Day 5 futures education – sealing the deal

The last day of a very interesting course. It can be a challenge to have a successful second to last day to any course. The results that we came to at the end of thursday’s class would have been more than acceptable for the event and I encouraged the team to commit to something further… we committed to creating a publishable document.

Wiki page

We started off the morning by doing a course review. I have had bad luck with leaving a course review until the last minute of the last day (or after the last day) so i took some time in the morning to check with the students as to how they felt about the course… I asked three questions and two of them produced results that will be a useful reflection on the course… the other was badly worded/explained by me and led to 5 identical statements from the students.

Points of clarity – things that worked or helped encourage moments of understanding

  • the methodology for the freamework was helpful, a comment, really on the course design actually working (thankfully)
  • collaboration. Students really enjoyed creating the curriculum together.
  • OECD document to provide a model for creating a scenarios. I waited ’till day three to show it, but it provided valuable structure given the short timeframe
  • Course gave them an idea of what pressures will hold us back for the future
  • distinction of prediction and futures thinking
  • what we did here was shared online and we got responses from other people doing the same kind of work
  • no homework πŸ™‚
  • role playing exercises where we took scenarios and built skits
  • the blog updates day 1-5 offered a reminder of the day before and many students suggested reading the blog post was a very useful way to start the day
  • the positiveness in the chaos model. They felt comfortable with the iterative nature of the course
  • hurray for rhizomes. They really did like the community curriculum model. this makes me tres happy.

Room for Improvements

  • Trends from other countries would be useful to provide context for Singapore
  • Working through the iterative mapping exercise was confusing for some students while others suggested that it offered room for a different perspective
  • Course is very compressed in four days, something we all agreed on.
  • More links out to other places to jump off with futures thinking. Even though we didn’t have alot of time to cover those resources these would have provided an opportunity for independent study
  • More collaboration with other groups maybe a concurrent course
  • More look at the nature of trends. how they start, how they die.
  • more switching of groups? I decided to stay with the same groups throughout the course. A decision with benefits and drawbacks

We watched Martin for encouragement and inspiration and…

I then had the students create a series of stories related to their given scenario. It was only the second time where each student was responsible for their own work (something we didn’t have a terrible amount of time for) but a useful activity. They were to be stories from the years 2015/2020/2025/2030 giving some context to the way that learning would be conducted in that time period.

We spent the afternoon creating a solid model that each of the scenarios were to follow in order to make the wiki make sense, and going over bits and pieces of the scenarios in order to make them as coherent as possible.

I’m going to take the work that’s been done over the last five days and build it into one massive document that people can take a look at both the way that the course was constructed but also to hopefully take the work done by the students here to help them in their own thinking about the future of education.

A good day and a nice ending to what has been an excellent learning experience. Sometimes we get offered the privilege to be part of something very special… this is one of those time for me. Thanks muchly to each and everyone one of the 19 of you. You brought me into your work, introduced me to your lives and trusted me to help guide us through. πŸ™‚ I think we did pretty well

Student Scenarios

  1. To infinity and Beyond
  2. Common Room Learning
  3. The Network is the Class
  4. Market-Driven Credentialization
  5. Business as Usual (TableThree)

And now… back to Canada.

Day 3 Futures education course – decision making

This was a discussion of the first two of Gary Klein’s ten claims about improving performance from his quite excellent book “streetlights and shadows” (buy it. buy it) . It should create an interesting platform for discussion regarding the nature of biasing of decisions. I created a powerpoint presentation to go through that process.

  1. Teaching people procedures helps them perform tasks more skillfully
  2. Decision biases distort our thinking

I started the class by handing out a sheet of paper to each group with four questions on it. There were two different versions of the sheets.

One version had the question

  • Is Canada older or younger than 2000 years old?
  • How old is it?
  • Am I older or younger than 10 years old
  • How old am I?

The other had similar questions… but Canada was 15 years old and I was 62 years old

As expected the Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic led to much higher guesses about the age of Canada in the group that got the 2000 years and lower in the group that got the question with 15 years. The about my age were far more accurate (makes sense) but still showed traces of anchoring and adjustment. We went over the implications of this, and talked about how 1) this happens for some very normal reasons and 2) there are simple strategies to avoid this kind of difficulty.

