What is on the five-year horizon for K-12 schools worldwide? Which trends and technologies will drive educational change? What are the challenges that we consider as solvable or difficult to overcome, and how can we strategize effective solutions? These questions regarding technology adoption and educational change steered the collaborative research and discussions of a body of 61 experts to produce the NMC/CoSN Horizon Report > 2017 K-12 Edition, in partnership with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and made possible by mindSpark Learning. View the Panel of Expert’s work and discussions in the 2017 Horizon.k12 Workspace.
The three sections of this report constitute a reference and technology planning guide for educators, school education leaders,
administrators, policymakers, and technologists. These 10 highlights capture the big picture themes of educational
change that underpin the 18 topics.
1 Advancing progressive learning approaches requires cultural transformation. Schools must
be structured to promote the exchange of fresh ideas and identify successful models with a lens toward
sustainability — especially in light of inevitable leadership changes.
2 Learners are creators. The advent of makerspaces, classroom configurations that enable active
learning, and the inclusion of coding and robotics are providing students with ample opportunities to create
and experiment in ways that spur complex thinking. Students are already designing their own solutions to
3 Inter- and multidisciplinary learning breaks down silos. School curricula are increasingly making
clear connections between subjects like science and humanities, and engineering and art, demonstrating to
students that a well-rounded perspective and skill set are vital to real-world success.
4 The widespread use of technology does not translate into equal learner achievement.
Technology is an enabler but does not alone compensate for gaps in student engagement and
performance attributable to socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and gender.
5 Continuously measuring learning is essential to better understanding learners’ needs. Analytics
technologies are providing teachers, schools, and districts with both individual and holistic views of
student learning, informing strategies for serving at-risk and gifted populations.
6 Fluency in the digital realm is more than just understanding how to use technology. Learning
must go beyond gaining isolated technology skills toward generating a deep understanding of digital
environments, enabling intuitive adaptation to new contexts and co-creation of content with others.
7 Authentic learning is not a trend — it is a necessity.
Hands-on experiences that enable students to learn by doing cultivate self-awareness and self-reliance
while piquing curiosity. Virtual reality and makerspaces are just two vehicles for stimulating these immersive
8 There is no replacement for good teaching — the role is just evolving. No matter how useful and
pervasive technology is, students will always need guides, mentors, and coaches to help them navigate
projects, generate meaning, and develop lifelong learning habits. School cultures must encourage,
reward, and scale effective teaching practices.
9 Schools are prioritizing computational thinking in the curriculum. Developing skills that enable
learners to use computers to gather data, break it down into smaller parts, and analyze patterns will be
an increasing necessity to succeed in our digital world.
While coding is one aspect of this idea, even those not pursuing computer science jobs will need these skills to
work with their future colleagues. 10 Learning spaces must reflect new approaches in education. The pervasiveness of active
learning pedagogies is requiring a shift in how learning environments are being designed. Emerging technologies
such as making, mixed reality, and the Internet of Things are requiring more flexible and connected plans.