EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

The Hype Cycle

Emerging technologies identified in the iTEC project

The Hype Cycle

Gartner’s "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies" is a useful way of monitoring emerging technologies and separating the hype from the reality – particularly important for hard-pressed schools. It plots technologies as they rise on a scale from Innovation Trigger to a Peak of Inflated Expectations, then dropping to a Trough of Disillusionment before slowly rising again up the Slope of Enlightenment and settling on a Plateau of Productivity – mainstream adoption, where the true benefit of the technology is located and its use becomes banal, no longer inflated by hype, marketing and evangelism. This phenomenon of over-expectation and under-delivery is as old as technology itself, from the telephone to television, via modems and compact discs. That is why in education it is so important to consider first the educational need, opportunity or challenge that a technology might meet.

Hot technology, 1989

In August 2014 the latest edition of the report www.gartner.com/doc/2816917 (free; registration required) showed the Quantified Self rising fast, the Internet of Things at its peak and a number of technologies much talked about (hyped?) in educational technology circles on the way down:

For those with large budgets, the Education Hype Cycle 2014 is available to subscribers. Among the technologies considered to be rising are education tablets and affective computing, to be at their peak citizen developers and big data, slipping down MOOCs, gamification, cloud services and BYOD, and rising to the plateau open source learning repositories and cloud email. There is a useful article about this report at Forbes.

The annual K-12 reports from the New Media Consortium also list emerging educational technologies together with the timescale of their likely widespread adoption in schools. It is interesting to plot how they have evolved over the years since the report’s first publication in 2009, in particular how games and gamification stayed on the horizon and has disappeared in 2015.

Year/ Horizon 1 year  2-3 years 4-5 years 
2009Collaborative environmentsMobilesSmart objects
 Online communication toolsCloud computingPersonal web
2010Cloud computingGame-based learning Augmented reality
 Collaborative environments MobilesFlexible displays
2011Cloud computingGame-based learning Learning analytics
 MobilesOpen contentPersonal learning environments
2012Mobile devices and appsGame-based learningAugmented reality
 Tablet computingPersonal learning environmentsNatural user interfaces
2013Cloud computingLearning analyticsVirtual and remote laboratories
 Mobile learningOpen content3D printing
2014Bring Your Own DeviceGames and gamificationThe internet of things
 Cloud computingLearning analyticsWearable technology
2015Bring Your Own Device3D printing Digital badges
 MakerspacesAdaptive learning technologiesWearable technology

  

 Emerging technologies identified in the iTEC project

Which technologies have particular promise for schools? The following were highlighted in the iTEC project (2010-2014). More are described in the Horizon K-12 wikis: Europe and global.

Games-based learning and gamification

Augmented reality

Learning analytics

Cloud computing

Programming and apps

Neuroscience

 

Games-based learning and gamification

Pedagogies based on game design principles and play are increasingly seen as a tool for enjoying teaching and learning. This trend has been confirmed by students and previous research and has been incorporated into previous scenarios. The following are examples of how games are currently being used in classrooms as inspiration.

  • MinecraftEdu is a custom “Mod” (Modification) of the video game Minecraft, which in the last few years has become very popular among educators for its mix of exploration, collaboration and creativity. Like Minecraft, MinecraftEdu is not free but it has been modified to better reflect the requirements of formal education. It can provide you with interesting ideas: minecraftedu.com/
  • Quest to Learn is an innovative approach to formal education, in which whole schools (two so far, in New York and Chicago) are re-organised around pedagogic principles derived from video game design. Instead of traditional lessons and assignments, students choose their own “missions” and progress from one “level” to another accumulating XP (experience) points. There is a handbook which provides detailed information about the approach: www.instituteofplay.org/work/projects/developing-quest-to-learn/
  • A UK primary school teacher (Dawn Hallybone) has been using games in her classroom. Her blog (hallyd.edublogs.org/about/) describes how she uses games under the tag games based learning.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality is the layering of information over a representation or view of a place in the 'real' world. Increasingly reliable internet access combined with rapid developments in high quality cameras and location sensing in mobile devices is creating more opportunities for novel ways of looking at the world. Although mobile internet connections are currently some way from being sufficient for rich augmented reality experiences everywhere, the technology is in place and as bandwidth capability increases in the outdoors and more people own mobile devices with the capability, more learning experiences will be possible with augmented reality.

