10 Emerging Education Technologies

Are you or your students wearing your Apple Watches to school, and if so, are you using them as part of your curriculum? What about the use of digital textbooks, adaptive learning, collaboration with other schools or flipped classrooms? These technologies represent some of the cutting edge tools and trends in education. While some are being implemented now, regular use of others is on the (not to distant) horizon. We’ve scanned the gurus’ lists and found the top technologies that educators need to prepare for in the next one to five years.

EdTech image

Image via Flickr by Kārlis Dambrāns

As we look at the top new trends in edtech, we notice some common themes:

Individualism– much of the new technology is for one person and is customized to that person’s preferences, to be used when convenient.

1. Wearable tech—smart watches and Google Glass show promise for new ways of learning, with smart watches getting the nod because its motion and pressure sensors can make it more applicable for activity-based learning.

2. BYOD—Bring your own device will become more commonplace as kids bring their own smart phones and tablets to school. Corporations found that employees who have grown used to having access to technology at home, expect the same level of sophistication at work. Students will begin to feel the same, and if their schools can’t supply the technology, the students will want to use their own.

3. Mobile learning—By the end of 2015, the mobile market is expected to have 3.4 billion users (that’s one in every two people on the planet). Mobile traffic on the Internet is set to surpass desktop traffic, and mobile education apps are the second most popular type of apps downloaded on iTunes.

Shared information—collaboration is key, whether it is with increased reliance on social media and an opportunity for more openness.

4. Cloud computing—More schools will use cloud-based tools like Google Classroom, making it easier for students and teachers to have access to information wherever they are, on whatever device they have.

5. Collaborative—Using social media to research and share information becomes the standard, not just internally but also across schools and universities.

6. OpennessBarriers to education weaken, whether through open access journals, digital textbooks and other open content, open source software or MOOCs—providing more people a chance to have access and influence education.

Hands on—even as education becomes more digitalized, there will be a need for hands-on learning.

7. 3D Printing—This allows students to transfer digital information to reality. At some point, 3D labs might be created the same way today’s computer labs are. Still at the early stages of development, 3D Printing is still 4-5 years away from widespread adoption. Other technologies that give students a hands-on tie-in to the digital world include products like littleBits electronics, which allow users to build with logic modules or programs like EdTechTitans, which teaches students to repair technological devices on campus as part of the curriculum.

Flexibility—the learning process must be adapted to meet the needs of students.

8. Flipped, blended learning—As teachers look for ways to differentiate learning, flipped and blended learning will become more commonly used in the next year. This approach allows students to be responsible for initiating learning, and gives teachers more opportunity to spend time on areas that are challenging to students.

9. Online learning—Even beyond MOOCs, students will look for the flexibility that online learning offers, both traditional and non-traditional students. And, as the number of online learners grows, organizations will begin to create more structured programs and measure their effectiveness.

10. Gamification—Learners remember 90% of what they do, even in a simulation, versus remembering just 10% of what they read or 20% of what they hear. Gamification increases the lesson’s stickiness and for that reason, is expected to increase in scope in the next two to three years.

In Sum

These are exciting times for edtech. And as new technologies continue to emerge, it’s important to evaluate them to see which ones provide the best tools for your individual learning community.


  1. Mike

    August 14, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Hi Pamela. I enjoyed your look at emerging educational technology. I live in a district that is strongly focused on moving in this direction. Each of our three children has been issued an iPad for use in school. The two high school age children actually had summer assignments that had to be completed as part of their next year’s work. There have been a few bumps in the road with the technology, but generally, it’s been a good experience.

    Many districts will say that they cannot afford to make the switch to new technology. In our case, credit has to be given to the administration for working hard to foster the professional relationships that helped to get the technology into student hands at an affordable cost. We don’t live in a particularly affluent area, but our students are on the leading edge of technology in our region.

