relevance of the topicto teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in K-12 > Mobile devices & apps are increasingly valued aseducation. Several concrete examples of how the important learning tools in K-12. Once banned fromtechnology is being used are given. the classroom, mobile devices & apps have become such compelling tools that schools are beginningFinally, each section closes with an annotated list of to rethink standing policies, and some are evensuggested readings and additional examples that beginning to implement “bring your own device”expand on the discussion in the report. These resources, (BYOD) programs. The potential applications ofalong with a wide collection of other helpful projects mobiles are vast, and range from graphing complexand readings, can all be found in the project’s open mathematical equations to storing and sharing notescontent database — the NMC Horizon Project Navigator and e-book annotations. Apps in particular are the( — and in the NMC Horizon EdTech fastest growing dimension of the mobile space in theWeekly App for the iPhone and iPad ( K-12 sector right now, with impacts on virtually everyAll the background materials for the NMC Horizon aspect of informal life, and increasingly, potential inReport: 2012 K-12 Edition, including the research data, almost every academic discipline. Always-connectedthe preliminary selections, the topic preview, and this Internet devices using 3G, 4G, and similar cellularpublication, can be downloaded for free on iTunes U networks, imbedded sensors, cameras, and GPS have( inspired hundreds of thousands of applications. With a steady flow of new apps that take advantage of theTechnologies to Watch continual stream of enhancements to these tools, asThe six technologies featured in the NMC Horizon well as key advances in electronic publishing, andReport: 2012 K-12 Edition are placed along three the convergence of search technology and locationadoption horizons that indicate likely timeframes awareness, mobile devices & apps grow more andfor their entrance into mainstream use for teaching, more interesting with each passing month.learning, and creative inquiry. The near-term horizonassumes the likelihood of entry into the mainstream > Tablet computing presents new opportunities tofor schools within the next 12 months; the mid-term enhance learning experiences in ways simply nothorizon, within two to three years; and the far-term, possible with mobile phones, laptops, or desktopwithin four to five years. It should be noted at the outset computers, and is especially suited for one-to-onethat the NMC Horizon Report is not a predictive tool. It is learning in the K-12 environment. High-resolutionmeant, rather, to highlight emerging technologies with screens allow users of tablets, such as the iPad andconsiderable potential for our focus areas of education Galaxy, to easily share content, images, and video.and interpretation. Each of the six is already the target They are engaging and viewed as less disruptive thanof work at a number of innovative organizations around other hand-held devices (no phone ringing and nothe world, and the projects we showcase here reveal the incoming text messages). Because tablets are ablepromise of a wider impact. to tap into all the advantages that mobile apps bring to smaller devices but in a larger format, schools areNear-term Horizon seeing them not just as affordable solutions for one-On the near-term horizon — that is, within the next 12 to-one learning, but also as feature-rich tools for allmonths — are two related but distinct categories: mobile sorts of assignments as well, often replacing far moredevices & apps and tablet computing. These two sets of expensive and cumbersome devices and equipment.technologies have become a pervasive part of everydaylife in much of the world, and are growing everywhere. Mid-term HorizonStudents have ever-increasing expectations of being The second adoption horizon, two to three years out,
  • 7. Executive Summary 5is where we will begin to see widespread adoptions server-based solutions to distributed and portableof two technologies that are experiencing growing ones. Despite the use of the word ‘environment’ ininterest within K-12 education: game-based learning the name, the notion of a physical or virtual spaceand personal learning environments. Educational is somewhat irrelevant to a PLE. The goal is forgaming brings an increasingly credible promise to students to have more control over how they learnmake learning experiences more engaging for students, in school, just as they do at home, and for teacherswhile at the same time improving important skills, to set expectations that their students will be activelysuch as collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. engaged in designing and supporting their ownOver the past year, the definition of personal learning learning strategies. Personal learning environmentsenvironments has transcended its original ties and rely on enabling technologies, especially clouddependence on learning management systems. computing and mobile devices, that make thePersonal learning environments (PLEs) have come to learning environment portable, networked, andrefer to any collection of resources and content that personally relevant.students have chosen to use in directing their ownlearning, at their own pace. Far-term Horizon On the far-term horizon, set at four to five years away> Game-based learning has gained more traction in from widespread adoption, are augmented reality and recent years as research continues to demonstrate its natural user interfaces. Augmented reality is an intuitive effectiveness for learning. Games for education span doorway through which data can be easily attached to the range from single-player or small-group card and real world objects, settings, and processes in a way that board games all the way to massively multiplayer facilitates a deeper understanding of what is being seen. online games and alternate reality games. Those at Natural user interfaces make the technology we use far the single-player or small-group end of the spectrum simpler and easier to use than ever before. Interfaces are easy to integrate into the curriculum, and have that react to touch, movement, voice, and even facial long been an option in many schools; but the greatest expressions are fundamentally changing how we potential of games for learning lies in their ability to interact with our devices — and our expectations for foster collaboration and engage students deeply in them. These technologies are several years away from the process of learning. Currently, the integration mainstream use, but already it is clear that their impact of games into K-12 is largely driven by individual will be significant, despite the lack of well-documented educators who are motivated to experiment with K-12 project examples. The high level of interest and gaming at school. There is a small but growing set of investment in both areas are clear indicators that they organizations that partner with schools to help them are worth following closely. design or implement games, but until a way is found to marshal resources more effectively in support of > Augmented reality (AR) refers to the layering game-based learning, it will remain on the mid-term of information over a view or representation of horizon. the normal world, offering users the ability to access place-based information in ways that are> Personal learning environments (PLEs), as outlined compellingly intuitive. Augmented reality brings in this year’s report, refer to the personal collections significant potential to supplement information of tools and resources a person assembles to support delivered via computers, mobile devices, video, and their own learning — both formal and informal. The even the printed book. Adding to the experience, conceptual basis for PLEs has shifted significantly most of the current tools do this in ways that the in the last year, as smartphones, tablets, and apps user can control and manipulate in real-time. While have begun to emerge as a compelling alternative augmented reality is much simpler to create and use to browser-based PLEs and e-portfolios. There has now than ever before, it is still several years away been a corresponding move away from centralized, from widespread adoption in schools, although
  • 8. 6 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition for informal education, it is already commonplace. of progress has been made by exploring applications History and science museums use augmented reality in these areas. in creative ways to show visitors the science behind a phenomena as it happens, or what a building Each of these technologies is described in detail in the looked like centuries ago as they view it through the main body of the report, where a discussion of what camera on their smartphones or tablets. Although AR the technology is and why it is relevant to teaching, learning, or creative inquiry can also be found. Our research indicates that all six of these technologiesNatural user interfaces have proven have clear and immediate potential for teaching and learning, and this report aims to document that in aespecially beneficial for autistic, simple and compelling fashion.blind, deaf, and other special needs The advisory board of 46 technology experts spanned 22 countries this year, and their names are listed at thestudents; a great deal of progress end of this report. Despite their diversity of backgrounds and experience, they share a consensus view that eachhas been made by exploring of the profiled topics will have a significant impact on the practice of primary and secondary education aroundapplications in these areas. the globe over the next five years. The key trends driving interest in their adoption, and the challenges schools is a well-understood technology, and the enabling and school systems will need to address if they are to technologies are readily available, the lack of school- reach their potential, also represent their perspective, based examples justifies its placement on the far- and are the focus of the next sections of the NMC term horizon. Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, where each is detailed in the context of schools, teaching, and learning. > Natural user interfaces allow computers to respond to gestures, motions of the body, facial expressions, voice, sound, and other environmental cues, and are replacing the keyboard and mouse as the standard for computer/human interaction. The various technologies that enable natural user interfaces are making interactions with computational devices far more intuitive, and often so simple that no instructions are even needed to use them. The device teaches you as you interact with it. From the touchscreens on smartphones and tablets, to the gesture and voice interactions built into the latest gaming systems (Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii, for example), to capable virtual assistants like Siri on the iPhone 4S, natural user interfaces enable users to learn by doing and seamlessly convert thought to action. Large multi-touch displays support collaborative work, allowing multiple users to interact with content simultaneously. Natural user interfaces have proven especially beneficial for autistic, blind, deaf, and other special needs students; a great deal
  • 9. 7Key TrendsT he technologies featured in each edition of the their own pace and style, whenever they want from NMC Horizon Report are embedded within a wherever they are. contemporary context that reflects the realities of the time, both in the sphere of K-12 education and in the world at large. To ensure this contextwas well understood, the advisory board engaged in an 2 The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles asextensive review of current articles, interviews, papers, educators. Institutions must consider the uniqueand new research to identify and rank trends that are value that each adds to a world in which informationcurrently affecting teaching, learning, and creative is everywhere. In such a world, sense-making andinquiry in K-12 education. Once detailed, the list of the ability to assess the credibility of information aretrends was then ranked according to how significant paramount. Mentoring and preparing students for theeach was likely to be for K-12 education in the next five world in which they will live is again at the forefront.years. The highest ranked of those trends had significant K-12 institutions have always been seen as criticalagreement among the advisory board members, who paths to educational credentialing, but challenges fromconsidered them to be key drivers of educational competing sources are redefining what these paths cantechnology adoptions for the period of 2012 through look like.2017. They are listed here in the order in which theadvisory board ranked them. 3 As the cost of technology drops and school districts revise and open up their access policies,1 Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning and collaborativemodels. Budget cuts have forced schools to re-evaluate it is becoming increasingly common for students to bring their own mobile devices. A growing number of schools are launching “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD)their education platforms and find alternatives to programs so that students can use the devices theythe exclusive face-to-face learning models. As such, already own in class as well as in the informal and out-what once was seen as a challenge has now become of-school environments they are ubiquitous in increasingly interesting trend. Students already This is happening partly because of how BYOD impactsspend much of their free time on the Internet, learning budgets; schools can spend less money on technologyand exchanging new information through various overall if students use their own, while funneling theresources, including social networks. Institutions that funds they do spend to help students who cannotembrace face-to-face/online hybrid learning models afford their own devices. The interest in BYOD programshave the potential to leverage the online skills learners can also be attributed to an attitude shift as schoolshave already developed independent of academia. We are beginning to better understand the capabilities ofare beginning to see developments in online learning smartphones and other devices that still remain bannedthat offer similar — if not better — environments than on most campuses.classrooms, including opportunities for increasedcollaboration while equipping students with strongerdigital skills. Hybrid models, when designed andimplemented successfully, enable students to learn at 4 People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want. This trend is certainly true for most adults, and many well-
  • 10. 8 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition paying jobs literally can be done from anywhere that has a mobile Internet connection. It is also true for many of today’s school-age children, who live their lives 6 There is a new emphasis in the classroom on more challenge-based, active learning. Challenge-based learning and similar methods foster in a state of constant connection to their peers, social more active learning experiences, both inside and groups, and family. While some decry the constant outside the classroom. As technologies such as tablets flow of information as a distraction or worse (with and smartphones now have proven applications in some justification), others see the opportunity to “flip” schools, educators are leveraging these tools, which expectations about what is homework and what is students already use, to connect the curriculum with schoolwork by taking advantage of those connections real life issues. The active learning approaches are decidedly more student-centered, allowing them to take control of how they engage with a subject and toIf learners can connect the course brainstorm and implement solutions to pressing local and global problems. The hope is that if learners canmaterial with their own lives and connect the course material with their own lives and their surrounding communities, then they will becometheir surrounding communities, then more excited to learn and immerse themselves in the subject matter. Studies of challenge-based learning inthey will become more excited to practice, including two authored by the NMC, depict an increase in the uptake of 21st Century Skills amonglearn and immerse themselves in the learners, including leadership and creativity.subject matter. as learning opportunities. The implications for formal learning are profound, as flipping uses the resources on the Internet to free up valuable teacher classroom time, and fundamentally changes the teacher-student relationship. When students know how to use their network connections for more than texting, learning becomes much more serendipitous, opening the door to “just-in-time” learning, and “discovered” learning. 5 Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate, and succeed. Increasingly, technology skills are critical to success in almost every arena, and those who are more facile with technology will advance while those without access or skills will not. The digital divide, once seen as a factor of wealth, is now seen as a factor of education: those who have the opportunity to learn technology skills are in a better position to obtain and make use of technology than those who do not. Evolving occupations, multiple careers, and an increasingly mobile workforce contribute to this trend.
