The New Media Consortium (NMC), 21st Century Learning International, and NIST International School are jointly releasing the 2016 NMC Technology Outlook for International Schools in Asia at the 8th Annual 21st Century Learning Conference. This second edition applies the process developed for the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in Asian international schools.


The report identifies nine key trends, nine significant challenges, and twelve important developments in educational technology across three adoption horizons spanning the next one to five years, giving school leaders, educational technologists, and teachers a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The report provides international school leaders and practitioners with in-depth insight into how trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice.

Cover - 2016 Horizon.ISA_border“Now in the 15th year of the NMC Horizon Project, we’ve been able to discover and share groundbreaking educational technology projects happening all over the world,” says Dr. Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC and co-principal investigator for the report. “International schools in Asia have definitely stood out as being among the most innovative and influential. There are so many examples featured in the report that educators and school leaders everywhere can learn from.”

“The report provides educators with an important benchmark for their schools,” notes Michael Boll, Director of Professional Learning of 21st Century Learning International and co-principal investigator for the report. “3D printing and makerspaces, two of the near-term developments in technology described in the report, are increasingly being leveraged by international schools in Asia to spur student creativity and hands-on learning”

“We hope the report sparks conversations that drive more progressive thinking and activities at schools,” shares Ivan Beeckmans, Digital Learning Coach at the NIST International School and co-principal investigator for the report. “In addition to exciting work being done to integrate emerging technologies at schools, numerous challenges persist that require thoughtful solutions. For example, the relevance of current education paradigms is being called into question as higher education and industry leaders have been vocal about incoming students needing soft skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving.”

Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption in International Schools in Asia
The 2016 NMC Technology Outlook for International Schools in Asia identifies “Proliferation of Open Education Resources,” “Rise of New Forms of Interdisciplinary Studies,” and “Shift to Deep Learning Approaches” as long-term impact trends that for years affected decision-making and will continue to accelerate the adoption of educational technology in Asian international schools over the next five years. “Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation,” “Increasing Use of Hybrid/Blended Learning Designs,” and “Rethinking How Schools Work” are mid-term impact trends expected to drive technology use in the next three to five years; meanwhile, “Growth Focus on Measuring Learning,” “Redesigning Learning Spaces,” and “Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators” are short-term impact trends, anticipated to impact international schools in the region for the next one to two years before becoming commonplace or fading away.

Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption in International Schools in Asia
A number of challenges are acknowledged as barriers to the mainstream use of technology in international schools in Asia. “Balancing Our Connected and Unconnected Lives,” “Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities,” and “Improving Digital Literacy” are perceived as solvable challenges, meaning they are well-understood and solutions have been identified. “Aligning Key Stakeholders Toward Innovation,” “Scaling Teaching Innovations,” and “Teaching Complex Thinking” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined as well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Challenging Perceptions of Success,” “Competing Models of Education,” and “Keeping Education Relevant.” Challenges in this category are complex to define, making them more difficult to address.

Important Developments in Educational Technology for International Schools in Asia
Additionally, the report identifies 3D printing, cloud computing, makerspaces, and social networks as digital strategies and technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the near-term horizon of one year or less. Augmented reality, bring your own device (BYOD), drones, and wearable technology are seen in the mid-term horizon of two to three years; affective computing, flexible displays, telepresence, and virtual reality are seen emerging in the far-term horizon of four to five years.

The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed by the NMC and collaboratively conducted by the NMC, 21st Century Learning International, and NIST International School that engaged an international body of experts in education, technology, business, and other fields 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 international schools in the region. The 2016 NMC Technology Outlook for International Schools in Asia details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.

The 2016 NMC Technology Outlook for International Schools in Asia 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)

About The Author

Samantha Adams Becker, Senior Director of Communications for the NMC, is the Director of the NMC Horizon Project and lead writer and researcher for the NMC Horizon Report series, which analyzes emerging technology uptake in various education sectors across the globe. She has an expertise in digital communications, with a special interest in e-publishing, social media, and online learning. In 2013, she taught the first online course ever to exclusively take place in Facebook, which was geared towards training education professionals to integrate social media into their teaching practices. Previous to the NMC, Samantha facilitated the digitization of books and periodicals for several of the world’s largest publishers and was the managing editor of a lifestyle magazine.