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Education Futures: Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?

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Riel Miller's Keynote Speech at ESRC Education Futures conference, Open University, 17th May 2011

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Education Futures: Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?

  1. 1. Education Futures: Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?<br />------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />Riel Miller<br />EDUCATIONAL FUTURES<br />Leadership and Practice<br />The Open University, Milton Keynes, May 17, 2011<br />Artist: HeykoStoeber<br />
  2. 2. Two Big Changes<br />1. In the way we think about the world.<br />2. In the way we organize the world.<br />Fundamental indeterminacy and the creativity of the universe<br />Heterarchy and the Learning Intensive Society murmuration<br />
  3. 3. 1. Embracing Complexity: Changing the way we use the future<br />Photo credit: Mark Schacter ©<br />
  4. 4. The End of Certainty<br />Mankind is at a turning point, the beginning of a new rationality in which science is no longer identified with certitude and probability with ignorance. … science is no longer limited to idealized and simplified situations but reflects the complexity of the real world, a science that views us and our creativity as part of a fundamental trend present at all levels of nature.Ilya Prigogine, The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature<br />… we are now able to include probabilities in the formulation of the basic laws of physics. Once this is done, Newtonian determinism fails; the future is no longer determined by the present…. <br />
  5. 5. The possible is not in the future it is in the past.<br />“We must resign ourselves to the inevitable: it is the real which makes itself possible, and not the possible which becomes real. But the truth is that philosophy has never frankly admitted this continuous creation of unforeseeable novelty.”<br />Henri Bergson, The Creative Mind<br />
  6. 6. Caught in the Probabilistic Stance: Probable, Possible, Plausible<br />
  7. 7.
  8. 8. What difference does it make?<br />After all everyday life goes on.<br />So why bother?<br /><ul><li>It changes what we see.
  9. 9. It changes what we imagine.
  10. 10. It changes what we resist.
  11. 11. It changes what we preserve.
  12. 12. It changes how we preserve what we want to preserve.
  13. 13. It changes the conditions of change.</li></li></ul><li>Then what? If we accept this ontological starting point – how to make it practical? <br />Take an anticipatory systems perspective that encompasses both animate and inanimate anticipation.<br />Distinguish the three ontological dimensions of the potential of the present – three ways of imagining the future and the different methods that are related to each (ontology-epistemology linked).<br />Learning processes that use collective intelligence – action research, reframing, and narrative capacity to question anticipatory assumptions – embracing complexity, spontaneity, improvisation.<br />
  14. 14. What is Futures Literacy?<br />
  15. 15. Futures Literacy: ambient strategic thinking<br />Futures Literacy is the capacity to tell anticipatory stories using rigorous imagining based on sharing depth of knowledge from across the community. FL is a way of internalizing the constant development of our understanding of the potential of the emergent present and of changing anticipatory assumptions.<br />
  16. 16. A. Anticipatory Systems<br />
  17. 17.
  18. 18. Anticipatory Systems View<br />S : object system<br />M : model of S<br />E : effector system<br />Source: Robert Rosen, Anticipatory Systems: Philosophical, Mathematical, & Methodological Foundations., Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1985. Slide by A. H. Louie, Mathematical Biologist<br />
  19. 19. “The main difference between forecasting and scenarios on the one hand, and anticipation on the other, is that the latter is a property of the system, intrinsic to its functioning, while the former are cognitive strategies that a system A develops in order to understand the future of some other system B (of which A may or may not be a component element). … The theory of anticipatory systems can therefore be seen as comprising both first- and third-person information.”<br />Roberto Poli, 2010<br />
  20. 20. B. Three dimensions of the potential of the present<br />
  21. 21. Contingency futures: a tsunami<br />
  22. 22. Contingency futures: winning the lottery<br />
  23. 23. Optimization Futures: Chess, Farming, Assembly Line<br /><ul><li>Non-complex goal, known in advance and fixed</li></ul>Rules are given in advance and fixed<br />Resources are given in advance and fixed<br />
  24. 24. Exploratory futures: imagining the potential of the present<br />
  25. 25.