  • 11. 9Significant ChallengesA ny discussion of technology adoption must also and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, consider important constraints and challenges, the lack of formal training is being offset through and the advisory board drew deeply from professional development or informal learning, but we a careful analysis of current events, papers, are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This articles, and similar sources, as well as personal challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacyexperience, in detailing a long list of challenges schoolsface in adopting any new technology. The mostimportant of these are detailed below, but it was clearfrom the discussions with the experts that behind the Technology can and should supportchallenges listed here is also a pervasive sense thatlocal and organizational constraints are likely the most individual choices about access toimportant factors in any decision to adopt — or not toadopt — a given technology. materials and expertise, amountEven K-12 institutions that are eager to adopt new and type of educational content, andtechnologies may be constrained by school policies, thelack of necessary human resources, and the financial methods of teaching.wherewithal to realize their ideas. Still others are is less about tools and more about thinking, and thuslocated within buildings that simply were not designed skills and standards based on tools and platforms haveto provide the radio frequency transparency that proven to be somewhat ephemeral.wireless technologies require, and thus find themselvesshut out of many potential technology options. Whileacknowledging that local barriers to technologyadoptions are many and significant, the advisory board 2 K-12 must address the increased blending of formal and informal learning. Traditional lectures and subsequent testing are still dominant learningfocused its discussions on challenges that are common vehicles in schools. In order for students to get a well-to the K-12 community as a whole. The highest ranked rounded education with real world experience, theychallenges they identified are listed here, in the order in must also engage in more informal in-class activitieswhich the advisory board ranked them. as well as learning to learn outside the classroom. Most schools are not encouraging students to do any of this,1 Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every disciplineand profession, especially teaching. This challenge nor to experiment and take risks with their learning — but a new model, called the “flipped classroom,” is opening the door to new approaches. The flippedappears at the top of the list because despite the classroom uses the abundance of videos on the Internetwidespread agreement on the importance of digital to allow students to learn new concepts and materialmedia literacy, training in the supporting skills and outside of school, thus preserving class time fortechniques is still very rare in teacher education. As discussions, collaborations with classmates, problemclassroom professionals begin to realize that they are solving, and experimentation. The approach is not alimiting their students by not helping them to develop panacea, and designing an effective blended learning
  • 12. 10 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Editionmodel is key, but the growing success of the many non- familiar to students, and mentoring from communitytraditional alternatives to schools that are using more members are examples of practices that can bring theinformal approaches indicates that this trend is here to real world into the classroom. Practices like these maystay for some time. help retain students in school and prepare them for further education, careers, and citizenship in a way that3 The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or traditional practices are failing to do.practices. The increasing demand for education that iscustomized to each student’s unique needs is driving thedevelopment of new technologies that provide more 6 Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom and thus are not part of traditional learning metrics.learner choice and control and allow for differentiated Students can take advantage of learning materialinstruction, but there remains a gap between the vision online, through games and programs they may have onand the tools needed to achieve it. It has become clear systems at home, and through their extensive — andthat one-size-fits-all teaching methods are neither constantly available — social networks. The experienceseffective nor acceptable for today’s diverse students. that happen in and around these venues are difficultTechnology can and should support individual choices to tie back to the classroom, as they tend to happenabout access to materials and expertise, amount and serendipitously and in response to an immediate needtype of educational content, and methods of teaching. for knowledge, rather than being related to topics currently being studied in school.4 Institutional barriers present formidable challenges to moving forward in a constructiveway with emerging technologies. A key challenge These trends and challenges are a reflection of the impact of technology that is occurring in almost everyis the fundamental structure of the K-12 education aspect of our lives. They are indicative of the changingestablishment — aka “the system.” As long as nature of the way we communicate, access information,maintaining the basic elements of the existing system connect with peers and colleagues, learn, and evenremains the focus of efforts to support education, there socialize.will be resistance to any profound change in practice.Learners have increasing opportunities to take their Taken together, they provided the advisory board aeducation into their own hands, and options like frame through which to consider the potential impactsinformal education, online education, and home-based of nearly 50 emerging technologies and relatedlearning are attracting students away from traditional practices that were analyzed and discussed for possibleeducational settings. If the system is to remain relevant it inclusion in this edition of the NMC Horizon Report series.must adapt, but major change comes hard in education. Six of those were chosen through successive rounds ofToo often it is education’s own processes and practices ranking and have been identified as “Technologies tothat limit broader uptake of new technologies. Watch.” They each have been placed on one of three possible adoption horizon that span the coming five5 Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is undervaluedwhen it does take place. This challenge is an important years, and are detailed in the main body of the report, which in K-12 schools, because it can greatly impactthe engagement of students who are seeking someconnection between the world as they know it existsoutside of school, and their experiences in schoolthat are meant to prepare them for that world. Use ofproject-based learning practices that incorporate real-life experiences, technology and tools that are already
  • 13. 11Mobile Devices & AppsTime-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or LessM obile phones — distinct from new sorts children, mobile apps have redefined the way we of larger format mobile devices such as think about software itself. Sophisticated but simple tablets — have as a category proven more tools routinely sell for as little as 99 cents, or are even interesting and more capable with each free. It is easy and cheap to outfit a smartphone with passing year. Smartphones including the exactly the feature set you want, and many people areiPhone and Android have redefined what we mean bymobile computing, and in the past three to four years,the small, often simple, low cost software extensionsto these devices — apps — have become a hotbed In the U.S. alone, 61% of Americansof development. A popular app can see millions ofdownloads in a short time, and that potential market has age 12 and up own a mobilespawned a flood of creativity that is instantly apparentin the extensive collections available in the app stores. device, and 44% specifically own aApple’s app store recently passed 25 billion downloads —with 10 billion in just the last eight months — and simple smartphone.but useful apps have found their way into almost every even beginning to see the mobile platform as the mostform of human endeavor. The power of apps, coupled compelling home for one’s personal learning collectionwith the portability of mobile devices, is causing many of tools and resources. Both Apple and Google haveschools to take another look at their policies regarding developed extensive collections of apps, and addingmobile devices. Many see mobiles as a key aspect of Bring new tools and resources is as simple as it is inexpensive.Your Own Device (BYOD) environments. The best apps are tightly integrated with the capabilitiesOverview of the device itself, using location data, motionMobile devices have become one of the primary ways detection, gestures, access to social networks, and webthat youth interact with and learn from each other. search, to seamlessly create a full-featured experience.Edison Research reports that in the U.S. alone, 61% of As just one example, users are now able to not onlyAmericans age 12 and up own a mobile device, and 44% read an article foregrounded because of its relation tospecifically own a smartphone. In affluent areas, those the user’s location, but also to share it with their socialpercentages are even higher; it is extremely common networks, make comments, swipe over an image to seenow for children, at younger and younger ages, to own more, and store specific content to read at a later dateand comfortably use smartphones. Common Sense — all within a typical newspaper app.Media reports that 52% of children even under eight-years-old have access to mobile media, and of this In the last year, new additions to mobile operating systemsgroup, 11% spend an average of 43 minutes per day have made it easier for newspapers, periodicals, and otherspecifically with a mobile phone. subscription-based publications to migrate to mobile devices. Print and online publications, such as Time, Wired,At the same time that phones have become more or Mashable, provide users with new material on a regularcapable, and more pervasive among school-age basis, sometimes sending the user alerts when there is a
  • 14. 12 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition new edition, breaking news, or a story that is relevant to GPS and compasses allow sophisticated location and the user’s interests. Mobile apps designed for tablets have positioning, accelerometers and motion sensors enable given many traditional print-based publications a new the apps to be designed and used in completely new life, and new tools, such as iBook Author and iTunes U, ways, and digital capture and editing bring rich tools are making it very easy for anyone to create and publish for video, audio, and imaging. Mobile devices & apps media-rich interactive pieces. The newest version of encompass all this, and innovation in the mobile space iBook is optimized for viewing interactive textbooks, continues at an unprecedented pace. and e-readers for the Kindle and Android platforms are heading the same direction. At the same time, schools are relaxing their mobile policies and opening up new and creative opportunities for students to use their smartphones andAs the potential of mobile computing accompanying apps as learning tools. Forsyth County Schools in Georgia is one particularly good example ofis being demonstrated across an how schools can successfully open the door to students using their own devices, and they offer a collection ofever-growing list of K-12 education informative resources ( They have provided their teachers with professional developmentinstitutions, a successful shift from so they are able to use the devices themselves. Third grade students have made videos from their mobilesa traditional to a mobile environment and much of the student bodies have become experts in digital media creation — a 21st Century Skill of growingstill requires planning and research. importance. Students are engaged and feel empowered as creators of substance. At New Milford High School in New Jersey, students use their smartphones to The mobile app marketplace reflects an expanding access Poll Everywhere ( and answer world of resources that fits into the palm of a hand. questions from the teacher, who is then able to see While the adoption of apps has been especially everyone’s responses in real-time to gauge the class’ apparent in the consumer sector, there has also been a overall understanding of the material. great interest in apps that illustrate scientific and related concepts via tools that also have practical application. As the potential of mobile computing is being Apps that support learning are commonplace. Fun, demonstrated across an ever-growing list of K-12 easy-to-use tools can be found for budding chefs, education institutions, a successful shift from a astronomers, physicists, artists, musicians, book lovers, traditional to a mobile environment still requires and writers — and all of them are designed to go with planning and research. Osseo Area Schools in Minnesota you anywhere and to be available with a tap on a screen. deployed an organic strategy, where they first allowed The K-12 education sector is beginning to capitalize on student-owned devices in a few classrooms and this by integrating mobile apps into the curriculum and monitored the impact before transitioning to a school- revising their school policies to allow the use of mobile wide, and eventually a district-wide implementation. devices and by extension, mobile apps. One of the main attractions for incorporating mobiles Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or so prominently in the classroom is that apps used in Creative Inquiry tandem with class curriculum can help students better Mobile devices & apps embody the convergence of understand complex material. The new Khan Academy several technologies that lend themselves to educational app puts supplemental instructional videos, ranging from use, including annotation tools, applications for art history to linear equations, in the hands of students, creation and composition, and social networking tools. while the interactive “Aero!” app makes physics easier to
