Sunday, August 31, 2014

Back to the Future

In my first year at ASB I was part of a critical friends group.  One of the activities we did was a future protocol where we looked into the future and talked about what it would look like in the best case scenario.  The protocol also gave an insight into what it would take to be successful.  In this protocol the various members of the group projected into the future and described what it looked like. The interesting thing was that they had to talk in the present tense in order to describe what "is". From that future position, we also had to look back and describe how it looked when we started moving towards that point.  At that point we had to talk in the past tense and to think about the issues, culture, conversations and so on at the starting point.  Looking back from the "projected present" we had to discuss how we moved from the starting point to the projected present.  At this point we could discuss how, when, who and so on.

In the book Technology Together, Renata Phelps and Anne Graham use a similar protocol when considering an IT vision.  They write about the importance of discussing what education might look like in the future because this sort of visioning process helps people to embrace change and to play a productive role in moving forwards towards the vision that they prefer.  In the Technology Together protocol there are 3 different kinds of futures:

  • Possible futures - by thinking creatively and imaginatively people can consider various future scenarios - both positive and negative.
  • Probable futures - this involves thinking logically and thinking about the connection between the current situation and the envisaged futures
  • Preferred futures - involve a choice between the alternative futures
Both these protocols when used with teachers can lead to valuable discussions and eventually a shared vision for change and ideas of how to make the change happen.

Photo Credit: .craig via Compfight cc

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