2016-02-05_16-30-51

Speculative Futures in Education

It was nice to be connected to The Teachers Guild this afternoon by Dan Ryder. The post I was alerted to dealt with Futures Thinking and had a subtitle of:

We should include futures thinking in schools to help students better anticipate and influence change and to prepare for their future.

Speculative Futures in Education

The topic of futures thinking and specifically the field of Design Fiction (DF) are close to my heart and I realized after commenting on the post mentioned that I had not posted a workshop Speakerdeck from last summer on the topic.  The workshop focused on how we might catalyze and provide pathways for change in education through launching speculative futures incubators in schools.

There is much going on in my Speakerdeck with video so will post the full videos from the workshop in full.

Microsoft: Productivity Future Vision

I like this video quite a bit and as an educator it struck me vividly as I can easily see a near future student’s worklife emerging on the screen. As I watched, I continued to ask “what are we doing in schools to cultivate the dispositions she is exhibiting — to deal with her workworld…..” This video is a wonderful example of design fiction — a creation that suspends disbelief in the future narratives we so often hear about for future work worlds for our students in a well crafted story and video. I wrote this about the video for our schools blog:

How should a school in downtown Chicago prepare kids for the future? When Microsoft Research thinks to the near future they see a world where students, researchers, farmers and business people are not only working together but connected across the world through an internet of things (a network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connected through the internet.)

Although this video is essentially a “design fiction” the story it tells envisions a world to come, based on technologies that are already here. According to Mike Riley, moreInternet of Things Author and Director of Network Administration at GEMS World Academy- Chicago,

“The technologies in this video already exist, just not yet in this form factor. The students here will not only be the young researcher shown in the video someday soon, they will design the systems she is using….”

At GEMS World Academy -Chicago, we know that in a rapidly transforming world, success in further education, employment or society requires individuals to have the ability to see learning everywhere. Today’s students must possess the skills of intuition and have the dispositions necessary to research, design and innovate in mobile and project-based learning experiences. Cultivating these dispositions takes bold, new visionof education and a core belief in what’s possible. Our Students are living our vision of education daily. Whether engaged in an inquiry project that blends music, science and writing, re-mapping the city to make it a better place on a Field Study, or engaged with peers around the world in Connected Learning, we are preparing students now, for the future they will create in the coming years.

Fantasy prototypes and real disruption

The second video clip is a tenacious and as we know true – to – life oration from Bruce Sterling at NEXT13.

A note from a short post on the talk I wrote outlines a bit of my interest.

Though Sterling situates a role for design fiction in the disruptive innovation/innovators landscape (for a VERY talented crowd at NEXT13 ) he does much more in this talk.  His call for a networked civil world is stunning, his scolding questions to the crowd about the facile nature of innovation and humanity even more so.

Interested?

If you are interested in continuing a conversation on DF and education, please do reach out. I would love to hear your thoughts.

More on Design Fiction and Prototyping the Future in another post.

 

GENSLER PANEL: steelemaley4.001

Prototyping the Future

GENSLER Slides: PDF

Anticonventional-Objects-1024x800

Design Fiction and Prototyping Disruption

I was amazed by this Bruce Sterling talk at NEXT 13 that Audrey Waters forwarded. She mentions going over the talk again and again….I can see why:

Though Sterling situates a role for design fiction in the disruptive innovation/innovators landscape (for a VERY talented crowd at NEXT13 ) he does much more in this talk.  His call for a networked civil world is stunning, his scolding questions to the crowd about the facile nature of innovation and humanity even more so.

I realize now that so much of my instructional design has started with  what I could call design fiction (though I have called it theorizing).  My good friend Rob Greco has long discussed design fiction and encouraged me to think more broadly about the space.  I will be doing this more over the year and exploring the obvious nexus between design fiction and the design thinking/making/diy movements afoot in education. This quote from Boulding (1996) keeps surfacing for me…..

Imagining how events could be otherwise than they are is a hallmark freedom and power of human beings. Making social imagination work for us involves us in new concepts and principles, in new ways of using our minds to grasp complexities we do not yet comprehend. Thinking this way helps us construct new social realities both locally and globally. Social imagination is not merely for the sake of of academic knowing; it must include our feelings, and it must include our acting.- D. Bob Gowin in Boulding (1998)

Here are a few links that Sterling mentions about those leading in the design fiction/human-design-innovation space.

Superflux: “is a collaborative design practice working at the intersection of
emerging technologies and everyday life to design for a world in flux.”

The Near Future Laboratory: who’s “goal is to understand how imaginations and hypothesis become materialized to swerve the present into new, more habitable near future worlds.”

Arup Forsight: who “research and raise awareness about the major challenges affecting the built environment and their implications. We also run events to help clients think more creatively about the long term future, and to manage risk and uncertainty more effectively.”

Design Interaction Program at RCA: who “are interested in the social, cultural and ethical consequences of emerging technologies, and this means asking probing questions through design. To this end, we encourage students to consider the implications, as well as the applications, of new technologies, and thus to seek fresh approaches to interaction design – approaches that are meaningful and relevant today. In short, we see this field of design as a fertile way of thinking about the life around us, within us, and in the future beyond us”.