Research & Surveys
Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018

This report informs education leaders about significant developments in technologies supporting STEM+ (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.


The Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018: An NMC Horizon Project Sector Analysis was released as a collaborative effort between the New Media Consortium (NMC), the Centro Superior para la Enseñanza Virtual (CSEV), Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica, Electrónica y de Control at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Education Society (IEEE).


“Campus and school leaders along with practitioners across the world use the Horizon Project as a springboard for discussions around emerging technology,” says Dr. Larry Johnson, CEO of the NMC and co-principal investigator for the project. “By examining these technologies through a STEM+ lens, the report will help educators to think more critically about how emerging technology can engage learners in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics and push the boundaries on how they related to the world around them.”


Twelve emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period, giving educators, administrators, and policymakers a valuable guide for strategic technology planning across STEM+ education. The addition of the “+” in the acronym incorporates communication and digital media technologies in the traditional four areas of study.


The Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018 recognizes learning analytics, mobile learning, online learning, and virtual and remote laboratories as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the near-term horizon of one year or less. 3D printing, games and gamification, immersive learning environments, and wearable technology are seen in the mid-term horizon of two to three years. Finally, flexible displays, the Internet of Things, machine learning, and virtual assistants emerged in the far-term 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 for the entire NMC Horizon Report series that engages 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 global STEM+ education. The Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018 details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.


"The report makes it very clear that online learning has proliferated across all STEM+ fields," said Daniel Torres, CEO of CSEV and co-principal investigator for the project. "Other emerging technologies that appear in the report, such as virtual and remote laboratories and immersive learning environments, are accelerating this progression."


"This sector-based analysis provides valuable insight into the trends and challenges in particular fields and makes even clearer the key cross-sector trends," noted Sergio Martin, assistant professor at UNED and a co-principal investigator for the project.


"The report provides a roadmap toward a near future where ubiquitous computing technologies cultivate learning both in and outside of the classroom," said Russ Meier, IEEE Education Society VP Conferences and project lead. "Working together, researchers and teachers can use the report as a guide to focus their energy on the technological areas that are mature enough to support enriched educational environments today."


The Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018 is available online, free of charge, and published under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.


Download the Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018 (PDF)