Year in Review: 3 Big Education Technology Trends in 2012

Year in Review: EdTech Trends in 2012

We’re winding down quite a memorable year in edtech. From massive online courses to free digital textbooks, education underwent some huge changes in 2012. See which three trends we’re most excited about below.

Open Textbooks

With a 812% increase in the price of college textbooks since 1978, it’s no wonder students and educators are searching for more affordable alternatives to learning. Openly licensed materials, like articles, videos, essays, and more, available online has made the prospect of affordable learning a reality for more people. When compiled in digital textbook form, Open Educational Resources (OER) provide the best means for students, educators, and self learners anywhere to expand their knowledge on everything from astronomy to music to zoology.

This year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills that will allow for the creation of free, openly licensed digital textbooks for 50 of the most popular lower-division courses offered by the state’s colleges. As California embraces the wide world of open textbooks, other states, institutions  and companies are also expanding the reach of OER in education. Boundless, for example, created free textbook alternatives for popular college intro classes, like biology, American history, and business.

Flipped Classrooms

In a flipped classroom, students learn lessons at home with the help of videos or other instructional materials and spend their valuable classroom time doing assignments with help from the instructor.

Though the term “flipped classroom” wasn’t a new one this year, this trend hit its stride in 2012. With resources like MOOCs, open textbooks, and other open resources, like Khan Academy, there’s no doubt that flipped classrooms had a great year. Edtech blogger Audrey Watters writes on flipped classrooms:

One of the great benefits of the growing popularity and adoption of the “flipped classroom” this year…is that it asked teachers and students alike to evaluate how we use the time in the classroom. Are we lecturing? Is there discussion (peer-to-peer, not just student-to-teacher)? Is there hands-on learning? How does technology (re)shape the way we teach and learn? What happens online? What happens face-to-face? How much listening — and clicking and pausing and fast-forwarding and rewinding — do we expect our students to do?


2012 was, in many experts’ eyes, The Year of the MOOC. These massive open online courses took hold of edtech enthusiasts and motivated learners everywhere. From computer science classes on Udacity to poetry courses on Coursera, there was no shortage of choice when it came to online learning. The edtech community buzzed this spring when MIT, a pioneer of open courseware, announced its partnership with Harvard for edX to bring education from these institutions to learners around the world. In 2013 we’re curious to learn more about the students behind MOOCs.

Stay tuned to see what trends we’ll be watching in 2013.

Happy New Year!

Photo by Flickr user flickeringerbrad

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  • peruguswathi

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  • Steve Maloy

    5 years passed, so what do we have now? We have a huge open textbooks base. But what else from this list? MOOCs are not so good as it was, so people almost rejected it. Flipped classrooms also did not live up to expectations. So we can say that education technology trends of 2012 were not quite successful. But on the other hand, we have webinars that can be the result of MOOCs and flipped classrooms. Huge open textbooks base still helps teachers and students. So we can say that 2012 definitely gave all of us such an important education trends.
    Steve from Essay Catcher service.