Plotting education Futures

I’m always interested in what others have to say about the future of education, and enjoy pondering the future predictions made by various commentators. So it was with interest that I browsed the Education Futures Timeline today. According to the blurb, this timeline… “provides not only a glimpse into the past and present, but plots out a plausible future history for human capital development. The future history presented is intended to be edgy, but also as a conversation starter on futures for education and future thinking in human capital development.

Although it is very US-centric in its approach, (for instance, the NCLB legislation comes under heavy fire early in the timeline), the predictions that appear on the timeline certainly fulfill the intention of being ‘edgy’ and would most certainly provoke debate and discussion. There’s lots here that I’d love to see contested and expanded to understand how these predictions are arrived at – as it stands it’s simply a list of predictions set out on some sort of time-scale, but lacks

As far as a timeline goes I am also disappointed in how the historical development of education is treated – leaping from Comenius in 1657, to Dewey in 1900 and on to the early reform agendas of the 1980s in three huge leaps. To effectively understand what might lie ahead in the future it is important to have a good understanding of both the historical developments that have got us to where we are, and also the range of forces and influences that have come to bear on getting us there.

This is where I am a fan of the work of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Map of Future Forces Affecting Education that they have published and updated over recent years. Using the Future Forces map as background, discussions about the predictions made in the Education Timeline above would be so much more meaningful and informed.

Leave a Reply