  • 15. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less 13grasp by focusing on the flight dynamics of an albatross. School in Michigan are using smartphones to drawApps with interactive components enable students to diagrams to help understand multiplication. Thelearn by doing, not just by listening to teacher lectures. early results are promising, showing that studentsThe “Elements” app has been the best example of this, are more engaged in the material, and teachers haveand a catalyst for the launch of similar apps. Students are noticed an improvement in student performance andable to explore elements from the periodic table by using attitude. touchscreen to rotate 3D images — an experiencethat mimics the act of physically holding the elements. > Research and Analysis. Richard S Fowler School in St.Similarly, the “Frog Dissection” app leads students through Albert, Alberta is using mobile devices to empowera virtual exploration of the frog anatomy — an alternative students to do research and data analysis for solvingfor schools without access to science laboratory complex problems, publish with multimedia,equipment, as well as for squeamish students. communicate with peers and experts, and work collaboratively. such as “Evernote” allow students to add video,photos, and more to their notes and readily share Mobile Devices & Apps in Practicethem with their peers. Students can store individual The following links provide examples of mobile devices &notebooks in the app, organized by subject, and easily apps in use in K-12 education settings:perform a search to find a specific term in their noteswhile they are studying at home. One freshman English Idaho Digital Learning Mobile Initiativeteacher from the Lodi Unified School District in California using “Edmodo” to post alerts to her students about Last spring, Idaho Digital Learning launched an initiativeassignments and keep track of homework submissions. that allows specific content within existing classes toStudents use it to turn in their assignments, share notes, be accessible through a mobile app and is creatingand check their grades. additional mobile accessible learning activities.The increasing availability of network access means The “Magic of Learning” via Smartphonethat the growing capabilities of mobiles are available more students in more locations each year. Schools The Girls’ Schools Association, representing most of thearound the world are investing in the infrastructure UK’s independent girls’ schools, is encouraging the usethat supports mobile access, sponsoring programs that of smartphones in the classroom, particularly as a meansprovide devices to students who do not already have of replacing traditional textbooks. They also believe it isthem, and designing class curriculum to incorporate important for students to be able to learn responsibleinteraction with smartphones and apps. use of the technology and improve their research skills.A sampling of applications of mobile devices & apps Metcalf Laboratory School: Apps in the Classroomacross disciplines includes the following: The teachers at Metcalf Laboratory School in Illinois> Language Arts. Hazeldale Elementary School are exploring the use of apps as classroom learning in Oregon uses the app “Toontastic” to learn tools. They built a website to share their reviews of pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Through specific apps and how they have integrated them into this app, students create their own animated stories components of their curriculum. Their findings cover a and watch replays of the scenes they have created, wide range of disciplines, from algebra to etymology. which helps them understand and correct any mistakes. Smartphones at Swiss Primary School> Mathematics. Third graders at Gobles Elementary At a Swiss primary school, 5th grade students are
  • 16. 14 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Editionequipped with smartphones and allowed to use the they connect to the school’s wireless network to use inInternet services at no charge. As a result, students have class. The school has also purchased a limited numberbecome more engaged in the content and their digital of devices to be available for students who do not haveliteracy has increased. their own. This article addresses the pros and cons of this strategy.For Further ReadingThe following articles and resources are recommended More American Students Use Personal Tech Devicesfor those who wish to learn more about mobile devices & in the Classroomapps: (Charles Atkeison, CNN, 11 August 2011.) Students using7 Myths About BYOD Debunked their own mobiles and devices in the classroom seen grade increases on assignments, as they are now(Lisa Neilsen, The Journal, 9 November 2011.) BYOD able to better understand learning material. The authorhas become a controversial subject. Some arguments cites specific examples of schools that are allowingagainst it are that BYOD deepens the digital divide or students to bring their own devices and includesthat it will cause students to be distracted. This article differing reactions from parents.confronts the current concerns and explains why theyare invalid. My Teacher Is an App Schools Encouraging Smartphones in the (Stephanie Banchero and Stephanie Simon, Wall StreetClassroom Journal, 12 November 2011.) This article explores more than ever, students are learning outside the(Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, 12 December 2011.) This classroom via mobile apps. The technology supportsarticle explores 10 schools that are creatively using and encourages informal learning, which, in turn, helpssmartphones in their classrooms. Uses range from students perform better in the classroom.interacting with educational apps and programs tosubmitting homework, to graphing and tracking Time to Repeal the Cellphone Ban, Students Sayscience experiments to performing “web quests.” (Schoolbook, The New York Times, 2 November 2011.)How Mobile Apps Are Changing Classrooms and This article examines mobiles in schools from the studentEducation perspective, citing that bans on cell phones an underestimation of students’ responsibility. Students(Piyush Mangukiya, Huffington Post, 3 February 2012.) are already using mobiles anyway, and incorporatingThis article describes how mobile apps are adding to them thoughtfully into school will only increase thethe in-classroom experience as well as extending the responsible and creative uses.classroom outside of the building. In the classroom,engagement is increased. Full course curriculums canbe published to platforms like iTunes U so that contentis available outside the classroom.In Some Cash-Strapped Schools, Kids Bring TheirOwn Tech Barseghian, MindShift, 3 February 2012.) MankatoPublic School System in Minnesota encourages studentsto bring any tech devices they own to school, which
  • 17. 15Tablet ComputingTime-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or LessI n the past two years, advances in tablets have success of the iPad (though 10% of South Koreans now captured the imagination of educators around the own the Galaxy Tab, according to Android Beats), but world. Led by the incredible success of the iPad, together, these companies have solidified tablets as the which in 2011-12 was selling at the rate of more new family of devices to watch. than 3 million units a month, other similar devicessuch as the Samsung Galaxy and Sony’s Tablet S have Immensely portable, tablets are already a significantalso begun to enter this rapidly growing market. In the distribution element for magazines and e-books. iOSprocess, the tablet (a form that is distinct from tablet 5 even includes a newsstand that allows easy access toPCs) has come to be viewed as not just a new category newspapers, magazines, and managing subscriptionsof mobile devices, but indeed a new technology in — with a mere touch. Even without extending theirits own right, one that blends features of laptops,smartphones, and earlier tablet computers withalways-connected Internet, and thousands of appswith which to personalize the experience. As these The device itself encouragesnew devices have become more used and understood,it is clear that they are independent and distinct from exploration of its capabilities,other mobile devices such as smartphones, e-readers,or tablet PCs. With significantly larger screens and something easily demonstratedricher gesture-based interfaces than their smartphonepredecessors, they are ideal tools for sharing content, by simply placing the device in thevideos, images, and presentations because theyare easy for anyone to use, visually compelling, and hands of a small child.highly portable. functionality via the full range of mobile apps, tablets serve as nicely sized video players with instant accessOverview to an enormous library of content; digital readers forLed by the category-defining phenomenon that is books, magazines, and newspapers; real-time two-waythe Apple iPad, tablets have earned their own listing video phones; easily sharable photo viewers and evenin the NMC Horizon Report series this year, completely cameras; fast, easy email and web browsers; and rich,distinct from mobiles. According to a recent study from full-featured game platforms — all in a slim, lightweight,Chitika, the iPad now accounts for more than 95% of all portable package that fits in a purse or briefcase —tablet-based web traffic in the U.S., and 88% of global but which significantly omits a traditional keyboard.tablet web traffic. Similar statistics show tablets are That design choice, and the implications it brings forincreasingly the device of choice for social networking interacting with the device, is a key reason that tabletsand reading news. The newest iPad, with its revamped are not a new kind of lightweight laptop, but rather aretina display and advanced HD camera, has added completely new computing device.even more capability to the platform. Competingmodels, including Kindle Fire, Sony’s S, Motorola’s Xoom When the iPad was introduced, it was described as a “leanand Samsung’s Galaxy Tab have not yet enjoyed the back” experience as contrasted to the “lean forward”
  • 18. 16 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition experience of typical computers. While second market hundreds of thousands of specialized apps are available and wireless keyboards are available for tablets, the real to extend the functionality of tablets. Apps for tablets innovation in these devices is in how they are used. A have many features in common with mobile apps, swipe, a tap, or a pinch allows the user to interact with such as seamless use of location awareness, network the device in completely new ways that are so intuitive connections, and other built-in sensors, but the larger and simple they require no manuals or instructions. The screen real estate allows for more detailed interfaces device itself encourages exploration of its capabilities, or viewing area. Also similar to smartphone apps, apps something easily demonstrated by simply placing the for tablets are inexpensive and very easy to add to the device in the hands of a small child. For times when a device, using the same tools and online stores. Relevance for Teaching, Learning, orRecent research indicates that Creative Inquiry Because of their portability, large display, andtablets, because they are designed touchscreen, tablets are ideal devices for one-to- one deployments. A number of schools are usingto easily share their screens, foster the devices to support and enhance inquiry-based learning, challenge-based learning, and other formskey 21st Century Skills in students, of active learning, and recent research indicates that tablets, because they are designed to easily shareincluding creativity, innovation, their screens, foster key 21st Century Skills in students, including creativity, innovation, communication, andcommunication, and collaboration. collaboration. As a result, more and more schools are choosing tablets as one-to-one devices. keyboard is needed, a custom-configured software keyboard appears, but the best-designed apps make Calgary Science School, for example, has been a one- little or no use of it. to-one school for the past five years. Last year, they introduced the iPad into their environment and have Screen technology has advanced to the point that found already that the device has enabled students to tablets are exceptionally effective at displaying visual become producers and creators, rather than passive content, such as photographs, books, and video; consumers, of content. The school is documenting similar advances in natural user interfaces have moved its iPad journey with the hopes that their findings tablets far beyond the point and click capabilities of will be beneficial to other educators embarking on touchscreens, and tablets are engaging and intuitive similar explorations ( Pleasant City devices to use. This combination of features is especially Elementary School in Florida is using the iPad as a vehicle enticing to educational institutions at all levels, and a to increase student performance by using iBooks and growing number of K-12 institutions are considering iBooks Author for content-driven, interactive lessons. tablets as a cost-effective alternative when planning Their goal is to create a library of e-books that gives a one-to-one deployment. In these and other group educators current and meaningful content that engages settings, their large screens — and the ease with which students in the subject matter ( the image automatically adjusts its orientation to the viewer — make it easy to share content. Tablets also have proven benefits for students with special needs. At Belle View Elementary School in Perhaps the most interesting aspect of tablets is that Virginia, the iPad has enabled autistic students to they owe their heritage not to the desktop, but to the better communicate with their teachers what they are mobile phone. Both iOS and Android-based tablets thinking and needing. At Auburn School in Maryland, are designed with the app model firmly in mind, and students with social and communication disabilities are
  • 19. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less 17sitting together, poring over content displayed on the > Physics. High school classes are using the iPad appiPad, making eye contact with one another. Students “Clinometer” to measure slope, object surfaces,can choose from a wide spectrum of apps and e-books, precise angles of incline and decline, and more. Thesuch as EngLit and the enhanced e-book for T.S. Elliot’s app uses the motion sensor of the iPad, which enables“The Wasteland,” ( that provide easy- students to guide the device to an equilibrium andto-comprehend notes on the text, video interviews with work on their balance skills. and scholars, and other reading aids. Tablet Computing in PracticeWhile tablet programs are still very new, a number of The following links provide examples of tabletmajor studies are underway or recently completed that computing in use in K-12 education settings:look to measure their outcomes, and many are movingquickly to share results — this bodes well for continued Archbishop Mitty High School’s iPad Programfurther adoptions. One such group is iPads for Education, in Australia ( They are compiling Named an Apple Distinguished School, Archbishopresources, first-hand accounts from educators, app Mitty High School in California launched an iPadreviews, case studies, and more that document the results program in which students are graphing quadraticof using the iPad for a wide variety of applications. Overall, equations and parabolic functions in their mathematicsthe outcomes are very positive, including increased classes, exploring interactive maps in their social studiesstudent engagement and sense of leadership, and better classes, creating presentations, and performing a wideteamwork and communication. Still to be adequately variety of other tasks across multiple disciplines.documented in K-12 are other potential uses of tablets,including the replacement of print textbooks with iPad for Autistic Kidse-books, the wide use of specialized apps, the expanded of the devices’ built-in sensors, GPS, gesture interface, In South Africa, the Key School for Specialised Educationcameras, video and audio tools, and more. is using the iPad to help autistic students with their communication skills. The iPad is easier to use thanA sampling of tablet computing applications across traditional computers because it can be manipulateddisciplines includes the following: via touch to give the students immediate feedback. Nonverbal students have been more interactive,> Literature. One elementary school teacher is using communicating through pictures or repeating words the iPad to update traditional student literature pronounced by the iPad. circles and make them more effective. Using a variety of features and apps, including “Edmodo” Ringwood North Primary’s CBL Project and “GoodReader,” he has access to group member contributions, and with iBooks, students are able As part of Apple’s global “Challenge Based Learning” to share notes, annotate, and bookmark multiple program, 5th and 6th grade students at Ringwood passages to refer to later. North Primary School in Melbourne, Australia used one-to-one iPad devices to research areas hit by natural> Mathematics. A third grade teacher at Millstone disasters and the issues those communities faced. From Elementary School in New Jersey is using the “Math there, they planned out and implemented solutions to Bingo” app to help students master math concepts help the communities recover. through gaming. Students receive immediate feedback when they make an incorrect answer and SVSD iPad Pilot are rewarded when they pass through various levels. Snoqualmie Valley School District in Washington embarked on an iPad pilot program to identify teacher
