Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What is an education futurist anyways???

An education futurist is just the opposite of an historian. I study the future, not the past, of learning systems. That is not to say the past is disregarded - trend analysis is a critical part of future studies. I find my inspiration for futurist initiatives and values from the futurist literature OUTSIDE of the education community - business, enviromental, socio-economic, military futurists all have sometime wise and cogent to say about how learning systems need to change.

So what is the future of education, you ask? Futurists speak about three kinds of futures - possible, probable and preferred.

The possible future is limitless - or almost. Fundamentally, I believe it is possible to change all aspects of our learning systems - who is taught, who is teaching, what and where the learning takes place, how learning is acquired and assessed and managed, why we have a system in the first place.

The preferred future is drawn from the choices - a coherent vision of a coordinated system of inputs, processes and outputs. In my vision of a preferred future, we have radically transformed all aspects of our learning systems -putting learning at the heart of the endeavor.

The probable future? Well, a cynic would say that nothing much will change. The forces that argue for the status quo are so strong. But by definition, a futurist is an optimist. I'm optimistic that radical transformation is possible and in places like the UAEuge vision of change and progress, a preferred future is possible.