  • Collaborate
  • Develop expertise

The position i’m going to take for the duration of the course (unless the students manage to convince me otherwise) is that the decision bias tends to bias us towards stuffing people full of facts. One could argue that one of the responses to people making bad guesses is to fill them with the ‘actual’ answers. “inform” people of the age of Canada and then they wont guess wrong. Understanding that the guesses aren’t bad… that they are actually just the use of available evidence… is critical to thinking about what we want to learn. I may be leading the witness on this one… but I am not ‘unbiased’ either.

What could this mean for education?
If we believe the results of this heuristic a normal response is give students more ‘knowledge’.
How does this relate to some of the trends that we were seeing yesterday?
How do we create our schools so that students can be good ‘biasers’?

Teaching people procedures helps them perform tasks more skillfully

Lets play β€œthis can be taught by a process.” Team is challenged to come up with first a simple task that can be accomplished by the building and teaching of a process. We had things like “pick up a pen off the floor”, “make noodles”, and “back up your harddrive”. Even in this exercise we saw a mixture of tasks that could be given as a process and others that required skill… “how do i know if a noodle is ‘cooked'” “how do i know what files to backup to the hard drive?

Then the teams are challenged to think of a complex task and a process for it. I asked the students to teach one of the tasks that they try and teach to their students. We did some research processes for gravity, we tried to land a plane, we did the Heimlich maneuvre. Each time we tried to dig under the process to try and find the complexity… the decision making that the students were learning. Being rigourous during an experiment to ensure good results. When did the start to land the plane? How do you control a person who is choking?

What does THIS say about education?

With this idea of looking under the hood of our normal practice we went back and wrote comments on the day 2 responses that we got from our colleagues in North America. Excellent discussion really.

First after break with watched David Wiley, and talked about the implications of his ‘position’.

We started the afternoon with a round robin iterative mapping exercise. The students pulled from the trends from the day before… adding those that occured to them during their reflection on the blog comments, and tried to create patterns. After 15 minutes they passed their sheet to the next group without discussion or explanation and that group tried to make sense of those patterns. Here’s a 2 min video of my awesome students at work

We finished off the day trying to find two ‘axes of tension’ to start creating narratives for our scenario planning. There are still about 20 of them on the white board in the classroom as we had quite a bit of debate about the format… Hopefully we can get those whittled down this morning. See page 9/20 in this excellent pdf from GBN on how the axes of tension work out for scenario planning. Till tomorrow.

Here’s my morning video reflection before the class started πŸ™‚

Day 2 futures education course – Trends

Would love your feedback on the list of trends created by my students. I have had a strictly advisory role in the creation of them… in the “i fight but don’t win” kinda way. A pretty solid first day from my perspective. We made a list of trends, we brainstormed, and rebrainstormed and stormed some more. This post describes the work done during the day and then lists the trends that the students came up with. Feel free to add more trends or just make comments.

I started the day by creating a powerpoint of their responses from day one showing them (if they didn’t know) that with all their ideas combined, we could teach a course. community. as. curriculum.

These trends are the meat of the whole exercise. We’ll be using them to talk about our decision making and then going over them to rate them, to cross-examine them, to think about how much control we might have over them and then, finally, what effect they may have on the future.

Intro to trends… what are we looking for in the first place?
We first need to create boundaries around what we mean by trends, by drivers and develop some language to talk about them.What does a trend look like? What would an example of a trend look like?

Brainstorm no. 1.
First list created by students in a brainstorm session. Two students at the board, me stomping around rallying the troops. We did the first list on the white board and then moved to the web. One student suggested that we start with etherpad… which worked very nicely. The students cowrote the early draft of the trends… i’d guess we had close to twenty of them after the first brainstorming session. In retrospect it might have been better if i’d been on the marker encouraging a bit more ‘statement’ and a little less ‘two words’. It might have saved in the editing process.