  • 20. 18 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Editionand student training needs, understand how the iPad iPads: What are We Learning? (PDF)can enhance student learning and achievement, and avenues for teachers to network and share best (Government of Alberta, 3 October 2011.) Albertapractices on integrating the device into the curriculum. Education hosted an event for school authorities that are exploring the use of iPads in schools, which resultedYouth LINKS in a report that covers subjects including engagement and enhanced student assessment.Global Nomad Group’s exchange program Youth LINKSis using tablets to reach a wider audience in Kabul, Math That Moves: Schools Embrace the iPadAfghanistan and across the United States. Youth LINKS a year-long program connecting six schools in the US (Winnie Hu, The New York Times, 4 January 2011.) Roslynwith six schools in Afghanistan via videoconferencing High School on Long Island handed out 47 iPads toand online platforms. The program can be extended to students and teachers in two humanities classes for aany place that has a wireless signal. pilot program in which iPads replace textbooks, allow students to correspond with teachers, turn in papersFor Further Reading and homework assignments, and preserve a record ofThe following articles and resources are recommended student work in digital portfolios. The school sees thefor those who wish to learn more about tablet investment as one that will pay for itself by cuttingcomputing: future costs in printing and textbook costs.6 Reasons Tablets are Ready for the Classroom Six Examples of iPad Integration in the 1:1 Madan, Mashable, 16 May 2011.) This article (Andrew Marcinek, Edutopia, 24 April 2012.) In thisexplores the applications of tablet computers in article, an instructional technologist at Burlingtoneducation, based on reports from classrooms that have High School in Massachusetts explains why iPads haveparticipated in pilot studies, citing that iPads fit with become invaluable. He describes how six differentstudents’ current lifestyles. teachers at his high school are using the devices to engage students across a variety of disciplines.Educators Evaluate Learning Benefits of Quillen, Education Week, 15 June 2011.) This articlediscusses the use of iPad devices as learning tools, anddelves into the ongoing discourse about whether theyare more viable for one-to-one solutions or as part of agroup of shared devices.Intel Releases Rugged Education Tablet for theDeveloping Smith, GottaBe Mobile, 10 April 2012.) Intel hascreated a tablet called Intel Studybook that is made tobe resistant to water and dust, as well as being moredurable when dropped. This looks like a great optionfor mobile labs in which students take tablets out withthem for field research.
  • 21. 19Game-Based LearningTime-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three YearsG ame-based learning refers to the integration more than a decade of solid exploration completed, it of games or gaming mechanics into is clear that when applied properly, games can yield educational experiences. This topic has gained powerful outcomes — a concept now recognized at the considerable traction over the past decade as highest levels of education policy. In the most recent games have proven to be effective learning National Education Technology Plan, gaming was namedtools, and beneficial in cognitive development andthe fostering of soft skills among students, such ascollaboration, communication, problem-solving, andcritical thinking. The forms of games grow increasingly Despite steady interest fromdiverse and some of the most commonly used foreducational purposes include alternate reality games educators, game-based learning has(ARG), massively multiplayer online games (MMO),and global social awareness games. Most games that been tantalizingly just out of reachare currently used for learning across a wide rangeof disciplines share similar qualities: they are goal- for the K-12 mainstream.oriented; have strong social components; and simulate as an ideal method of assessing student knowledgesome sort of real world experience that students comprehension, citing the ability of games to providefind relevant to their lives. As game-based learning immediate performance feedback to the players.garners more attention in academia, developers are Students are engaged because they are motivated toresponding with games expressly designed to support do better, to get to the next level, and ultimately, toimmersive, experiential learning. succeed. Proponents also underscore the productive role of play, which allows for experimentation, theOverview exploration of identities, and even failure.Despite steady interest from educators, game-basedlearning has been tantalizingly just out of reach for In recent years, the Serious Games movement hasthe K-12 mainstream, and again appears on the mid- focused on uniting significant educational contentterm horizon, still two to three years away. This may with play. The games within this genre layer socialbe because a compelling supporting technology or issues or problems with game play, helping playersconcrete set of tools has not emerged that schools gain a new perspective through active engagement.can broadly use to bring game-based learning to life, Research shows that players readily connect withalthough tablets may open that door more broadly. For learning material when doing so will help them achievemuch of the last decade, the integration of game-based personally meaningful goals.learning into K-12 classes has usually been the workof one or a small group of motivated educators who Perhaps the most popular games at the K-12 level comeincorporate elements of gaming into lesson plans. in app form. This is especially true as an increasing number of schools invest in one or more key enablingNonetheless, the rationale for using games for learning technologies — mobiles or tablets, for example, wherecontinues to resonate with many educators. With now games are the most downloaded genre of apps, followed
  • 22. 20 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition closely by news, maps, and social networking. For April soft skills schools strive for students to acquire: 2012, four of the top five most downloaded apps in collaboration, problem solving, communication, critical the iTunes store were games. Educational games like thinking, and digital literacy. What makes educational “Dabble,” the fast-thinking word game, and “Move the gaming appealing today is the plethora of genres Turtle,” a game for young and aspiring programmers, are and applications associated with it. From role-playing used both inside and outside of the classroom. games that enable students to experience the world from someone else’s eyes, to online social games that Over the past couple years, there has also been more present real world problems and raise global awareness, traction surrounding massively multiplayer online to the incorporation of game design in computer (MMO) games. Online games including “Minecraft” science classes, game mechanics can be integrated on many different levels in K-12 curriculum.From role-playing games that enable While most games contain a clear reward system for players (moving up a level, receiving badges or points,students to experience the world etc.), what may be most appealing to educators is that games provide students a safe place to learn fromfrom someone else’s eyes, to online failure. In games, exploration is inherent and there are generally no high-stakes consequences. Childrensocial games that present real are able to experiment and take risks to find solutions without the feeling that they are doing somethingworld problems and raise global wrong. Games encourage students to make and learn from mistakes, which is a particularly important conceptawareness, to the incorporation of in the K-12 design in computer science For schools that are daunted by the notion of starting from scratch to incorporate game-based learning, thereclasses, game mechanics can be are a growing number of organizations that are helping with this process. Creative Academies, for example,integrated on many different levels in works with schools to focus content and curriculum around game development. They work with students toK-12 curriculum. develop simulations and animations for the grade levels below them ( EdGE is another such ( and “World of Warcraft” have been organization, devoted to research and game design at integrated into course curriculum, with educators the K-12 level ( Game design in itself and educational technology writers frequently is recognized as a successful way of engaging students documenting their stories and outcomes. MMOs bring with specific content by allowing them to creatively many players together to work on activities that require design their own games or activities to reach a specific collaborative problem solving. They are complex, and learning outcome. include solo and group content, as well as goals that tie to a storyline or theme. Their link to education exists Games related specifically to course content help in the highest levels of interaction in which game-play students gain a fresh perspective on material and requires teamwork, leadership, and discovery. can potentially engage them in that content in more complex and nuanced ways. Alternate reality games Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or (ARGs), in which players find clues and solve puzzles in Creative Inquiry experiences that blur the boundary between the game Game-based learning reflects a number of important and real life, are one way that course content and game
  • 23. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years 21play can overlap. “Statecraft X” is one such example, in the role of apprentice chemists. The curriculum inaddressing the principles of governance in a high the game adheres to the performance–play–dialogschool social studies curriculum. Students learn political model of design for game-based learning. Studentsand leadership skills as they are assigned the role of learn through inquiry. in a medieval kingdom, where they have toovercome many challenges in order to develop and > Humanities. “Minecraft” is used in the humanitiessustain a viable and thriving kingdom. In the process, program at Yokohama International School in Japan,they also learn the relationship between citizenship and primarily as an engaging way for sixth and seventhgovernance ( grade students to collaborate on models of buildings and explore simulated natural and man-madeOpen-ended, challenge-based, truly collaborative environments. The game is incorporated into thegames are an emerging category of games that prepare units Early Humans, Earth and Man, Early Civilizations,K-12 students for their continued education and the and the Renaissance — all of which emphasizeworkforce. Games like these, which occur both onlineand in non-digital forms, can draw on skills for research,writing, collaboration, problem solving, public speaking,leadership, digital literacy, and media making. When Perhaps the most popular games atembedded in the curriculum, they offer a path into thematerial that allows students to learn how to learn along the K-12 level come in app form.with mastering the subject matter. Such games require fundamental architectural and civic structures andstudents to discover and construct knowledge in order the interaction between humans and the naturalto solve problems. They are challenging to design well, environment. the results can be transformative. > Social Studies. Third graders at HTS IndependentThe challenge that persists with educational games School in Ontario, Canada, are using the SimCity iPad— a good indicator of why they still reside on the mid- game to learn about the similarities and differencesterm horizon — is embedding traditional educational between rural and urban communities. They arecontent so that it looks and feels like a natural part of building their own cities from the ground up andplaying the game. Faculty members may find it difficult figuring out how to keep residents satisfied in theto make pronounced connections between specific process, facing issues such as natural disasters,course content and the gaming objectives. What is transportation, and residential taxes., however, is that these games spark interest instudents to expand their learning outside of the game. Game-Based Learning in PracticeDigital and communication literacy goes hand in hand The following links provide examples of game-basedwith game play, which is why it continues to be of great learning in use in K-12 education settings:interest to educators. Catalysts for ChangeA sampling of applications of game-based learning disciplines includes the following: The Institute for the Future and the Rockefeller Foundation teamed up to create “Catalysts for Change,”> Chemistry. Developed by the Learning Sciences Lab a game where players must plan and implement ways at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, to alleviate world poverty. The game invites players the “Legends of Alkhimia” video game supports to share their own ideas or to build upon more than the chemistry curriculum for middle school and 600 ideas that have been brainstormed by non-profit high school students. Students learn the subject by groups from all over the globe. Renowned game master performing chemistry experiments, while positioned Jane McGonigal helped design the game platform.
