Future Challenges Institute

Since my last post I’ve gotten most of the way through writing a book (i hope), gotten accepted to a PhD program, and have started a new position at the University of Windsor’s Office of Open Learning. I am now the Learning Specialist: Digital Learning Strategy and Special Projects. So far – I’ve been having a pile of fun in this role. One of the first things I was asked to do is put together a model for a summer education event. This I have done working with my colleagues here at the Office in Windsor.

The Future Challenges Institute is going to be held on the 11th and 12th of August in Windsor Ontario Canada. You are most welcome to come.

Futures thinking, if you’ve never gotten the chance to try it, is kind of like the opposite of a traditional academic approach. It’s in no way meant to replace it, but rather give a group of people an opportunity to look at the challenges they are facing from a new perspective. Instead of looking at all the research that has been done by your excellent colleagues, you take a look at what trends seem to be happening and ask yourself what would happen if those trends became pervasive. Here’s an example of a part of that process from a session I ran ten years (omg ten years?!?) ago. Also, a nice introduction by Fast Company.

As I started the research for this process, I was fortunate to come across the excellent futures work that has been done by SSHRC. If you’re not familiar with them, they are the research/granting agency in Canada that supports the social sciences and the humanities. In looking through their work we realised we could build on the work that they’ve done by looking at their societal challenges through the lens of education.

We are looking for up to 60 interested people to come work with us so we can think about what responsibility education has to address the challenges facing our society today. The four tracks we’ve decided to tackle are:

  • The Emerging Asocial Society
  • Working in the Digital Economy
  • Truth Under Fire in a Post-Fact World
  • Building Better Lives Across the Gender Spectrum

You’ll note that these challenges aren’t ‘challenges in education’ but rather things that education contributes to, in one way or another.

I’ll post more on this as we get closer to the event, but for now I just want to invite you all to put us in your calendar. ๐Ÿ™‚

You can check things out at futurechallenges.ca

Author: dave

I run this site... among other things.

7 thoughts on “Future Challenges Institute”

  1. Wow, Dave. Canโ€™t wait to hear more about it as we are moving in the same direction here in Brazil through the PD company I run called amplifica. Would love to followup on the idea as we are considering having a leadership academy for educational leaders. This post was like sent from the univers โค๏ธ

  2. You could check out the Beyond Challenge Horizon project in the UK, 2008-10 I think, run by Keri Facer. You may need wayback to find all the relevant material online, or I can help.
    One conclusion from this work, via Keri, was the need to teach futures thinking as part of the everyday curriculum. and not quarantine it away in high level Delphi processes and expert panels.

  3. Hi Dave,
    The Future Challenges Institute sounds like a great initiative.
    You may find the “Teach the Future” site useful. It is a set foresight tools and exercises for teachers to introduce their students to foresight.

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