3D Printing & Remote Laboratories – NMC Report

The fifth edition in the annual K-12 series of the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Project examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry within the environment of pre-college education.

The report highlights six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use within three adoption horizons over the next five years.

The report recognizes cloud computing and mobile learning as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. Learning analytics and open content are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; and 3D printing and virtual and remote laboratories emerged in the third horizon of four to five years.

The report also indicates significant trends and challenges that are currently impacting pre-college education:

  • Ongoing professional development needs to be valued and integrated into the culture of the schools.
  • Too often it is education’s own practices that limit broader uptake of new technologies.
  • New models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to traditional models of schooling.
  • K-12 must address the increased blending of formal and informal learning.
  • The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices.
  • We are not using digital media for formative assessment the way we could and should.

Since 2002, under the banner of the NMC Horizon Project, the New Media Consortium (NMC) and its research partners have cooperated and discussed with an international body of experts in education, technology and business. Roger Blamire, senior expert at European Schoolnet, has been a member of the report’s Advisory Board since 2009.

At European Schoolnet we are running a range of projects related to the technologies highlighted in the report, notably cloud computing and mobile learning. For example, cloud computing features in a major EU-funded project, iTEC (Innovative Technologies for Engaging Classrooms) and the Creative Classroom Lab is experimenting with mobile technologies,” said Roger Blamire, senior expert at European Schoolnet. He added that “the Survey of Schools: ICT in Education picked up relatively high levels of students’ use of mobile devices and an increasing percentage of students using their own devices.

The Survey also included recommendations for policy makers at national and European level to focus on concrete measures at school level to support the use and integration of ICT in the classroom and invest in capacity building through new training models for teachers (online communities, blended learning, etc.).

European Schoolnet activities and projects tackle also many of the challenges highlighted in the report. Notably iTEC, aimed at piloting learning and teaching activities using integrated technology solutions in over 1,000 European classrooms, promotes experimentation and innovative applications of technologies and includes blended learning scenarios.

Useful links
NMC Horizon Report > 2013 K-12 Edition
Survey of Schools: ICT in Education
iTEC (Innovative Technologies for Engaging Classrooms)
Creative Classroom Lab