Education and technology analysts say these tech-enabled trends will take off this year.

trends-2015-technologyThink it’s just about online learning? Think again; more like wearable tech and spending on campus IT security.

These are just two major trends technology analysts from IEEE Computer Society, and education analysts from Eduventures, say will shape higher education in 2015.

Looking at technology from a general consumer angle, IEEE’s Computer Society developed specific predictions on the underlying technology issues all IT professionals will need to tackle as a direct result of those consumer-driven trends.

“Researchers have been working to address these issues for a number of years,” explained incoming IEEE Computer Society President Thomas Conte, an electrical and computer science professor at Georgia Tech. “However, 2015 should see real progress in these areas. We are reaching an inflection point for 3D printing, which will revolutionize manufacturing, and the exponential growth in devices connected to the internet makes interoperability and standards critical.”

On the strictly education side, Eduventures’ president and CEO, Tony Friscia, said that while 2014 was a challenging year for higher-ed thanks to continually dropping enrollments, declines in funding for public institutions, rises in operating costs, and an increase in federal oversight, it’s not all doom-and-gloom for 2015.

“In the coming year, the rhetoric will become the reality of 2015 with the proposed reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the continued emergence of new and innovative learning models, the further expansion of the technology sector, and the ongoing need to clearly demonstrate outcomes,” he emphasized.

The 15 predicted trends in technology and higher education for 2015:

[Listed in alphabetical order]:

  1. 3D printing (IEEE): In 2015, a 3D car will be printed, just one of the many uses for 3D printing, which will revolutionize manufacturing by lowering costs; therefore affecting the skills needed in tech operation for those in the STEM fields. Sales of 3D printers are also expected to take off, both in the consumer market and across higher-ed campuses for course and lab experimentation.
  2. Augmented reality apps (IEEE): Mobile apps using augmented reality are already helping the colorblind see colors, travelers explore the unfamiliar, shoppers imagine what they look like in different outfits, and drivers locate parked cars, says IEEE. Apply this technology to campus virtual tours, inexpensive graphics cards and sensors, “and the popularity of applications in such areas as gaming and virtual worlds,” and augmented reality can truly go mainstream, said the Society.

(Next page: Software design; competency-based assessment; much more)


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