Sonoma County Office of Education

Technology for Learners

2015 Horizon Report: Technology Trends for K-12 Education

Author: Rick Phelan
Published: 07.14.15

2015 Horizon ReportWhere is technology going in the next five years? The Horizon Report is a resource that can help schools anticipate the future. It maps key education trends along with emerging technologies. Leaders can use this information to guide actions and direct resources.

For the past 14 years, the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project has been researching emerging technologies and their impact on people around the globe. Working in collaboration with the Consortium of School Networking, the New Media Consortium (NMC) produces a comprehensive report each year. The report details the top emerging technologies, trends, and challenges that K-12 education will face over the next five years. Report sections are authored by an international advisory board of K-12 educators and researchers. The 2015 Horizon Report for K-12 was released a month ago. Here are excerpts from the latest report:


The 2015 Horizon Report identifies key trends based on what is currently happening in the context of K-12 education and in the world at large. The advisory board conducted a “review of current articles, interviews, papers, and new research to identify and rank trends that are currently affecting teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in K-12 education.” The key trends for 2015 are identified below.



Driving educational technology adoption in schools over the next 1-2 years

  • Rise of STEAM Learning
  • Increasing Use of Hybrid/Blended Learning Designs



Driving educational technology adoption in schools within 3-5 years

  • Increasing Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches
  • Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators



Driving educational technology adoption in schools in 5+ years

  • Rethinking How Schools Work
  • Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches



The report identified two emerging technologies for the near-term (assumes the likelihood of entry into the mainstream for schools within the next 12 months):

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  • Makerspaces


Two emerging technologies for the mid-term (assumes the likelihood of entry into the mainstream for schools in 2-3 years) were also identified:

  • 3D Printing/Rapid Prototyping
  • Adaptive Learning Technologies


Emerging technologies for the far-term (assumes the likelihood of entry into the mainstream for schools in 4-5 years) include:

  • Badges/Microcredit
  • Wearable Technology



The Horizon Report advisory board examined recurring challenges that were expressed in interviews and research papers and through observations. The K-12 challenges that leadership teams need to attend to in developing 3-5 year plans include:

Solvable Challenges—Those we understand and know how to solve

  • Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities
  • Integrating Technology in Teacher Education


Difficult Challenges—Those we understand, but for which solutions are elusive

  • Personalizing Learning
  • Rethinking the Roles of Teachers


Wicked Challenges—Those that are complex to even define, much less address

  • Scaling Teaching Innovations
  • Teaching Complex Thinking


For more details about the information shared here, download the complete report from the NMC Horizon Project website.

Blog: Technology for Learners