    Buying just one new book series can cost well over $100,000, even for a small district. I think it only makes sense for every administrator to at least consider new, higher tech options as we all move forward. The thing is, these administrators will most likely have to use some creativity and build some new relationships if they don’t have an abundance of funding to work with (and most schools today don’t). They also need to stress the importance of technology to the people paying taxes in their districts. That could be a little bit tricky though.

  2. UConnRon

    August 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I believe cloud computing will be the future of education technology. Cost is a big factor if a school district plans on one computer per student. Chromebooks (a cloud computer) cost approximately $150 to $350. iPads cost about $399-$829. Chromebooks have a keyboard – better for composition.

  3. Christopher

    August 18, 2015 at 3:34 am

    These technologies are changing the way education is growing and expanding itself to new horizons. It is embracing the new age and is ensuring children make the best use of technology in the right sense.

  4. Pablo Riveros

    August 20, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Excellent information, educational technologycal educators will be the matrix of these changing. In developing countries like Chile we are doing big efforts in integrate these skills in our Educators. Thanks for the information.

  5. Yaswanth

    August 26, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    very informative post. This is the future of education method and its help to improve skills in student and educators.

  6. Richard

    September 1, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Great post, I’ll look forward to hearing more about these emerging technologies, and can’t wait to see what the landscape looks like in 10 years!

  7. Tanusree

    September 1, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Great post

  8. MyStemKits.com

    September 3, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Loved reading this article, Pamela! Definitely some interesting trends bringing advancing technology into the classroom. Our personal favorite is the use of technology to get students away from staring at their screens. We work developing hands-on learning devices that can be 3D-printed and it’s truly rewarding to see students both get excited over the 3D-printing process and then gain a deeper understanding of the material as they get to explore and play with our vetted kits. We believe this hands-on learning element will become more and more important in upcoming years as so much of the world moves away from tactile to digital. Guess we’ll all watch technology in the classroom progress together and I’m very curious to see what it will look like in 5, 10, 15 years!

  9. Help Teaching

    September 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Some of these practices are already common place, at least in the US, while others are truly just emerging like 3D Printing.

    A trend many of us would like to see is spending less on paper textbooks (still too expensive!) and tackling inefficiencies in administrative areas (digitizing/automating).

    These ARE exciting times for Ed Tech.

  10. Nafiz

    October 1, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    I enjoyed reading this article and got some great links.

  11. Peter

    October 16, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I recently listened to a fascinating talk by Apple Learning Director Dr. Bill Rankin in which he talked about knowledge information access is going to double every 15 minutes. Educators are now going to knowledge scientists and companies such as BrightBytes are making huge strides in cognitive data gathering for effective learning. Digital Learning Tree is equally effective in recruiting thought ed tech leaders and on-boarding them to impact the gatekeepers of the modern flipped classroom including all of the things mentioned in the article. Mark Barnes, famous for writing Hacking your Education has also recently authored a course on how to use real time social media for modern engagement. Pixar in the Box and Khan are working on some great interactive adaptive learning initiatives as well. For more on the latest ed tech email us

  12. Rory Newbrey

    October 28, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Thank you for your post. I work in a district that is trying to get caught up the with advances of technology. We are at a 1:1 ratio of laptops/iPads to kids in the high school, and at a 1:2 in the elementary schools, but working toward a 1:1 by 2017. While I do agree that implementing technology in the classroom is important, I worry that it is not being used appropriately and purposefully, and therefore becoming a waste of money for districts. Just because you are near technology does not mean you are impacted by it.

    When supplied with this technology, teachers are not given any trainings on how to use them as powerful instructional tools with their students. Using them to not just do things differently, like typing a paper instead of writing it; but to actually do different things. I think it is just as important to teach our teachers how to use this technology as it is putting it in their classrooms, because part of our job is preparing our students for their futures, and that includes giving them 21st century skills.

  13. Interactive Floor & Wall

    October 29, 2015 at 4:09 am

    One more technology could play important role in education – The next generation gesture tracking platform with endless possibilities. It’s engaging kids in a hygenic, safe and entertaining way.