Learning analytics

Learning analytics is a fast growing area of research. It involves collecting, measuring analysing the patterns in learner data in order to make predictions and recommendations about optimising learning

  • Signals at Purdue University is an example of ‘action or nudge analytics’ which aims to supports change in learners by nudging or prompting them to take action. Signals provides 'actionable intelligence' via the use of a traffic signal system that helps students regulate their learning and access help when required: www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2009b/090827ArnoldSignals.html
  • The Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) is an inter-disciplinary network of leading international researchers who are exploring the role and impact of analytics on teaching, learning, training and development: www.solaresearch.org. Their Open Learning Analytics paper is a useful starting point and includes learner, educator, administrator and researcher scenarios in learning analytics: solaresearch.org/OpenLearningAnalytics.pdf

Cloud computing

Recent years has seen an increase in online services provided for both the storage, creation and editing of documents. These developments make the online sharing of documents and collaborative approaches to document creation more accessible.

  • Google Docs has developed from a simple online word processing service into a cloud-based storage service and productivity suite to which users can upload documents of any file format.  Google Docs continues to gain traction in many areas of business, education and personal use. It is becoming integral to many people's work online and there is some unification starting to happen between it and Google's widely used free email service, Gmail (for example, one now has the option to view, save and edit documents that arrive as email attachments using Google Docs negating the need to have use the local software to open the document).

Programming and apps

Students will increasingly be able to use very simple, high level programming tools to harness a myriad of computing and online services to solve real world problems. The rise in simple drag and drop programming increasingly opens up opportunities for amateur programmers to create their own apps. Many believe that the potential for such ‘block builder’ tools in the mobile computing space is immense. 

  • MIT’s Scratch programming software has a global community which has seen over 1.6 million learner generated programs. scratch.mit.edu/
  • AppInventor for Android removes the complexities of programming and makes it like using Lego appinventor.googlelabs.com providing a simple drag and drop program construction interface with simple blocks/commands to access other device functions such as sensors or accessing a web service to get an address from raw GPS coordinates.
  • Apps for Good appsforgood.org/ is a UK based programme through which young people learn to create imaginative apps that change their world. Students work together to find out the issues they want to tackle and how best to solve them with mobile and web applications.

Neuroscience

The understanding of the human brain and how we learn is now a growing area of research. It is particularly relevant for the development and use of adaptive digital technologies.

  • Neuroscience: implications for education and lifelong learning (https://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/brain-waves/education-lifelong-learning/) introduces concepts and describes current understanding around how neuroscience could impact education.
  • In this video, an expert in neuroscience in education explains how latest neuroscientific findings can help explain the relationship between learning and the usage of digital technologies: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwNY_-FiwYU
  • This article suggests that neuroscience can help understand why some students struggle more than others with numbers, to the point that they may express symptoms of “dyscalculia” (like dyslexia, but related to numeracy instead of literacy). The article also suggests ways in which technology may be able to help: www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6033/1049.short 

 

Projects

  • FCLab
  • FCLab
  • eTwinning
  • SEG
  • Insafe
  • Insafe
  • Insafe
  • iTEC
  • KeyCoNet
  • Scientix
  • NanOpinion
  • Creative Schools Lab
  • SENnet
  • Smile
  • U4Energy
  • Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs
  • Europeana Creative
  • Entrepreneurial Schools
  • eSafety Label
  • eSkills Week
  • RRI tools
  • GlobalExcursion
  • Amgen
  • Living Schools Lab
  • LRE
  • Chemistry: All about You
  • Kodu Kup Europe
  • LangOER
  • TASK

 

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