Education in the year 2035: future scenarios

February 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Posted in useful links, waffle | Leave a comment

I’d like to tell you about a paper which is possibly the most interesting and thought-provoking one I have ever read.

The next 25 years? Future scenarios and future directions for education and technology (K.Facer & R.Sandford) can be found in the special 25th anniversary issue of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (Jan 2010) and discusses the outcomes of the Beyond Current Horizons programme, a two-year exploration of possible educational futures commissioned by the UK’s Department for Children, Schools and  Families.

The BCH team brought together “evidence reviews and insights from over 100 researchers from disciplines as diverse as computer science, demography and sociology of childhood, as well as consultation with over 130 organizations and individuals from industry, practice and educational beneficiary groups.” and used these to develop six possible future scenarios for education. These scenarios act as powerful tools to promote debate about our current assumptions about education, and the programme has developed a Vision Mapper website with activities and resource packs to help ordinary teachers and policy makers get to grips with them. I was really impressed with this; a key idea is that the future is not fixed and exploring these visions of the future will help us navigate between the possible, the probable and the preferable. hence the need for something more approachable and immediately usable than the 280-page final report or even the 10-page executive summary.  There is also a really neat video that aims to set the scene and help people start asking the right questions.

I can see that this paper and the associated websites will require a good deal of further thought, and that both the University and the secondary school which I help govern should be made aware of it. So all in all it has been a pretty exciting rainy Thursday afternoon.


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