Though educators are finding smart ways to integrate technology and learning, the road has been and continues to be challenging on multiple fronts. The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, a collaboration between the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking, and the International Society for Technology in Education, takes the birds-eye view and encapsulates some of the significant challenges that must still be addressed and offers the following assessment.
Behind the challenges listed here is also a pervasive sense that local and organizational constraints are likely the most important factors in any decision to adopt — or not to adopt — a given technology. Even K-12 institutions that are eager to adopt new technologies may be constrained by school policies, the lack of necessary human resources, and the financial wherewithal to realize their ideas. Still others are located within buildings that simply were not designed to provide the radio frequency transparency that wireless technologies require, and thus find themselves shut out of many potential technology options. While acknowledging that local barriers to technology adoptions are many and significant, the advisory board focused its discussions on challenges that are common to the K-12 community as a whole. The highest ranked challenges they identified are listed here, in the order in which the advisory board ranked them.
- Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession, especially teaching.
- 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.
- Institutional barriers present formidable challenges to moving forward in a constructive way with emerging technologies.
- Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is undervalued when it does take place.
- Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom and thus are not part of traditional learning metrics.