As a follow-up to our post on trending K-12 topics in 2013, here are some key higher education and autism topics to watch in the months ahead.
Let us know in the comments section what you think of these 2013 trends!
Massive Open Online Courses
Online courses for college students have been around for a long time, but the availability of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) – free, online courses for anyone looking to expand their learning opportunities – blossomed nationwide in 2012. We, like many others in the industry, expect this trend to continue growing in 2013. According to The New Media Consortium (NMC), which produces annual Horizon Reports previewing next year’s trends in K-12 and Higher Education, “the pace of development in the MOOC space is so high that it is likely that a number of alternative models will emerge in the coming year.” According to an article in The Baltimore Sun, the University of Maryland, College Park is the latest example of an institution adapting, as campus officials watch MOOCs improve learning outcomes while lowering overall costs.
According to market research firm IDC, more than 172.4 million tablets will be purchased this year, up from the firm’s initial estimate of 165.9 million a year ago. The rising popularity of these devices has prompted the NMC to include tablet computing in its forecasted 2013 trends. According to the Horizon Report 2013 Higher Ed Edition, modern tablets combine the best features of laptops, smartphones and early versions of the devices, while offering sophisticated, easy-to-use access to advanced education applications. The large screens, coupled with rich, gesture-based interfaces, make them easy-to-use tools for institutions keen to share content and presentations. The popularity of tablets and other portable devices has also spurred institutions to research Bring Your Own Device programs. As this study from the University of Oregon illustrates, allowing educators and students to use personal devices on campus presents a number of positives, including cost savings and competitive advantages over other schools.
Digital Learning Devices
Autism is a topic we are particularly passionate about here at CB&A – see our many blog posts – and technology is impacting the world of children with special needs as well. As digital learning devices – iPads in particular – have evolved, they’ve been identified as highly effective in educating children with autism. With many sensory features that help some children communicate with their family, friends and teachers, the devices have become a hugely valuable tool. As iAutism illustrates, there are dozens of apps available on Android and Apple devices helping children with autism.