  26. 26. C. Hybrid Strategic Scenario Method<br />Rigorous imagining – developing analytically rich and imaginative stories of a functioning society as a way to question our assumptions.<br />
  27. 27. Futures Literacy: Decision Making CapacityUsing the Future for Knowledge Creation, Discovery and Communication<br />
  28. 28. Futures Literacy in Practice<br />Level 1 futures literacy<br />Temporal awareness, values, expectations<br />Level 2 futures literacy<br />Rigorous imagining<br />Level 3 futures literacy<br />Strategic scenarios<br />
  29. 29. Anticipatory Methods: Context Makes a Difference<br />Complex<br />Exploration<br />Optimization(chess game)<br />Simple<br />Open<br />Closed<br />Aligning Anticipatory Contexts and Systems: Embracing Complexity – Use Futures Literacy<br />
  30. 30. 2. The Learning Intensive Society Scenario – A Level 2 Model<br />Society<br />Technology<br />Economy<br />Governance<br />Scale of the change:<br /><ul><li>Incremental radicalism transforms everyday life
  31. 31. Within one or two generations
  32. 32. Disrupts most institutions
  33. 33. Alters culture & values</li></ul>Attributes of the model:<br />Descriptive variables<br />Not limited by how it is done<br />Not causal<br />Not path<br />Imagining possibilities<br />
  34. 34. Agriculture<br />Household<br />Craft/Creative<br />Industrial<br />(goods & services,public & private)<br />Compositional TransformationShare of total wealth creation by source<br />AgriculturalSociety<br />Industrial Society<br />LearningIntensive<br />
  35. 35. Learning in every day life is more intense if, in daily life, over a lifetime, people generate (flow) and accumulate (stock) more:<br />know-how<br />know-who<br />know-what<br />know-why<br />
  36. 36. Greater Learning Intensity of Daily Life<br />Average intensity of know-who<br />Average intensity of know-what<br />Average intensity of know-how<br />Average intensity of know-why (decision making capacity)<br />Agricultural Society<br />Industrial Society<br />Learning Society<br />Source: Riel Miller, XperidoX Futures Consulting; rielm@yahoo.com<br />
  37. 37. Moving to the Micro-Level: Complex societal evolution<br />Economic <br />Social<br />Governance<br />Photo credit: Mark Schacter, www.luxetveritas.ca<br />
  38. 38. Systemic Economic Transformation: Changes What and How We Produce<br />Unique creation – what is value?<br />How do we organize value creation?<br />Predominant type of economic activity<br />Scope of transaction systems<br />“Next stage” of market economy – beyond mass-production and mass-consumption<br />
  39. 39. Creating wealth – changing sources of value-added<br />Unique creation<br />Artist/researcher/learner<br />Organisation of Value Added<br />Empoweredteam-worker, informedshopper<br />Mass-production<br />Mass-eraworkerand consumer<br />Relationship of actor(s) to object<br />Low learning intensity<br />High learning intensity<br />Beyond the dualism of supply & demand<br />
  40. 40. Teasing the Imagination:Tools for Unique Creation<br />
  41. 41.
  42. 42.
  43. 43.
  44. 44. First car produced using a “desk-top factory”<br />
  45. 45. Industrial Era<br />Sequential Production, Consumption, Resource Deployment Process<br />
  46. 46.
  47. 47.