  • 24. 22 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 EditionDesign Corps for those who wish to learn more about learning:The Learning Games Network, in partnership with theState of Kentucky Department of Education, launched Games and Learning: Teaching as DesigningDesign Corps as a project-based alternative to motivate inspire learning and deeper understanding of (James Gee, The Huffington Post, 21 April 2011.) Jamessubjects and topics across the curriculum. They have Gee builds a case for games as catalysts for morecreated a game design tool kit that reinforces important interaction, creativity, and critical thinking in learning.elements of research, documentation, communication, He likens gamers to designers as they must understandand collaboration with teachers as students develop the “rule system” to be Kids and Video Games: Why Children Should PlayGame Designs Online World Learning created an online course that brings (Scott Steinberg, Venture Beat, 13 March 2012.) Thistogether educational experts, gaming professionals and article highlights aspects of gaming, such as interactivityyoung learners over 10 weeks to learn to design and and creativity. Many gaming scenarios require strategicproduce computer games. A weekly videoconference thinking, interpretative analysis, plan formulation, andprovides instruction for students alongside an the ability to respond to change.asynchronous web space to set tasks, store learningresources and promote student discussion. Each week A Neurologist Makes the Case for the Video Gamecovers a separate element of game design, and a Model as a Learning Tooldifferent industry expert joins each session. (Judy Willis, Edutopia, 14 April 2011.) The neurologistMeet the Earthwork Builders author of this article equates the success of learning with the release of dopamine, a physiologicalFunded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, response to a prosperous choice or action, and outlinesa team of content specialists and game developers is the phases of this natural learning process.making a video game prototype about the NewarkEarthworks, an ancient lunar observatory in Newark, New Learners of the 21st Century: Dr. James GeeOhio. Through the game, players will learn about the (Video)lunar observatory and gain a more global understanding different cultures. (PBS, 13 February 2011.) In this interview with educational gaming expert James Gee, he discussesNational STEM Video Game Challenge how gaming environments stimulate problem solving and innovation. He breaks down theAs a component of President Obama’s initiative to structure of games, asserting that all good games arepromote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, just sets of problems that must be solved by learningEngineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National something new or applying what one has just learned.STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competitionwhose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning The Only Game in Townamong America’s youth by tapping into students’ passion for playing and making video games. (Alex Ross, The Varsity, 18 March 2012.) This article discusses the potential of augmented reality gamesFor Further Reading that allow the player to interact within a narrative. DavidThe following articles and resources are recommended Fono, lead designer for the upcoming Toronto-based
  • 25. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years 23augmented reality game, ZED.TO, is focusing on thestorytelling possibilities.Student-Created Video Games Enter Science Roland, MindShift, 2 April 2012.) Many schoolsare participating in Globaloria, a U.S. program thatenables K-12 students to design educational gameswith global and social relevance. This article citesseveral success stories and discusses how the gamingactivities have improved soft skills in students, includingcollaboration and self-directed learning. What may be most appealing to educators is that games provide students a safe place to learn from failure. In games, exploration is inherent and there are generally no high-stakes consequences.
  • 26. 24 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 EditionPersonal Learning EnvironmentsTime-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three YearsP ersonal learning environments (PLEs) support can access everything. On the other hand, PLEs are self-directed and group-based learning, described as more about personalizing the environment designed around each user’s goals, with great and experiences at an individual level. capacity for flexibility and customization. The term has been evolving for some time, but has The underlying technologies needed to constructcrystallized around the personal collections of tools a personal learning environment are relativelyand resources a person assembles to support their own straightforward and readily available now. For example,learning — both formal and informal. The conceptual a person’s smartphone or tablet and the growingbasis for PLEs has shifted significantly in the last year, collection of apps they have chosen to downloadas smartphones, tablets, and apps have begun to directly represents their assortment of interests. Withemerge as a compelling alternative to browser-based hundreds of thousands of apps available in multiplePLEs and e-portfolios. Along with that, there has marketplaces, it is easy to see how no two people sharebeen a corresponding move away from centralized, the exact same set of apps. Everyone has distinctiveserver-based solutions to distributed and portable preferences and approaches learning and explorationones. Using a growing set of free and simple tools and differently. This is the basic premise of personal learningapplications, such as a collection of apps on a tablet, environments. Many educators now believe that theit is already quite easy to support one’s ongoing ways we learn informally can, and even should, informsocial, professional, learning and other activities with the experiences we create at school.a handy collection of resources and tools that arealways with you. While the concept of PLEs is still fairly Though effective personal learning environmentsfluid, it is clear that a PLE is not simply a technology center around the learner and not the technology,but an approach or process that is individualized by personal learning environments draw significantly ondesign, and thus different from person to person. enabling technologies and tools. Cloud computing, for example, allows users to easily store the contentOverview they want, and cloud-based productivity tools such asPLEs serve a dual purpose: They enable students to Google Apps and WikiSpaces enable them to share theirdetermine the style and pace at which they learn content with others, gather new and relevant items,while exposing them to technologies that they may write personal commentary, complete assignments,not otherwise encounter in traditional classroom and more. YouTube, iTunes U, Facebook, and othersettings that will help prepare them for university and social media and open content platforms provide usersthe workforce. Though PLEs often emerge in the same with an outlet to discover new content and disseminateconversations as learning management systems, there their own. Using a mobile device or tablet as the homeis a distinct and sometimes overlooked difference for a PLE is a natural and intuitive approach that makesbetween the two. Learning management systems by it both easy to access and portable.nature are more about the ephemera of learning thanthe actual learning itself; it is the gathering of course The essential idea behind personal learningcalendars, assignments, and all other relevant content environments is that students are put in charge of thein a single place where both students and teachers learning process, with a focus on how they can support
  • 27. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years 25their own needs and preferences. The goal is to give the Despite the fact that there is a range of easy-to-usestudent permission to make their learning as effective tools that could be used to construct personal learningand efficient as possible. environments, the emerging focus on helping students assess and select tools is still somewhat nascent. In theRelevance for Teaching, Learning, or 2011 edition of this report, PLEs were placed on the far-Creative Inquiry term horizon because they were still in the conceptualIn concept, personal learning environments would development phase. In the past year, however, withencourage students to approach learning in ways the growing interest in smartphones and tablets, PLEsbest suited to their individual needs. Visual learners, have gotten a conceptual “reboot” that now sees afor example, might be able to obtain material from adifferent source than auditory learners. Students usingPLEs may further benefit from the practice of keeping While the concept of PLEs is stilltrack of, and curating, their own resource collections.Personal learning environments are seen as a way to shift fairly fluid, it is clear that a PLE is notthe control over learning — particularly its pace, style,and direction — to the learner. When building their own simply a technology but an approachenvironments and collections of resources, students arelearning new research and content aggregation tactics, or process that is individualizedperhaps without even knowing it.Many software and service providers are looking to by design, and thus different frombecome the next generation portals for personallearning. Schools experimenting with PLEs have turned person to Symbaloo (, Netvibes (go.nmc. distributed model as both practical and promising —org/netvi), Diigo (, and Cengage (go. and as such, the topic moved to the mid-term for simple dashboard solutions, or as it becomes more clear how schools might approachplaces to tag, store, and share content. Teachers can post implementation.predetermined lessons with educational componentschosen by the student, and reflective of their interests. A sampling of applications of personal learningProviders such as the newly launched Junyo (go.nmc. environments across disciplines includes the following:org/junyo) integrate analytics to measure studentlearning across many different platforms and learning > Literature. In a fifth grade class at Springsideenvironments. Chestnut Hill Academy in Pennsylvania, students are responsible for creating their own Wiki pages. TheyIt remains unclear if these sorts of centralized tools add content developed in Google Docs to videos,will remain part of the evolution of personal learning podcasts, web links, photos, and other materialsenvironments. Some see PLEs merging with digital gathered from the web. to provide a record of their learning thatstudents can carry with them as they move through > Professional Development. The University of Floridathe various stages of their educational pursuits. This College of Education offers a free, open course for anynotion places the focus of PLEs on carving out a long- educators that want to explore how personal learningterm identity for each student that may ultimately help environments impact inquiry in K-12 education. Itthem get into colleges and universities and provide offers a repository of resources and an area whereprospective employers with extensive personal insight, teachers chronicle their classroom experiences ina change that many feel is a move away from the basic implementing PLEs. of the approach.
