3 Technologies Making Their Way to Mainstream Education

The technology shaping classrooms is ever-evolving. It’s important for educators to keep an eye on what is coming down the pipeline

With the emergence of virtual reality in 2016, tech implementation within schools is progressing. It’s anticipated that both virtual reality and robotics will become increasingly widespread over the next 2 to 3 years. Additionally, wearable tech is expected to be adopted in K-12 education within the next 4 to 5 years, according to the New Media Consortium Horizon Report released recently.

Horizon Report Findings

The 2016 K-12 report was published at the end of 2016 and examined tech trends on a short-term (one year or under), mid-term (2 to 3 years) and long-term (4 to 5 years) basis. The emerging technology was evaluated for possible impact on and use in teaching, learning and for analysis of schools.

Virtual Reality

2016 was the year that educators began to focus on virtual reality for application in schools. Overall, the market for virtual reality is booming. It’s estimated that revenue from entertainment-related virtual reality will hit $3.2 billion by 2025, with the education arena attracting a whopping 15 million users.

With the recent launch of devices from Sony, Oculus, and HTC, 2016 revenue from equipment sales were estimated to reach $895 million for the year. The vast majority of sales were due to the release of premium devices from these brands. The stage has been set for the education sector to incorporate virtual reality into K-12 curriculum easily.

Serving in educational environments, virtual reality is positioned to begin being used to produce engaging field trip settings. Incorporation of stimulating student-led research, instruction and activities is what educators are interested in with VR, for the coming year. Virtual reality appears to be a promising tool enabling students to become the master of their learning by way of experimental, collaborative experiences.


Over the next two years, the robotics industry is anticipated to double with a projected $135 billion market value come 2019. Robotics use in K-12 classrooms include hands-on, applied learning, especially with STEM classes and programming to encourage problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Instructional opportunities abound for programs that promote computational thinking and application of the material. There are even robots being created to specifically aid spectrum disorder learners in developing better social and communication skills. Robotics is also helping to deliver education to special needs, homebound and rural community students.

Wearable Technology

According to the Horizon Report, within the next five years, the increase in wearable tech for education purposes will skyrocket. This refers to smart devices worn by users in the form of accessories such as eyewear and jewelry. Innovators are also working on implantable devices that are implanted directly into human tissue. Within the next three years, an expected 411 million devices will be sold worldwide. Research has indicated that over the next five years, U.S. schools will grow in wearable tech adoption by 46 percent annually.

Wearable devices are already being used for several practical applications, like tracking heartbeat, sleep and other data. The potential for improved teaching methods include lessons that are heavily project-based, allow students the option to perform presentations anywhere, manipulating students’ data and giving educators the chance to move between groups of students to enhance collaborative experiences. Wearable tech is already making its way into the K-12 landscape and will continue to evolve over the next half decade.

The future of providing innovative, engaging educational content by way of ground-breaking technology is promising. Schools will encounter continuous advancement of current tech, with increased ways to enhance student learning.

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