Key Technology Trends in Tertiary Education

By Michael Edmonds 07/02/2014 2


A recent report has outlined significant upcoming trends, challenges and developments in the tertiary sector (none of which unfortunately offer 3D interactive holograms as shown in the picture above – damn!)

The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition is the latest in a series of reports prepared by an international body of experts in education, technology and other related fields. The latest report focuses on the higher education sector, providing a brief outline of areas of significance along with examples and additional readings.

The first section of the report outlines six “key trends accelerating higher education technology adoption”  and comments on

1) The widespread use of social media and its’ applications in education

2) Development of online, hybrid and collaborative learning approaches

3) Increase in learning and assessments that are data driven

4) Shift from students as consumers to students as creators

5) Agile approaches to change

6) The evolution of online learning.

The second section covers “significant challenges that will impede the adoption of new technologies”. These are

1) The low digital fluency of educators

2) A relative lack of rewards for teaching

3) Competition from new models of education (e.g. MOOC’s – massive open online courses)

4) Scaling teaching innovations

5) Expanding access

6) Keeping education relevant

The third and final section of the report discusses important developments in educational technology, consisting of

1) The flipped class room

2) Learning analytics

3) 3-D printing

4) Games and gamification

5) Quantified self – technologies which allow their owners to track and quantify various aspects of their lives

6) Virtual assistants

The report makes interesting reading. Some of the trends and developments are ones we have already started to use at work. Others are ones that we have thought about but never quite worked out the best way to apply them. The inclusion of examples where other tertiary institutions have tried different approaches and sources of future readings makes this a very useful report.


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