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Futures thinking and learning


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I began an exploration of futures thinking and futures studies in 2005, and began a related, if undefined, study of learning as a form of cultural expression in 2006. This presentation was adapted and updated based on an early mash-up of these interests.

Futures thinking and learning

  1. 1. Futures Thinking and Learning Application and Imagination Carmen Tschofen Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium June 16, 2010
  2. 2. “The future has arrived...’s just not evenly distributed.” ~William Gibson
  3. 3. Overton Window S.O.P Outrageous Optimal Outdated Overton Window (of Political Possibilities) Leaders and/or thought-leaders frame the acceptable debate or ambition. ~Mackinac Center for Public Policy
  4. 4. Understanding change (or not) • Change patterns of unprecedented magnitude • Severe lag in a conceptual grasp of change, and in cognitive and affective understanding • Change fatigue
  5. 5. Complexity • “[These changes] demand something more than mere behavior, the acquisition of specific skills, or the mastery of particular knowledge. They make demands on our minds, on how we know, on the complexity of our consciousness.” ~ Robert Kegan “In Over Our Heads: The mental demands of modern life,” 1995
  6. 6. Perceptions of time • Some people are able to “live in future time zones” ~Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd, “The Time Paradox,” 2007 • “Temponormativity”
  7. 7. Futures Thinking Tools, approaches, worldviews • Present choices • Alternative futures • Connectedness • Emergence
  8. 8. “Seeing through” “...the [expanding] types of futures study … are those that are located firmly in our present consciousness and in the type of critical vision that “sees through” the inherited meanings, traditions, values, paradigms, myths, metaphors, concepts and guiding images of various kinds that are embedded in everyday language...” ~ Ron Reed/Noel Gough, “Curriculum Visions,” 2002
  9. 9. Trend: Rapid/Accelerating Change
  10. 10. Trend: Information abundance
  11. 11. Trends collision
  12. 12. Emerging Issues •What “it” means •How we talk about it
  13. 13. Emerging issue: Personalization • Is not differentiation • Is not individualized, social or personal learning • Has a moral purpose: emancipation of the learner “May conflict with profound, longstanding social process.. [and] runs up against the strengths of beliefs held especially by teachers about traditional modes of knowledge transmission.” ~ Organization for Economic Co- Operation and Development, 2007
  14. 14. Alternative paths
  15. 15. Learning conversations Diego Leal Fonseca on
  16. 16. Alternative time frames John Moravec and Pekka Ihanainen, “Alternatives to temponormative pedagogy”
  17. 17. Emerging issue: Decentralization • Capacity development • Process-oriented and/or geographic/structural • “Proposals for decentralization usually threaten those persons and groups who benefit from the current governance structures.” (UNESCO, 1999) • Going beyond: disintermediation and disaggregation
  18. 18. Disintermediation Photos: Patrick Charles, huggingthecoast and roadsidepictures on Flickr
  19. 19. “Piggly Wiggly” learning...
  20. 20. Emerging issue: Technology Fundamental “futures thinking” errors • Presentism: New tools for usual tasks • Sunk investment: Using tools, ignoring affordances “Technology [should not be] a band-aid to keep kids in a building while still exposing them to the world.” ~ Jamias Cascio
  21. 21. Play • Decentralized and personal learning most resembles... play. Patterns, rhythms, seeking and joining. • Things that make us most human in a technological world: play, intuition, imagination, futures thinking capacity. John Seely Brown- Reimagining Dewey
  22. 22. Implications • For gifted kids • For teachers • For parents “You don’t adapt this culture [of education], you replace it… and it isn’t pretty... If you ask people to change, they simply change how they label [what they’re doing].” ~ Dr. Richard Elmore, Harvard University
  23. 23. Examples: Futures approaches STEEP • Social • Technical • Environmental • Economic • Political Integral Futures or Causal Layered Analysis • litany • social causes • discourse/worldview • myth/metaphor
  24. 24. Examples: Futures methods Tension pairs/ quadrants Scenarios NA Futures Wiki Opening Education: 2020 and beyond Narratives Wheels/Maps Education Futures KnowledgeWorks Foundation
  25. 25. Examples: Potential futures What happens when... • Students don’t have to be in your classroom • Learners have integrated “6th sense” and/or knowledge-base devices • Learners’ (and parents’) perceptions of value or convenience of formal education drop as costs spiral
  26. 26. Learning Futures: Resources • 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning • The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (MacArthur Foundation, 2010) • Futurelab: Innovation in Education • Beyond Current Horizons: Education Beyond 2025
  27. 27. Carmen Tschofen Robbinsdale, Minnesota Twitter: ctscho Skype: ctschof