Six Technologies that Will Affect K12 Education Over the Next 5 Years

Collaborative Environments

More emphasis is being placed on teamwork in many industries as workers collaborate with people from different cultures and geographic locations. As a result, more instructors are emphasizing the importance of teamwork and are utilizing the Internet to enable students to work in teams, develop better communication skills, and learn more about the opinions of people from different cultures around the world.

Collaborative learning environments are very different than traditional learning environments. Implementing a collaborative learning environment in the K-12 classroom requires more than just placing students in work groups, helping each other complete their work. A tradition learning environment in the classroom has the following characteristics:

  • Each person is responsible for themselves
  • No individual accountability
  • No interdependence
  • There is just one appointed leader
  • No group processing
  • Underlying objective is to get the work done

True collaborative learning environments and groups exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Shared goals among members
  • Accountable to the group - not just self
  • Face to face interaction between students
  • Social skills are taught
  • Group members assess their effectiveness at achieving their goals
  • Positive interdependency

The social skills required for collaborative learning in the classroom setting must be taught to students, just other academic skills such as reading and writing are taught. Skills required for effective collaborative learning in the classroom setting include leadership, conflict management, interpersonal communication, trust building, and decision-making.

It takes a concerted effort to move from a classroom culture where students depend almost entirely on the teacher and work individually to one that focuses on collaboration – but those who've successfully implemented a collaborative learning environment will tell you it pays big dividends.

Online Communication Tools

Most students are familiar with modern communication technology, including social networking sites, instant messaging technology, and video conferencing technology. Because of the popularity of communication technologies, more instructors are devising ways to implement them in the classroom, and since communication technology is often free to use, as is the case with instant messaging software, students have the opportunity to communicate with other students worldwide.


Most people, including high school and college students, own mobile phones. These phones are rapidly evolving, with many phones designed to access the Internet and function as GPS systems. Because many mobile phones have similar functions as computers, more teachers will probably attempt to utilize mobile phone technology to educate students in the future.

Cloud Computing

The increasing use of massive networked servers, popularly known as data farms, is making it possible to store large amounts of data. As a result, more applications are being designed to utilize this ability to store large amounts of data. This makes it easier to conduct research, access older media files, and retrieve valuable information.

Smart Objects

Smart objects utilize senor technology to access data and perform specified functions. Many smart objects can sense surroundings and control other computer technology. Although the technologies utilized in smart objects are not new breakthrough technologies, new smart objects are being developed to perform functions only once imagined.

The Personal Web

Since the Internet is full of all kinds of data and information, it can be a challenge organizing and locating it. Individuals can encounter more problems when they seek to locate information they've placed on the web. A combination of technologies utilized together to manage web data is known as the personal web. It enables people to create distinctive web sites where learning and communication can occur.

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