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30 Trends In Education Technology For 2015

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edtech-trends-2015-fi30 Trends In Education Technology For The 2015 School Year

by Terry Heick

What’s trending up for 2015 school year in terms of education technology?

iPads are still the standard but other platforms are making headway. That should be fun to watch over the next 3-5 years.

Educators are getting better at spotting crap edtech, but waste still abounds. There are even some educators who are against technology in the classroom at all.

Schools are getting better at thinking tech-first (not in terms of priority, but design). But they are still struggling to meaningfully integrate edtech at the learning model and curriculum level.

Apps are getting downright brilliant in spots, but in-app purchasing? That’s getting a bit out of hand, isn’t it? And something has to be done about all of the usernames and passwords.

Below are 30 entirely subjective but hopefully somewhere close to reality takes on what’s trending up and what’s trending down in education and education technology for 2015 and beyond. A handful of these aren’t pure edtech items, but it’s all part of the same ecosystem yes?

Note that this list isn’t an endorsement–meaning this isn’t necessarily the way I think things should be, but rather what they seem to be–at least from my vantage point, right here, right now. Ask me again in August.

What’s trending up, what’s trending down, and what’s in that awkward middle ground of education and education technology? Below are 30 guesses.

30 Trends In Education Technology For The 2015 School Year


Trending Up

  1. Teacherpreneurs
  2. Decentralizing academic standards
  3. Rethinking data in the classroom
  4. Adaptive learning algorithms
  5. Digital Citizenship
  6. Focus on non-fiction, digital media
  7. Depth of content
  8. Experimentation with new learning models (including flipped classroom, sync learning, blended learning, etc.)
  9. Teacher self-directed PD, webinars, streams, etc.
  10. College as a choice
  11. Collaborative learning
  12. Digital Literacy
  13. Focus on learning spaces
  14. Design thinking
  15. Mindfulness, meditation, downtime
  16. Teacher as guide-on-the-side
  17. Gamification of content
  18. Genius hour, maker hour, collaboration time
  19. Workflows
  20. Cloud-based word processing
  21. Mainstreaming + co-teaching
  22. Platform Agnosticism
  23. Librarian as digital media specialist
  24. YouTube channels, Google Chromecast, AppleTV
  25. Apps like Storehouse
  26. 1:1 tablets/devices
  27. Project-Based Learning
  28. Mobile-first #edtech design
  29. The innovation of apps
  30. Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive

Awkward Middle Ground

  1. Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc.
  2. “Accountability”
  3. Professional Learning Communities
  4. Differentiation
  5. Computer coding
  6. Traditional reading lists of truly great literature
  7. Pure creativity
  8. Self-directed learning
  9. Massive in-person education conferences
  10. Colleges in general
  11. Experiential learning
  12. Cultural Literacy
  13. The physical design of most school buildings and universities
  14. Memorization of prioritized content that leads to design thinking
  15. Debate
  16. Pressure on systems
  17. Gamification-as-grading-system
  18. Tutoring
  19. To-do lists
  20. Cloud-based learning
  21. One teach, one drift/prompt/observe
  22. Moving from one OS to another (e.g., from Android to Windows Phone)
  23. Librarian/DMS as bibliophile
  24. Online encyclopedias
  25. Apps like Prezi
  26. Socioeconomic disparity
  27. Mobile learning
  28. Mobile assessment
  29. Honest-to-goodness free apps
  30. iCloud

Trending Down

  1. Mass education publishers
  2. Common Core standards, Race to the Top
  3. Data Teams
  4. Scripted curricula
  5. Draconian district filters
  6. Humanities
  7. Coverage of content
  8. “21st century learning” as a phrase or single idea
  9. The perceived quality of teacher certification & training programs
  10. College as the standard
  11. MOOCs
  12. Agricultural Literacy
  13. The traditional classroom
  14. “Low-level” recall of easily accessed data (facts) or skills (arithmetic)
  15. Lessons that favor “verbally expressive” students
  16. Pressure on teachers
  17. Standards-based grading; pass/fail; student retention
  18. Increased “instructional hours”
  19. Whole class processes
  20. Flash drives, hard drives, CDs, emailing files
  21. Alternative schools/classrooms for special needs students
  22. Apple-centric thinking
  23. Librarian as no-nonsense, ruler-wielding taskmaster
  24. Cable television, subscription-based content streaming
  25. Apps like PowerPoint
  26. Oversimplifying BYOD thinking
  27. “Doing projects”
  28. Mobilizing non-mobile content
  29. In-app purchase gouging
  30. Dropbox

30 Trends In Education Technology For 2015; image attribution flickr user flickeringbrad

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A Robinson

Typical list of items that reinforce the fact that ‘surface’ beats ‘deep’ in the new millenium of teaching. We are going to breed generations of idiots with this kind of thinking. People say teaching hasn’t evolved alongside the other dramatic social changes that have occured (internet etc), that’s because it has been effective for about 4000 years. People need experts to teach them both basic skills and complex ideas. We’re in deep trouble if teacherpreneurs is the way forward…

Chanel White

Dang! I just learned Dropbox too! Will you be updating these lists as Up and Down Trending changes? Thanks!


And where is “digital badges”? Not on your radar yet?

Jerzy Rutkowski

I absolutely agree with this vision. All that I’m recently doing in TEL falls in trending up category, all that I try to omit falls in trending down category. However, with one correction. Namely, Self-Directed Learning, which is the north star of adult ecucation, should be definitely included in the first category.

FC White

According to whom? While I agree with some of your “predictions”—like Common Core and Race To The Top headed for the crapper, where they belong—I think that is just a coincidence.

What qualifies you more than the Carnival Gyspy and her crystal ball?

Just what orifice did you pull this list out of, anyway?


This list seems to be incomplete and what’s missing is a basic rational for why any of the items are considered trending up or down. Any thoughts?

Video Pitch App

Does the “Doing project” in Trending Down is the same topic with Project-Based Learning in Trending Up?


What data proves that #12 Ag Lit is a downward trend? I’d be interested to read any real data to support that claim.

Keith Ozsvath

Sorry, but I still see Common Core trending up in 2015 especially with PARCC testing coming online now for many schools.