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Foresight Thinking & Future Scenario Design for Human Beings

Session 4
Christian Long

As a diverse tribe of progressive learner-focused educators, we are well-versed in a wide array of agile 21st Century Learning principles and methods.

We work doggedly and creatively — in every way and setting imaginable — to help our young people to be prepared for the 'future'. It's just in our DNA.

Yet, when was the last time that you were purposefully trained in the same techniques that futurists use to guide leaders and organizations across different industries or societal sectors to prepare for what lies ahead?

Better asked, could you use the same practices professional futurists and foresight strategists use to mentor your own students to make confident decisions about their future?

In this interactive conversation, we will explore and test a series of 'foresight thinking' strategies developed by leading organizations including The Institute for The Future, The Smithsonian Institute, TeachTheFuture.org, and the d.school's K-12 Lab. Our session will use these recognized foresight strategies used by these professional futurists — who understand the mindsets of both youth and educators — to guide research and clients.

Most importantly, it will help us consider ways we might adopt foresight practices and tools to empower our students both for their immediate future and the many scenarios that may define the world they step into next.

Our shared Educon experience will focus on (5) specific areas areas:

Part 1: Activity — "Go Ahead: Predict the Future" — Tomorrow Morning vs Ten Years from Now.

Part 2: Presentation — Trends, Signals, Scenarios (and Urgent Futures, via Jane McGonigal's "Imaginable")

Part 3: Activity — Deploying gameplay and future scenario modeling via "Your Future Thing" and other games/decks.

Part 4: Activity — How might we design a 'futures' classroom project or design challenge that empowers our students?

Part 5: Discussion — Big Picture Thinking: Why should we and our colleagues develop foresight techniques and future thinking skills? What happens if we don't?

Conversational Practice

The session will be balanced in the following ways:

  • 40% - series of 'small group' micro activities
  • 40% - 'small group' / 'full room' conversations and final 'full room' 'how might we…' reflections
  • 20% - presenter talk (simply to introduce context and terms)

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