  48. 48. Murmuration<br />Starlings Flying in a Flock<br />Imagine Clouds of Unique Creation Flows of Collaboration and Experience<br />Local and Global, Multiple Dynamic Communities - Heterarchical<br />
  49. 49. Social dynamism<br />Describing Social Dimensions of the LIS<br /><ul><li>Attributes of identity:
  50. 50. sources
  51. 51. structure
  52. 52. dynamics
  53. 53. Patterns of social status - affiliation
  54. 54. Ecology of culture - capacity to be free</li></ul>Towards greater heterogeneity<br />
  55. 55. Identity & choice<br />Hetero-geneous/small<br />Learning Intensive Society<br />Scale of social affiliation/identity<br />Mass-era<br />Homo-geneous /large<br />Decisions - what, where, when, with whom, how<br />Less choice<br />More choice<br />Beyond individual vscollective: banal creativity<br />
  56. 56. Describing Governance Dimensions of the LIS<br />Dynamic Governance<br />Capacity to make & implement decisions in all areas of activity<br />Quality of decision making:<br />Extent to which best information is used<br />Transparency of the network<br />Extent of opportunties to experiment<br />Knowing how to learn<br />Towards greater responsibility<br />
  57. 57. Governance: capacity to make decisions<br />Learning Intensive <br />Society<br />Extensive & unified<br />Transparency & access to information<br />Mass-era<br />Limited & fragmented<br />Experimentation & learning<br />Limited<br />Continuous<br />Capacity for reframing and sense making: spontaneity<br />
  58. 58. Different contexts and times?<br />Regime 1 (Agriculture)<br />A changing context for knowledge creation<br />Greater freedom and ambiguity - spontaneity<br />Less manageable – less clarity of goal<br />Regime 3 (Learning society)<br />Regime 2 (Industrial)<br />More manageable – more clarity of goal<br />More reflexivity<br />Less reflexivity<br />New conditions for education leadership and practice<br />
  59. 59. 1 – More university graduates does not increase wealth nor lead to “greater competitive” advantage<br />Why? Three sets of changes:<br />A. The preponderant source of wealth is no longer industrial (tangible or intangible).<br />B. The primary source of productivity increases is learning by doing, i.e. experience that allows for refinement of taste (self-knowledge)<br />C. Unique creation is local, ideas are global and tangibles are cheap<br />
  60. 60.
  61. 61. 2 – Reducing classroom schooling helps to avoid fundamentalism<br />Functions of Industrial School<br />Custody: keeping pupils safe and secure (99%)<br />Behaviouralrules: instilling punctuality, obedience, respect for hierarchy (95%)<br />Cognitive development:literacy, numeracy, test scores (?)<br />Socialisation: internalisation of specific values towards civic life (?)<br />Screening and sorting: reproduces (legitimately) socio-economic differences (95%)<br />
  62. 62. Knowledge Creation and Destruction: Remembering, forgetting and inventing<br />Cover it all<br />Discovery<br />(flow)<br />Living knowledge<br />(stock)<br />Public sector<br />Private sector<br />Net new<br />Preservation<br />Non-institutional<br />Net new<br />Preservation<br />Source: Etienne Wegner<br />
  63. 63. 3 – The wealthiest societies have the highest average age<br />The productivity of unique creation and the quality of decision making capacity both increase, all other things being equal, with experience and better information – this is the wisdom economy – the know why society.<br />
  64. 64. Transformation<br />“Society is now at a stage in history in which one pulse is ending and another beginning. The immense destruction that a new pulse signals is both frightening and creative. It raises fundamental questions about transformation. The only way to approach such a period, in which uncertainty is very large and one cannot predict what the future holds, is not to predict, but to experiment and act inventively and exuberantly via diverse adventures in living.”<br />C.S. “Buzz” Hollings, “Coping with Transformational Change”, Options, IIASA, Summer 2010<br />
  65. 65.
  66. 66. A time for method and methods for our time<br />Why futures literacy now? Because a futures literate society can use:<br /><ul><li>diversification, imagination and inter-dependency </li></ul>to <br /><ul><li>embrace spontaneity, experimentation & complexity
  67. 67. without being overwhelmed by
  68. 68. fear of the risks (perception)
  69. 69. failure (reality of risk)
  70. 70. in order to inspire aspirations consistent with a world where means are ends (values in practice)</li></li></ul><li>How we anticipate matters – it changes the present<br />Thank yourielm@yahoo.com<br />Image: Sempe<br />

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