Insert-able exercise
Future of Singapore in 2015. We watched this video (with the sound off) and tracked the trends that were being described in it. We added the ones we didn’t have to our list…

What is actually different and what is superficially different?

Brainstorm no. 2
Is the list relevant? Is there something else out there? Lets take this list and compare it against the outcomes that are mentioned in the department of education’s future document. What are the trends that are driving us in this direction? Which are the critical trends, which are less involved? Create a new list of things missed in the first list.

Interlude and brainstorm 3. a walk on the wild side.
What potential wildcards are on the horizon?

We watched the apple video from 1987. Talked about some of the comparisons between this and the earlier video. What is knowledge in this world? What does it mean to ‘teach’.

Reviewed list with the group

We added numbers to the trends… a painful process that forced us to demarcate between explanations, thoughts, reasonings and trends.

Review and grades
We then went back into our groups, took 11 trends each and graded them for inevitability and for their impact on education. The groups were also responsible for making them tidy. As you can see from the trends below, i should have said more about format πŸ™‚

Which seem inevitable or pre-determined?
Which forces are most likely to define or significantly change the nature or direction of education?

    big list

  1. The size of computers and other devices are becoming smaller and more portable
  2. The power of computers and other devices are increasing
  3. Capability has become portable.????
  4. An increasing amount of computing tasks will be done on mobile devices, such as PDA, mobile phones, tablet PCs, etc., over desktop type computers
  5. Real-world learning objects are increasingly tagged thus becoming available to the mobile learning community
  6. Work and Play will become increasingly mobile (‘on-the-go’) through the use of multiple resources besides equipment and space
  7. Tied with accessibility. Concerns are two ways, you have more access to the public and the public has more access to you due to portable devices.A, [E] C: open coursewares
  8. Advantages: More work can be done on the go. A,C: efficiency, docs can collaborate w others
  9. Disadvantages: More work is expected to be done on the go (regardless of where you are, what you are doing).A
  10. Portability will lead to learning outside of confined spaces and common schedules towards a more user-determined environment
  11. People expect instantaneous response and feedback to work and assignments
  12. Greater wireless connectivity.
  13. Greater wireless power
  14. More collaborative learning
  15. Trends towards more affordable means of collaboration
  16. Better language translation capabilities
  17. Trends towards outsourcing
  18. People increasing using multiple identities
  19. Growth in Social Networks and use of social networks in professional life
  20. Increased use of Virtual Reality technologies. More adoption in Education specifically healthcare simulation etc.
  21. Trend is towards democratisation of information and human activities, including learning
  22. Realtime time, multiuser communication across borders
  23. Copyrights: Increase in the use of Creative Commons license and it becomes easier to remix content
  24. The trend is towards less use of paper.
  25. The trend is towards more comfortable reading experience off the screen.
  26. The trend is towards more efficient and more secure transmission of data.
  27. The trend is towards more accessible information online.
  28. The trend is towards a more realistic and richer virtual reality experience.
  29. The trend is towards a more pervasive availability of 3D experience, from entertainment to education.
  30. The trend is to attempt to pack in more activities at the same time.
  31. The trend is towards a better ability to scale information larger or smaller.
  32. The trend is towards faster (real-time) online translation.
  33. The trend is to make more location based services available.
  34. The trend is towards easy access to online services e.g. e-doctor
  35. The trend is towards lifestyle-based mobile phone rather than function-based.
  36. The trend is towards technology-enhancing human abilities (eg, Spellchecker, Online Dictionary, Thesaurus.)
  37. Convergence – More devices are moving towards being multifunctional (a mobile phone to call, email, IM, tweet, Google, etc)
  38. Unstructured Learning Environments – People are learning out of the traditional structure by seeking out information on their own instead of having it delivered to them by conventional means (schools, teachers, etc.)
  39. Collaborative Learning – Learning is becoming more collaborative (discussion boards, online forums, social bookmarking, etc.)
  40. Companies like Google and Delicious are organizing data on the Internet for users to find more easily.
  41. People are becoming more trusting of information found on the Internet
  42. New laws and regulations are being drawn up by the Government with regards to the Internet and online communities.