Future Focused Learning

I have been interested in Futures Thinking for awhile and gained a lot of knowledge though the EdChat MOOC that I completed in 2016 and documented here. As I engage in some thinking again through the Disrupt ED Social Learning Experience, I am seeing some of the same themes come through. My reflections on each reading and post always come back to one idea – what does it mean to be human?

For me, the fact that we are human and that we can experience empathy is at the forefront of what I teach and why I teach. The future is tomorrow, next week and when I no longer walk this planet. I need my students to gain dispositions that prepare them to look after each other and the planet. They need to be problem-solvers in order to fix the problems caused by, well, humans…

Last week I was fortunate to be at the launch of Mixiply, a sandbox platform for augmented reality game-making. This platform was developed by a group of Year 7, 8 and 9 students who call themselves The Mini Devs and a company called Theta. Pretty exciting stuff! Marianne Malstrom, the teacher at the heart of the Mini Devs is a great advocate for students learning through creating their own content and this was a great example of this. But what really got me was that when these students got up to speak about the work that they had been doing, they spoke confidently and passionately. Here they were communicating with an audience of parents, teachers and media about their work. Not their school work, their actual work. Their contribution to something bigger than themselves.

So this got me thinking. These kids already feel valued as contributors to society, to the future. How do we get all students to have this sense of connection to their futures. We (we being the operative word here) keep deciding on what we think that they will need in the future, but what do they actually need now? How can “we” help them connect to the future? How can “we” encourage them to want to be better human beings? To want to make a difference? To know that they can make a difference?

New Zealand is my context so therefore understanding our past will help with our present and our future. Connecting with our indigenous ways of being, seeing ourselves as kaitiaki of this whenua, as natural innovators, communicators, discoverers. Let us re-design what “school” is with our students. Let us be human together.

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