  • 28. 26 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition> Science. Scitable is a free science library and personal The PLAYground learning tool that allows students to explore subjects including genetics, science communication, and The PLAYground is an online platform for the curation, career planning. Students can ask experts questions, creation and circulation of user-generated learning join discussions, and get help with concepts they do activities that encourages children and adults to not understand. Teachers have access to a network of learn and teach each other. It is designed to cultivate resources to build their own online science classroom and promote learning activities centered on the idea for their students. of a challenge. Each challenge synthesizes a hands- on learning activity and encourages participants toPersonal Learning Environments in collaborate, remix, and disseminate information.PracticeThe following links provide examples of personal Shared Learning Collaborativelearning environments in use in K-12 education settings: This project is developing a common data layer andGooru encouraging independent software vendors to personalized learning applications for five pilot states.Gooru is a STEM education research, search, and In the process, the project is establishing common wayscuration portal that relies on crowd sourcing and to exchange education data among systems and feedcollective intelligence. A team of educators is tagging information to students, teachers, administrators andcurated teaching resources at the conceptual level. They education scientists.identify factually correct, image rich web content thatcan aid students and teachers when they are learning Trail Shuttleabout a specific subject, such as velocity. Developed in Singapore, Trail Shuttle is a self-directedThe Learning Hub learning platform that uses technology to students to build their own learning programs. A web-At Yokohama International School in Japan, each based tool kit helps students create their programs, astudent has their own blog that develops into their mobile app lets them explore and experience thoseelectronic portfolio and personal learning environment. programs from wherever they are, and a monitoringStudents use a wide variety of web-based tools to app allows teachers to track student progress.connect, collaborate, create, and share with both localand global audiences. For Further Reading The following articles and resources are recommendedLTISD Learning Portal for those who wish to learn more about learning environments.In Texas, Lake Travis Independent School Districtstudents have 24/7 access to a web-based learning 5 Video Case Studies of E-portfolio Implementationenvironment from school, home, and their mobile + an Implementation Toolkitdevices. Online textbooks, digital supplemental, subscription research services, and teacher (Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Educationnotes, presentations, and simulation tools are organized Resources, 3 April 2012.) JISC has created an e-portfolioin the portal. The system was built so that thousands of implementation toolkit based on 12 UK, four Australian,students can access content on demand, at their own and three New Zealand institutions that documentedpace. their experiences of using e-portfolios in various courses. There are also videos of five UK universities to serve as examples.
  • 29. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years 27Happly For iPad Helps Curious Kids Discover This Time It’s PersonalThe Web…Safely (Jennifer Demski, The Journal, 4 January 2012.) This(Sarah Perez, Tech Crunch, 17 April 2012.) This article article emphasizes the crucial role of changing theexplores the new iPad app “Happly,” a collection of current classroom infrastructure to make it moreoriginal and curated content for kids, including online student-centered in order to incorporate technologyvideos, games, and stories. The app focuses on subjects in a transformative way. The author states thatthat children deem fun (dinosaurs, outer space, etc.) and incorporating new technological tools into outdatedintegrates educational features and information. teacher-centered structures will not be effective.Preparing Students to Learn Without Richardson, ASCD Educational Leadership, February2012.) This article emphasizes how teaching can begeared toward the specific interests of each individualstudent, making topics more relevant and interesting.As our culture moves toward customization of gadgets, Many educators now believe that theplaylists, and search results that reflect each individual’staste, many education models are becoming more ways we learn informally can, andindividually focused. even should, inform the experiencesStudents Want Personalized Learning, MobileTechnology we create at Devaney, eSchool News, 26 April 2012.) A recentstudy facilitated by Project Tomorrow shows students’and parents’ approval of in-class mobile devices tosupport more personalized learning experiences. Thisarticle provides specific examples of how students areusing technology to learn new concepts, including viasocial media platforms.TED’s New Site Turns Any YouTube Video Into Kessler, Mashable, 25 April 2012.) TED’s newonline “flip it” tool allows users to take any YouTubevideo, add supplemental content and resources, andtrack participation and responses to create a completelesson, which has direct implications for personalizedlearning. This article includes images depicting anexample of a finished video lesson.
  • 30. 28 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 EditionAugmented RealityTime-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five YearsA ugmented reality (AR), a capability that has in 2008, and now many AR applications and tools for been around for some time, is shifting from mobiles are on the market. what once required rooms of equipment to a set of simple-to-use tools with tremendous Augmented reality applications can either be marker- potential. The layering of information based, which means that the camera must perceiveover 3D space produces a new experience of the a specific visual cue in order for the software to callworld, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” up the correct information, or markerless. Markerlessbringing with it new expectations regarding access applications use positional data, such as a mobile’s GPSto information and new opportunities for learning. and compass, or image recognition, where input to theWhile the most prevalent uses of augmented camera is compared against a library of images to find areality so far have been in the consumer sector match. Markerless applications have wider applicability(for marketing, social engagement, amusement, since they function anywhere without the need foror location-based information), new uses seem special labeling or supplemental reference points. Layarto emerge almost daily, as tools for creating new ( has been a leader in this spaceapplications become even easier to use. A key with augmented reality applications for the Androidcharacteristic of augmented reality is its ability and iPhone platforms. Layar Vision is a markerlessto respond to user input. This interactivity confers application of AR that makes it easy to develop appssignificant potential for learning and assessment; that can recognize real world objects and overlaywith it, students can construct new understanding information on top of them.based on interactions with virtual objects thatbring underlying data to life. In the commercial and entertainment sectors, augmented reality has been used so effectively, it is oftenOverview not even noticed by the casual observer. For example,The concept of blending — or augmenting — what the floating yellow line that appears in telecasts ofwe see in the real world with related information, American football games is an AR application thatdata, media, and even live action is a powerful one. represents where a team must drive to reach a “firstAugmented reality aims to do just that as a means to down.” Games were quick to integrate the technology,enhance the information we can perceive with our and early examples such as Halo and Rainbow Six madesenses. The first modern application of augmented the presentation of “heads up” data commonplace. Inreality was when a cinematographer developed a both of these examples, most observers see the addedsimulator in the early 1960s that incorporated visuals, information as simply part of the experience.smells, and vibrations. By the 1990s, augmented realitywas being put to use by a number of major companies Today, advancements both in AR technology and mobilefor visualization, training, and other purposes. Now, capabilities are increasingly driving this technologythe technologies that make AR possible are powerful into the handheld space. The cameras and screens inand compact enough to deliver augmented reality smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices nowexperiences to personal computers — and even mobile serve as uniquely convenient tools to combine realdevices. Early mobile applications began to appear world data with virtual data. Sensor-based AR uses GPS
  • 31. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years 29capability, image recognition, and the devices’ built- to user input. Dynamic processes, extensive datasets,in compasses to pinpoint where a mobile device is on and objects too large or too small to be manipulatedthe planet and where its camera is pointing, and then can be brought into a student’s personal space at ause that information to overlay relevant facts, data, or scale and in a form easy to understand and work with.visuals at appropriate points on the screen. Students find connections between their lives and their education through the addition of a contextual layer.While augmented reality has appeared in severalprevious editions of the NMC Horizon Report, always onthe mid- or far-term horizon, what makes it fresh this The layering of information over 3Dyear is the announcement of Google’s Project Glass ( Up until this point, many augmented space produces a new experiencereality products and services relied on webcams andsmartphone cameras to layer information over images.In the case of Project Glass, users actually wear the of the world, sometimes referred todevice; information, entertainment, and a variety ofcontent are layered directly into their line of vision. Since as “blended reality,” bringing with itGoogle’s announcement, a growing list of companies isstepping up to compete with similar products of their new expectations regarding accessown. The popular sportswear line Oakley, for example, isalready planning the release of its own heads-up display to information and new opportunitiestechnology, designed especially to aid athletes. for learning.The most common uses of augmented reality currently The ability to transfer learning from one context toare in entertainment and marketing, but schools another is a significant skill, one that AR can facilitate inare likely to follow as the technology matures and its overt use of context and layering.becomes even more simplified. Museum and culturalorganizations are the first of the learning sectors to AR that relies on mobile devices leverages an increasinglyfrequently and effectively use augmented reality, ubiquitous tool that is blurring the boundaries betweenand the lessons learned there are easily applicable to formal and informal learning. Indeed, the potentialschools. For example, a groundbreaking project by for just-in-time learning and exploration is a deeplythe City of Philadelphia Department of Public Records compelling aspect of this technology.has used sensor-based augmented reality as a wayto showcase some 93,000 historic photographs from Augmented reality has strong potential to providethe city’s archives. Working with geographic services powerful, contextual, in situ learning experiencescompany, Azavea, they mapped the entire PhillyHistory and serendipitous exploration and discovery of thecollection. connected nature of information in the real world. One of the easiest ways to visualize that potential is the easeRelevance for Teaching, Learning, or with which it can make invisible things visible, suchCreative Inquiry as the X-ray pictures or the preparatory drawings of aOne of the most promising aspects of augmented reality centuries-old painting, or to restore things to a previousis that it can be used for visual and highly interactive state, such as illustrating the way the Berlin Wallforms of learning, allowing the overlay of data onto appeared before it was torn down. Most of the activitythe real world. Augmented reality is an active, not a happening in this area is taking place in universities andpassive technology; students can use it to construct at museums, but the work going on there can easilynew understanding based on interactions with virtual be transferred to K-12 settings. Museums commonlyobjects that bring underlying data to life as it responds use simple AR tools to provide straightforward, yet
  • 32. 30 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition engaging visuals and facts that are “layered” over objects > STEM. At Super School University, an afterschool or physical settings when viewed through phones or program, teachers and students from 34 countries are tablets. Providing students layered information about a working as backpack journalists and scientists, using historical object is a simple approach to giving students the uninhabited island of Santa Luzia, Cape Verde for a deeper learning experience. a virtual collaborative STEM project. Custom software has been created for the project websites, computers, Augmented reality first appeared in the 2010 edition of and mobile devices. this report, also on the far-term horizon, which signifies Augmented Reality in Practice The following links provide examples of augmentedOne of the most promising aspects reality in use that have direct implications for K-12 settings.of augmented reality is that it can be Augmented Reality for Special Educationused for visual and highly interactive This wiki was launched to explore the applications offorms of learning, allowing the augmented reality for special education, specifically for deaf and blind students. Augmented realityoverlay of data onto the real world. glasses, for instance, have potential to serve as speech recognition aids to display text as others are talking, the technology’s lack of movement in the K-12 sector. It allowing freedom for a deaf individual to attend still remains a consumer-driven technology with limited speaking engagements without a sign language research and use case examples specifically occurring in interpreter. schools. BuildAR A sampling of applications of augmented reality across disciplines includes the following: BuildAR is a Layar-based augmented reality platform that allows people — even without development > Art History. San Diego’s School in the Park developed experience — to create and host mobile augmented an augmented reality experience for its students reality content online. Student-created content can be built around a Chinese folktale. The activity required enhanced with augmented reality in creative ways. students to work through academic problems associated with the materials found in the San Diego The Earthquake AR Project Museum of Art’s Asian Art Exhibit. At each step, the students interact with the items through a handheld The Earthquake AR project was started in response to computer that triggers a geographic location using the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Layar technology. The project is exploring how mobile augmented reality can reveal data sets that would be helpful in the > Reading. “Letters Alive” is a supplemental reading reconstruction of a demolished building. program utilizing augmented reality to teach children ages 4-8 how to read. Animal and vocabulary cards Getting Learning out of the Classroom with are placed under a 3Cam document camera to Augmented Reality build sentences and display 3D like animations. This technology is leveraged to teach early literacy skills One educator is exploring ways students can learn and using research based best practices. interpret their surroundings using two free GPS-enabled apps that allow users to attach audio recordings and
