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Educational, technical and social futures: challenges and findings from ‘Beyond current horizons'

Keri Facer et al. symposium at CAL 09 conference, Brighton

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Gráinne Conole
23 March 2009

Discussion around the findings from the Futurelab 'Beyond current horizons' (BCH) programme. 

Exploring socio-technical change in the future through a broad range of future scenarios

Three main foci
1.    Orientation towards the future
2.    Orientation towards the technology
3.    Orientation towards education

Adopted the foresight plus method
Commission over 60 reviews, 15 events

Some of the outputs from the project are available from the Beyond current horizon's website

5 areas of interest:

1.    Lifecourse and developments,
2.    Citizenship, identities and communities,
3.    Knowledge, creativity and communication,
4.    Working and employment,
5.    Public/private/third sector

Brennan 2006 – unless we believe that education can contribute in some way to a different future for the society as much as for individuals – then the prophet of education is already a false once

Often visioning for the future is often technologically determinist and rhetorical – Glough, 1990

Richard Sandford - Future studies

Talked about some of the methodolical approaches adopted.

Sources of futre thinking:

Government – UK foresight,
Academics – Wells, Bell, Slaughter, Inaytullah

Thinking about the future in a structured way
Modelling – useful for making causal links and alternative directions visible, quality of data and accuracy of causal relationships crucial, many approaches include morphological analysis – www.swemorph.com, systems dynamics and causal loop diagrams, gaming (from Nash, not Warcraft)

Carey Jewitt – investigating possible futures for education
Wide range of topic areas, 20 reviews commissioned, 1 consultative event
Report

Approach – finding productive starting points, untangling technologies, practices and purposes, interrupting and unsettling narratives, disrupting binaries, what it – making new connections

Three review topics  - participation and networks, mobile personalised and portable, forms of literacy

Across these a range of cross-cutting themes emerged – such as authorship and ownership, production of knowledge, the nature of collaboration, changing practices, accessing information, networking, customizing, diversity of locations, changing learning cycles. What are the implications of these for education – changing goals, roles etc.

Challenges
Role of evidence, role of imagination, avoiding binary oppositions, sameness as default, engaging with change, holding uncertainty, factoring in a world we might not want, where to place technology, prioritizing, simplifying complexity.

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