In my Master’s class, a colleague and I presented on the 2012 K-12 Horizon Report and what is “on the horizon” in education.  Below, is the video summary we created:

As part of our presentation, we looked at the “pros” and “cons” for each of these technologies on the horizon.  I have summarized these below:

Technology Pros Cons
Mobile Devices & Apps
  • familiarity – mobile devices are a primary communication tool for learners
  • there is an extensive collection of apps available for free or purchase for mobile devices
  • publications have accommodated mobile device platforms
  • many apps have integrated capabilities of the device, such as location and voice recognition
  • many apps have been designed to support learning – when used in conjunction with instruction, students are able to better understand complex materials
  • not all users have equal access
    • financial barriers
    • platform barriers
  • digital citizenship
Tablet Computing
  • users can access an enormous amount of content
  • print-based publications have adapted to this platform
  • user-based publishing is easier – creators rather than consumers
  • slim, lightweight and portable
  • intuitive and easy to use (swipe-based technology)
  • enhances inquiry and active learning
  • fosters 21st century  learning
  • assistive and inclusive technology us
  • large-scale implementation
    • financial implications
    • best practices of device management
  • digital citizenship, copyright, ethics
Game-Based Learning
  • immediacy of feedback
  • increased student engagement
  • promotes experimentation and exploration
  • helps learners face failure
  • players readily connect with learning material when actively engaged in games
  • many educational games are supported through apps
  • MMO games can be integrated into curriculum, which promotes collaboration
  • GBL helps develop soft skills
  • gives a fresh perspective on course content
  • imbedding games authentically into course content
  • some cannot get past the idea that it is a “game” and that this is “play”
  • media portrays games in a negative context
  • digital citizenship
Personal Learning Environments
  • supports self directed, group based, formal and informal learning
  • it is flexible and can be customized
  • readily available through a smartphone or tablet
  • apps downloaded can represent a person’s interests
  • centers on the learner, not the technology, with enabling technologies, i.e social networking sites, cloud based computing
  • students are self paced and build their own environment
  • limited if students do not have access to  a smartphone or tablet
  • too many apps can hinder the learning process
  • students may be unmotivated if it is self paced
  • if student’s aren’t aware of their learning style, they may be lost or overwhelmed creating their personal learning network
  • requires students to have skill set in technology which may be difficult for younger learners
  • digital citizenship
Augmented Reality
  • use of ‘simple to use’ tools, such as a smartphone or tablet instead of having required room equipment
  • presents the information in a new way (3D) and new experience
  • it is visual and highly interactive
  • students can construct new understanding interacting with a virtual object
  • only seen so far in the consumer or entertainment sector
  • if the technology does not work when reading the marker for the AR or GPS location is turned o the device
  • difficult if students do not have a smartphone or tablet
  • does not take into account the visually impaired or special needs students
  • AR is based on situated learning, and leaves out students who are absent that day
Natural User Interfaces
  • allows people to use physical gesture as a means of control
  • already common with the millions of people who interact with a mobile device everyday, or gaming devices such as Xbox Kinect, or Nintendo Wii
  • it is not language specific, based on natural movements
  • has had profound implications for special needs and disabled students
  • gesture control on some devices are helping blind, dyslexic or otherwise disabled students
  • disadvantageous to students with severe physical handicaps
  • although devices can be modified, it is extremely costly
  • limited to 1:1
  • not all students have access to mobile devices, Xbox Kinect, Nintendo Wii, or Siri

Overall, when we look at these as a whole, this would be quite a bit for a teacher, or school, to implement. Consequently, upon our analysis, we concluded the following three technologies as areas to focus upon:

  • Mobile Devices & Apps
  • Tablet Computing
  • Game-Based Learning

Our synthesis is below.  Please note, we combined the first two together because of how they are inteconnected.

Significance of Mobile Devices, Tablet Computing & Apps

mobile graph copy

(Hashemi, Azizinhad, Najafi & Nesari, 2011)

 Significance of Game-Based Learning:

  • connects mainstream interests to education (Chang, 2012)

  • promotes collaboration (Johnson et al., 2012; Gee, 2008)

  • fosters the growth of social identity (Gee, 2008; Stevens, Satwicz & McCarthy, 2008)

  • learners can scaffold their experiences (Gee, 2008)

  • movement of experiences from short-term to long-term memory (Gee, 2008)

  • immediate feedback (Johnson et al., 2012; Gee, 2008; Van Eck, 2006)

  • allows for an emotional connection to learning (Gee, 2008)

  • provides for “situated meaning” (Gee, 2008; Van Eck, 2006)

  • motivation – no fear of failure (Gee, 2008)

  • games can be modified for learners with disabilities so they can experience independence (Gee, 2008; Pitaru, 2008)

Overall, as our presentation came to an end, we did concluded that all of these items listed in The Horizon Report are beneficial and useful to teaching & learning.  On fact, upon reflection, we ended on this final thought:

“All of these technologies are already in the average home, so why are they not in our schools?”


Chang, T. (2012, April 27). Non-gamers, here’s why you should care about games [Web log post]. Retrieved from:

Gee, P. (2008). Learning and games. In Salen, K. (Ed.) The ecology of games (pp. 21-38). Retrieved from:

Hashemi, M., Azizinhad, M., Najafi, V., & Nesari, A. (2011). What is mobile learning? Challenges and capabilities. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 30, 2477-2481.

Johnson, L., Adams, S. & Cummins, M. (2012). NMC horizon report: 2012 K-12 edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Pitaru, A. (2008). E is for everyone: The case for inclusive game design. In Salen, K. (Ed.) The ecology of games (pp. 67-86). Retrieved from:

Stevens, R., Satwicz, T. & McCarthy, L. (2008). In-game, in-room, in-world: Reconnecting video game play to the rest of kids’ lives. Learning and games. In

Salen, K. (Ed.) The ecology of games (pp. 41-66). Retrieved from:

Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It;s not just the digital natives who are restless. Educase Review 41(2), 16-30. Retrieved from


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