  • 33. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years 31other information to a particular place in order to interactive storytelling through the use of augmentedaugment reality. reality. Educators do not require any programming experience to start building their own games, specificLearnAR to their is an augmented reality resource that makes Augmented Reality for Chemists (Video)use of a digital, video, or web camera to display virtual layered over real world content. For example, (Art Olson, Chemical & Engineering News, 19 Septemberto learn how the body works, major organs of the 2011.) This video makes augmented reality easier tobody are displayed on screen when the user points his understand by demonstrating how it is built, using awebcam toward another person’s chest. Students from webcam to track all the possible motions of a 3D modelsubscribing schools can print out AR markers that then of a chemical.can display intricate 3D models for further examination. Google’s ‘Project Glass’ Augmented Reality GlassesWho Do You Think You Really Are? Are Real And In London Natural History Museum developed (Chris Velazco, Tech Crunch, 4 April 2012.) Google hasan interactive dinosaur film optimized for tablets revealed its augmented reality glasses model thatthat incorporates gesture-based manipulation and will allow the user to do things like snap a photo onaugmented reality, where extinct creatures appear to command, send a text by voicing it, and display theroam the Attenborough Studio space. location of nearby friends. But the author of this article notes that it may be a while before we see these inFor Further Reading public.The following articles and resources are recommendedfor those who wish to learn more about augmented An Open Letter to Augmented Realityreality. (Clark Dever, Wired UK, 13 February 2012.) This letter21st Century Lessons with Mobile Augmented asserts a different perspective about the path thatReality (Video) augmented reality has taken. The writer believes there have not been adequate advancements in the(K12 Mobile Learning, 26 May 2011.) Mobile AR tools technology given the level of buzz it has garnered.are a convenient way to augment classroom resources He urges augmented reality developers to leveragein a way that allows students to use their devices for cloud-connect experiences and drop the notion ofdiscovering new or hidden content. This video displays smartphone cameras and webcams as the sole lookinghow simple it can be to attach videos to handwritten glasses for augmented reality.text, creating a lively experience with paper, a pen, anda mobile device. TEDxYouth: Marko Todorovic on AR Reality: Coming Soon to a School Near (Marko Todorovic, TED, 8 December 2011.) MarkoYou? Todorovic of Live View Studio discusses demonstrates benefits and applications of augmented(Sarah Jackson, MindShift, 20 April 2012.) Because reality to connect youth with educational content.the number of people who own a mobile device has Books and other objects become interactive whendrastically increased in the past five years, AR programs hidden information is displayed through a smartphoneare more readily available. This article explores ARIS, an or other digital source mobile learning platform that facilitates
  • 34. 32 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 EditionNatural User InterfacesTime-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five YearsI t is already common to interact with a new class Over the past few years, gaming systems have of devices entirely by using natural movements increasingly incorporated new gesture-based and gestures. The iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, technology. Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii, for example, Xbox Kinect, Nintendo Wii, the new class of continue to explore the potential of human movement “smart TVs” and a growing list of other devices in gaming. The Wii functions by combining a handheld,built with natural user interfaces accept input in the accelerometer-based controller with a stationaryform of taps, swipes, and other ways of touching; infrared sensor to determine position, acceleration,hand and arm motions; body movement; and and direction. The Kinect system eliminates the hand-increasingly, natural language. These are the first held controller and discerns commands and inputin a growing array of alternative input devices that by analyzing the visual field. Development in thisallow computers to recognize and interpret natural area centers on creating a minimal interface, and inphysical gestures as a means of control. Natural user producing an experience of direct interaction such that,interfaces allow users to engage in virtual activities cognitively, the hand and body become input deviceswith movements similar to what they would use in themselves. These systems recognize and interpretthe real world, manipulating content intuitively. patterns in gross motor movements, including bodyThe idea of being able to have a completely natural movements and facial expressions. Players can jump,interaction with your device is not new, but neither dance, point, and more, and their actions catalyze thehas its full potential been realized. What makes actions that take place on the screen.natural user interfaces especially interesting thisyear is the burgeoning high fidelity of systems that The convergence of gesture-sensing technology withunderstand gestures, facial expressions, and their voice recognition allows for both gesture and voice tonuances, as well as the convergence of gesture- communicate the user’s intentions to devices — just assensing technology with voice recognition, which it does in human conversation. Siri, the virtual assistantallows users to interact in an almost natural fashion, included in the iPhone 4S, is a particularly successfulwith gesture, expression, and voice communicating example of this convergence, seamlessly juxtaposingtheir intentions to devices. the voice interface alongside the now routine taps and swipes. Another indication of this convergence is thatOverview both LG and Samsung recently announced “smart”Natural user interfaces are already commonplace. televisions equipped with both gesture and voiceTapping or swiping a finger across a screen is the way control.millions of people interact with their mobile devicesevery day. The screens for the iPhone and iPad, and Natural user interfaces are changing the ways thatAndroid-based tablets and smartphones, for example, we interact with computers, both physically andall react to pressure, motion, and even the number and mechanically. As such, it is at once transformative anddirection of fingers touching the devices. Some devices disruptive. Researchers and developers are gainingreact to shaking, rotating, tilting, or moving the device a sense of the cognitive and cultural dimensions ofin space. natural user interfaces, and the full realization of the potential of natural user interfaces within K-12 will
  • 35. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years 33require intensive interdisciplinary collaborations and as it converges with voice recognition in natural userinnovative thinking about the very nature of teaching, interface applications. The idea of being able to have alearning, and communicating. completely natural interaction with your device is not new, but neither has its full potential been realized.Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or Recent advances across the board in the underlyingCreative Inquiry technologies, along with strong interest in the consumerIt is clear that natural user interfaces have found a homein gaming and in mobile devices, but their potentialuses are broader. Software that relies not on specific Natural user interfaces allow userslanguages, but on natural human movements commonto all cultures has a compelling utility in countries such to engage in virtual activitiesas India, which has 30 native languages with more thana million speakers. A natural interface opens up a key with movements similar to whatbarrier between the user and his or her machine, andindeed all that is required to see this is to put a gesture- they would use in the real world,enabled device in the hands of a two-year-old. manipulating content intuitively.Devices that encourage users to touch them, move, orotherwise use play as a means to explore are particularly electronics segment, bode well for this category ofintriguing to schools. Such devices, which currently are technologies to continue to see new and compellingprimarily illustrated by Android and Apple smartphones developments.and tablets, the Microsoft Surface and Promethean’sActivPanel, and the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect A sampling of applications for natural user interfacessystems, open up a wide range of uses for learners. across disciplines includes the following:Gesture-enabled devices aid collaboration, sharing, andgroup interactions. > Language. SchoolNet South Africa and Microsoft worked with Lakeside Park Primary in rural KwaZulu-Nonetheless, while natural user interfaces are garnering Natal to test English language acquisition througha lot of excitement in the consumer space, an extensive the use of Xbox Kinect gaming technology. Thereview was unable to uncover many current instances evaluation study conducted in 2011 recorded anin K-12 of gesture-based software or devices being overall marked improvement in vocabulary, whichapplied to specific learning examples. As an enabling or in turn, impacted language comprehension andassistive technology, however, natural user interfaces are literacy skills. The study also reported that the naturalalready having profound implications for special needs user interface helped students to better unlock theand disabled individuals. For example, devices with curriculum. control are already helping blind, dyslexic, orotherwise disabled students, reducing their dependence > Mathematics. The non-profit Mind Research Instituteon keyboards. Researchers at McGill University are recently launched its “ST Math” Touch K-5 web-baseddeveloping a system that allows those with visual software games that are enhanced by the propertiesimpairments to get more feedback with fine degrees of of touchscreens on iPads and Android and Microsofttouch. Natural user interface algorithms are also being devices. Students experience how math works byused to interpret body language and even sign language. interacting with virtual manipulatives to solve math problems. an experimental media, however, it is easy to findexamples of natural user interface projects that are > Music. The EyeMusic project at the University ofpushing the edges of gesture-recognition, especially Oregon uses eye-tracking sensors to compose
  • 36. 34 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition multimedia productions based on the movements Wearable Multi-touch Projector of the user’s eye movement. The performer looks at a physical location to visually process it or to Microsoft Research has unveiled a prototype of a create a sound, and EyeMusic reconciles those two Wearable Multitouch Projector that turns any surface motivations to achieve perceptual-motor harmony. into a multitouch display. The projector itself can be easily mounted on one’s shoulder, and uses a depth- sensing system to enable user interaction on theNatural User Interfaces in Practice projected interface.The following links provide examples of natural userinterfaces in use that have direct implications for K-12 For Further Readingsettings: The following articles and resources are recommended for those who wish to learn more about natural userMicrosoft Kinect in Grade 1 Education is exploring the use of Microsoft Gesture Recognition Moves Beyond GamingKinect in developing young students’ motor skills encouraging active learning. In the experiment, (Steve Sechrist, Software Quality Connection, 23 Maystudents will use the unit to interact with baby wildcats 2011.) In the context of the major developments inand learn all about wildlife. gesture recognition, the author discusses the potential for Kinect-style natural user interfaces for academiaMogees: Gesture-Based Recognition with Contact- to promote creativity and experimentation amongMicrophone students and a contact microphone, two researchers connected LG adds Google TVs, Smart TVs get Voice andto a system that processes sound in real-time and will Gesture Controlturn any surface into its own touchscreen. The system the vibrations transmitted from touch into (James K. Willcox, Consumer Reports, 9 January 2011.)waveforms that a computer can recognize. LG Electronics is releasing televisions that double as computer monitors so users can download apps fromNUI Group the Android Market to surf the web on their The SmartTV platform will also have voice and gestureThe Natural User Interface Group is a global research control, and built-in Wi-Fi to beam content like music,community that is focused on the open discovery of photos, and videos from a notebook to the television set.natural user interfaces. Most recently, they have workedwith a team that has developed a gesture-enabled The Power of Natural User Interfacessystem called “TouchMi,” which uses multiple cameras recognize gestures in three dimensions. (Bill Gates, The Gates Notes, 28 October 2011.) Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, discusses how natural user interfacesVirtual Autopsy Table give us the ability to interact with our devices the way we interact with each other. He explains thatWith the Virtual Autopsy Table, detailed computed people who lack even the most basic literacy skills cantomography scans are created from a living or dead easily use Kinect and other natural user interfaces thatperson and transferred to the table where they are are gesture-enabled.manipulated with gestures, allowing forensic scientiststo examine a body, make virtual cross-sections, and viewlayers including skin, muscle, blood vessels, and bone.
  • 37. Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years 35SoftKinetic Previews Next-Gen Gesture Interfaces(Video),, 29 March 2011.) In thisvideo prepared by SoftKinetic for the 2011 ConsumerElectronics Show, the next generation of gestureinterfaces is illustrated. SoftKinetic is developing 3Dgesture control middleware for a wide range of devicesand platforms.To Win Over Users, Gadgets Have to Be Cain Miller, The New York Times, 1 September2010.) This article discusses the evolution oftouchscreens, and how they have quickly become theprevalent manner of interacting with devices, especiallysmartphones and tablets. Natural user interfaces are changingUsing Kinect to Engage Students the ways that we interact – Education Technologies, 27 December 2011.) computers, both physically andThis post contains a series of videos and offers anintroduction to integrating Kinect into classroom mechanically. As such, it is at onceactivities. The “interaction” project outlined by twoBrazilian professors explores the use of Xbox Kinect for transformative and disruptive.simulations used in teaching and industrial solutions.
