A trend is a shift or tendency within a system, for example schools, that is likely to grow in importance and influence how the system operates. Examples include economic developments, changes in society or in employment, or in attitudes and behaviour.  Some trends are opportunities, others disruptive, a challenge or threat; some turn out to be a short-lived novelty (an innovation can develop into a trend, or die out), others slow-burning, even barely noticeable but seismic and enduring over the long term. Many trends are of course outside the control of schools, but others can be taken into account in school development planning and designing effective teaching and learning.  A trend may emerge in one country but not another, another may be global.

A trend can also be related to the emergence of technologies that potentially support change in education institutions and in the organisation of learning; for example, 1:1 computing (using tablets), or improving internet access (e.g. in every classroom and not just a computer lab).  However, a technological trend does not in itself cause educational change, but can be a necessary condition for innovation in teaching and learning.

Some key trends

Outlined below are a number of trends in educational technology and practice that, consensus suggests, will have an impact on teaching and learning in the next five years. 



Useful resources


LangOER (2014 – 2016)

  • LangOER (2014 – 2016) is a European network focused on enhancing the linguistic and cultural components of OER (open educational resources) by offering OER in less used languages and by enhancing sustainability through OER reuse.

Open University UK

  • Innovating Pedagogy 2014: Produced using a similar methodology to the Horizon K-12 reports, the report examines: Massive open social learning, Learning design informed by analytics, Flipped classroom, Bring your own devices, Learning to learn, Dynamic assessment, Event-based learning, Learning through storytelling, Threshold concepts and Bricolage.

Kennisnet, Netherlands

  • Technology compass for education (2014): Aimed at school leaders, describes technological innovations worldwide and considers their usefulness in addressing challenges in the field of education. The quantified self, smart buildings and do it yourself are said to be on the rise, and adaptive content, learning analytics and PLEs heading for Gartner's 'trough of disillusionment’.


New Media Consortium (

European Schoolnet (

  • The Survey of Schools: ICT in Education. A survey of students, head teachers and teachers on the availability and use, including opinions and attitudes, of ICT in schools:

Oxford Economics Forecasts

Partnership for 21st century skills (

  • A US-based organisation which promotes the development of skills needed to succeed in a globalised economy, members include Microsoft, Cisco systems and Pearson

Pew Research

European Commission

Edfutures (

  • Helping change the UK education system to make it fit for the 21st century. Initial focus is on the role(s) that technology might play as a lever for change.
  • Digital technology strategies (2014): some trends evident school strategies:


  • 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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