The NMC, in collaboration with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS), Inholland University, Qin AS, and Cellcove Ltd., released the NMC Horizon Report Europe > 2014 Schools Edition. This is the first edition of the NMC Horizon Report that explores technology uptake in primary and secondary schools among the 28 European Union Member States. The executive summary and report introduction are being translated into more than 20 languages.


This report applies the process developed for the NMC Horizon Project, with a focus on identifying and describing emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in European schools. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving European school leaders and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report provides these leaders with in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice, which are reinforced by the “Up-Scaling Creative Classrooms” (CCR) framework developed by JRC-IPTS.

“Teachers, administrators, and policy-makers in the European Union will use the report as a springboard for discussion around important technologies, trends, and challenges,” said Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC. “As examined in the report, addressing the growing influence of social media along with supporting mobile learning and 1:1 environments through large-scale applications of tablet computing and cloud-based environments will be critical over the next year.”

Key Trends Accelerating Educational Technology Adoption in European Schools

The NMC Horizon Report Europe > 2014 Schools Edition identifies “Growing Ubiquity of Social Media” and “Rethinking the Roles of Teacher” as fast trends accelerating the adoption of educational technology in European schools over the next one to two years. The “Increasing Focus on Open Educational Resources” and the “Increasing Use of Hybrid Learning Designs” are mid-range trends expected to accelerate technology adoption in the next three to five years; and the “Evolution of Online Learning” and “Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment” are long-range trends, positioned at more than five years away.

Significant Challenges Impeding Educational Technology Adoption in European Schools

A number of challenges are acknowledged for presenting barriers to the mainstream use of technology in European schools. “Integrating ICT in Teacher Education” and “Students’ Low Digital Competence” are perceived as solvable challenges — those which we both understand and know how to solve. “Blending of Formal and Non-Formal Learning” and “Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined as well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Complex Thinking and Communication” and “Students as Co-Designers of Learning,” which are complex to define, much less address.

Important Developments in Educational Technology for European Schools

The report identifies cloud computing and tablet computing as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. Games and gamification and mobile learning are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; personalized learning and virtual and remote laboratories are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years.

The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engaged 53 experts in education, technology, and other fields with distinctly European perspectives. The expert panel convened around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in schools in the EU. The NMC Horizon Report Europe > 2014 Schools Edition details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.

“Combining the tried and trusted Horizon Project approach with the more recently developed Creative Classrooms Framework is a resounding success,” said Jim Devine, former President of Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin and co-principal investigator of the project. “The call for action is clear, and we need to move quickly beyond the solvable challenges of teachers’ and students’ digital competence towards authentic learning environments that realize the true potential of digital learning.”

“I am extremely proud of this unique collaboration with the NMC, an international consortium of technology and education experts that are experienced in conducting cutting-edge research,” said Dr. Guus Wijngaards, Emeritus Professor on eLearning, Inholland University and co-principal investigator of the project. “The NMC’s process combined with an excellent group of European partners, including the European Commission, JRC-IPTS, and a selection of education visionaries and practitioners, conveys the richness of technology in European schools in a clear and involving way.”

“The NMC Horizon Report Europe > 2014 Schools Edition report is a truly international collaboration among practitioners, researchers, policymakers and industry across Europe along with the invaluable efforts and support from the NMC,” said Øystein Johannessen, Deputy Director of Education for the Nordland County Council and co-principal investigator of the project. “In a complex and changing technology landscape, this report is a must-read for all of us who are committed to using these technologies for better learning and for better lives.”

“The release of this report represents a significant opportunity for European schools, teachers, and education leaders,” said Gavin Dykes, Director of Cellcove Ltd. and co-principal investigator of the project. “Thanks to the work of a highly engaged expert panel, we now have a document that reflects critical issues and key priorities that can and should be considered by EU decision makers as they develop ICT in education strategies.”

The NMC Horizon Report Europe > 2014 Schools Edition is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.

> Download the Report (PDF)

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