  • 38. 36 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition The NMC Horizon Project T his report is part of a longitudinal research study technology is being absorbed using a smaller lens, and of emerging technologies that began in March also noting the contrasts between technology use in 2002. Since that time, under the banner of the one area compared to another. To date, the NMC has Horizon Project, the NMC and its research partners conducted studies of technology uptake in Australia, have held an ongoing series of conversations New Zealand, the UK, and Iberoamerica, and has plans and dialogs with its advisory boards — a group that in place to expand that research to Central Europe, now numbers more than 500 technology professionals, India, Singapore, and Brazil. This report, the NMC campus technologists, faculty leaders from colleges and Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, is the fourth in the universities, museum professionals, teachers and other series focusing on pre-college education. The flagship school professionals, and representatives of leading NMC Horizon Report, focused on higher education, is translated into multiple languages every year. Over all editions, the readership of the reports is estimated atThe 46 members of this year’s over one million worldwide, with readers in over 100 countries.advisory board were purposely The 46 members of this year’s advisory board werechosen to represent a broad purposely chosen to represent a broad spectrum of the K-12 sector; key writers, thinkers, technologists, andspectrum of the K-12 sector; key futurists from education, business, and industry rounded out the group. They engaged in a comprehensivewriters, thinkers, technologists, and review and analysis of research, articles, papers, blogs, and interviews; discussed existing applications, andfuturists from education, business, brainstormed new ones; and ultimately ranked the items on the list of candidate technologies for theirand industry rounded out the group. potential relevance to teaching, learning, or creative inquiry. This work took place entirely online and may be corporations from more than 30 countries. For more reviewed on the project wiki at than a decade, these conversations have been mined to provide the insights on emerging technology that are The effort to produce the NMC Horizon Report: 2012 published annually in the NMC Horizon Report series. K-12 Edition began in February 2012, and concluded when the report was released in June 2012, a period The NMC Horizon Project is currently in its tenth year, of four months. The six technologies and applications dedicated to charting the landscape of emerging that emerged at the top of the final rankings — two technologies for teaching, learning, and creative inquiry per adoption horizon — are detailed in the preceding in education globally. In 2008, the NMC added to the chapters. three main NMC Horizon Reports a new series of regional and sector-based studies, called the NMC Technology Each of those chapters includes detailed descriptions, Outlooks, with the dual goals of understanding how links to active demonstration projects, and a wide
  • 39. The NMC Horizon Project 37array of additional resources related to the six profiledtechnologies. Those profiles are the heart of the NMCHorizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, and will fuel the workof the NMC Horizon Project throughout 2012. To shareyour educational technology projects with the NMC topotentially be featured in a future NMC Horizon Report,the NMC Horizon Project Navigator database, or theNMC Horizon EdTech Weekly App, visit For those wanting to know more about theprocesses used to generate the NMC Horizon Reportseries, many of which are ongoing and extend the workin the reports, we refer you to the report’s final sectionon the research methodology. The NMC Horizon Project is currently in its tenth year, dedicated to charting the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in education globally.
  • 40. 38 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition Methodology T he process used to research and create the over years of producing the NMC Horizon Report NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition is very series, and began with the assembly of the advisory much rooted in the methods used across all the board. The advisory board represents a wide range research conducted within the NMC Horizon of backgrounds, nationalities, and interests, yet each Project. All editions of the NMC Horizon Report member brings a particularly relevant expertise. Over are produced using a carefully constructed process that the decade of the NMC Horizon Project research, more is informed by both primary and secondary research. than 500 internationally recognized practitioners and Dozens of technologies, meaningful trends, and critical experts have participated on project advisory boards; challenges are examined for possible inclusion in the in any given year, a third of advisory board members report for each edition. Every report draws on the are new, ensuring a flow of fresh perspectives each year. Nominations to serve on the advisory board are encouraged — see of technologies, meaningful Once the advisory board for a particular edition istrends, and critical challenges are constituted, their work begins with a systematic review of the literature — press clippings, reports, essays,examined for possible inclusion in and other materials — that pertains to emerging technology. Advisory board members are providedthe report for each edition. with an extensive set of background materials when the project begins, and are then asked to comment on them, considerable expertise of an internationally renowned identify those that seem especially worthwhile, and add advisory board that first considers a broad set of to the set. The group discusses existing applications important emerging technologies, challenges, and of emerging technology and brainstorms new ones. A trends, and then examines each of them in progressively key criterion for the inclusion of a topic in this edition more detail, reducing the set until the final listing of is its potential relevance to teaching, learning, and technologies, trends, and challenges is selected. creative inquiry in K-12. A carefully selected set of RSS feeds from hundreds of relevant publications ensures This process takes place online, where it is captured that background resources stay current as the project and placed in the NMC Horizon Project wiki. The wiki is progresses. They are used to inform the thinking of the intended to be a completely transparent window into participants throughout the process. the work of the project, and contains the entire record of the research for each of the various editions. Following the review of the literature, the advisory board engages in the central focus of the research — The section of the wiki used for the NMC Horizon Report: the research questions that are at the core of the NMC 2012 K-12 Edition can be found at Horizon Project. These questions were designed to elicit a comprehensive listing of interesting technologies, The procedure for selecting the topics in the report challenges, and trends from the advisory board: included a modified Delphi process now refined
  • 41. Methodology 391 Which of the key technologies catalogued in the NMC Horizon Project Listing will be mostimportant to teaching, learning, or creative inquiry weight their selections. Each member is asked to also identify the timeframe during which they feel the technology would enter mainstream use — defined forwithin the next five years? the purpose of the project as about 20% of institutions adopting it within the period discussed. (This figure is2 What key technologies are missing from our list? Consider these related questions: based on the research of Geoffrey A. Moore and refers to the critical mass of adoptions needed for a technology to have a chance of entering broad use.) These rankings> What would you list among the established are compiled into a collective set of responses, and technologies that some educational institutions inevitably, the ones around which there is the most are using today that arguably all institutions agreement are quickly apparent. should be using broadly to support or enhance teaching, learning, or creative inquiry? From the comprehensive list of technologies originally considered for any report, the twelve that emerge at the> What technologies that have a solid user base top of the initial ranking process — four per adoption in consumer, entertainment, or other industries horizon — are further researched and expanded. Once should educational institutions be actively this “Short List” is identified, the group, working with looking for ways to apply? both NMC staff and practitioners in the field, begins to explore the ways in which these twelve important> What are the key emerging technologies you see technologies might be used for teaching, learning, developing to the point that learning-focused and creative inquiry in K-12 education. A significant institutions should begin to take notice during amount of time is spent researching real and potential the next four to five years? applications for each of the areas that would be of interest to practitioners.3 What trends do you expect to have a significant impact on the ways in which learning-focusedinstitutions approach our core missions of teaching, For every edition, when that work is done, each of these twelve “Short List” items is written up in the format ofresearch, and service? the NMC Horizon Report. With the benefit of the full picture of how the topic will look in the report, the4 What do you see as the key challenge(s) related to teaching, learning, or creative inquiry thatlearning-focused institutions will face during the “short list” is then ranked yet again, this time in reverse. The six technologies and applications that emerge are those detailed in the NMC Horizon five years? For additional detail on the project methodology or toOne of the advisory board’s most important tasks is to review the actual instrumentation, the ranking, and theanswer these questions as systematically and broadly interim products behind the report, please visit possible, so as to ensure that the range of relevant is considered. Once this work is done, a processthat moves quickly over just a few days, the advisoryboard moves to a unique consensus-building processbased on an iterative Delphi-based methodology.In the first step of this approach, the responses to theresearch questions are systematically ranked and placedinto adoption horizons by each advisory board memberusing a multi-vote system that allows members to
  • 42. 40 NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 EditionThe NMC Horizon Project:2012 K-12 Edition Advisory BoardLarry Johnson Horn Mun Cheah Michael Lambert Brandt ReddCo-Principal Investigator National Institute of Education Concordia International School Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationNew Media Consortium Singapore of Shanghai United StatesUnited States China Kim Cofino Will RichardsonKeith Krueger Yokohama International School Adrian Lim Weblogg-EdCo-Principal Investigator Japan Ngee Ann Secondary School United StatesConsortium for School SingaporeNetworking Alec Couros Kari StubbsUnited States University of Regina Cher Ping Lim BrainPOP Canada The Hong Kong Institute of United StatesLeslie Conery EducationCo-Principal Investigator Gavin Dykes Hong Kong Jean TowerISTE Cellcove Ltd and Education Impact Public Schools of Northborough &United States United Kingdom Bailey Mitchell Southborough, MA Forsyth County School District, GA United States Julie Evans United StatesRob Ackerman Project Tomorrow Stephan Vincent-LancrinBedford Public Schools United States Jan Morrison OECDUnited States Washoe County School DistrIct, NV France Bruno Gomes United StatesSamantha Adams SESI SENAI RJ Britt WatwoodNew Media Consortium Brazil Sarietjie Musgrave Virginia CommonwealthUnited States University of the Free State University Claus Gregersen South Africa United StatesKaren Andrews Herning GymnasiumAlberta Education Denmark Lynn Nolan Jack WestCanada ISTE Sequoia Union High School Marisa Hartling United States District, CACristiana Mattos Assumpção Houston Independent School United StatesColégio Bandeirantes District, TX Sheryl Nusbaum-BeachBrazil United States Powerful Learning Practice Guus Wijngaards United States INHolland UniversityMónica Báez Shafika Isaacs The NetherlandsPlan Ceibal eLearning Africa Judy O’ConnellUruguay South Africa Charles Sturt University AustraliaRoger Blamire Holly JobeEuropean Schoolnet PA Dept of Ed (Retired) Alice OwenBelgium United States Irving Independent School District, TXChristopher Brown Øystein Johannessen United StatesPearson Cerpus AS and Education ImpactUnited States Norway Helen Padgett Arizona State UniversityDeirdre Butler Jean Johnson United StatesSt. Patrick’s College, Dublin Notschool.netIreland England Francesc Pedro UNESCOJeanne Century Allanah King FranceCEMSE, University of Chicago Appleby SchoolUnited States New Zealand Garry Putland Pearson Australia Australia
  • 43. The NMC and its research partners have held an ongoing series of conversations and dialogs withits advisory boards — a group that now numbers more than 500 technology professionals, campustechnologists, faculty leaders from colleges and universities, museum professionals, teachers and otherschool professionals, and representatives of leading corporations from more than 30 countries.
  • 44. T 512-445-4200 F 512-445-4205 E NMC New Media Consortium 6101 West Courtyard Drive Building One, Suite 100 ISBN 978-0-9846601-4-8 Austin, Texas USA 78730The NMC Horizon Report.Now available weekly. HZIntroducing the NMC Horizon EdTech Weekly App for iPad and iPhone. Get weekly updates of the hottest newsin the EdTech world. Search our ever-expanding database of projects, reports, and news about innovations inteaching and learning. Download and share all NMC Horizon Reports. From anywhere. Find us in the Apple AppStore at