Three developments are encouraging. First, the Obama Administration’s new focus on early childhood development directs overdue public attention to our need to get creative here. It will not do to simply increase funding and enlarge the number of slots if “old wine” is going to get poured into the “bottle.” An opportunity exists to add futuristics to Headstart and related programs as never before, and thereby help whet the appetite of young learners for more such “far out” material throughout the rest of their formal schooling. Their expectations can give change agents just the back up long needed in the effort to modernize schooling

The second development involves advances rapidly being made in off-campus schooling, especially of the computer-based variety. More and more young learners are being challenged by high-quality courses on the Internet, and as Higher Education gets on board, the entire matter could achieve ever-higher levels of quality, variety, and popularity. An opportunity exists to develop engaging and rewarding courses in Futuristics, and in the futures of this, that, and the other thing.

 

Finally, the third encouraging development involves the Charter School Movement. Its shakeout period would seem over, and the organizations still standing appear ready to deliver on the potential always inherent in the form. It is time to open Charter Schools nationwide with an explicit commitment to Futuristics, the missing link in the spectrum of school foci that this Movement should be making available to the public.

Book Review: Anticipate the School You Want…

This will appear in the next issue of The School Administrator:

According to Arthur Shostak, author of Anticipate the School You Want: Futurizing K-12 Education, we are living in the most challenging, dangerous and exciting time in human history. He says we can shape our future by learning to be futurists. As professional educators learn the art and craft of scanning the horizon, we should teach our students this skill.

Shostak shares a job forecast for 2015 and includes in the list bio-future therapists, cancer cure enablers, organ cloners, global headhunters, nano-bio-entrepreneurs, anti- terrorism technicians, climate change forecasters, hydrogen marketing managers, solar fuel developers and space market planners.

He wants today’s students to be ready for these jobs. He says they will need to be fluent and able to converse intelligently about topics such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, climate change, conflict resolution and mediation, disaster relief, fundamentalism, geronto-logy, globalism and global citizenship, informatics, nano- technology and spirituality.

As a professional educator for 44 years, I find his forecasts challenging on one hand and filled with exciting possibility on the other. Clearly, it is daunting to think about how every school nation-wide will provide second-language study for every student; art classes that foster artistry, creativity, empathy, resiliency,resourcefulness, risk taking and synthesis; and technology skills that both teacher and student use with ease and facility.

The essence of Shostak’s work is this: Educators must create schools driven by inquisitiveness and imaginative thinking about the future because our students will be the global losers if we don’t. His vision for re-visioning schools is compelling. His book provides an excellent map for redesigning the curriculum and a dandy resource for a spirited community conversation.

Reviewed by Sarah Jerome, superintendent,
Arlington Heights School District 25, Arlington Heights, Ill.

Anticipate the School You Want: Futurizing K-12 Education
by Arthur B. Shostak,
Rowman and Littlefield Education,
Lanham, Md., 2008, 142 pp. with index,
$22.45 softcover

Futuristics

“We did not come here to fear the future.
We came here to share it.”
President Barak Obama,
Address to joint session
of Congress, Sept. 9, 2009

Like you, to help prepare for whatever laid ahead I long ago learn to weatherize my home, and I annually winterized my car. Thinking in a comparable way, over my 42 year career as a college teacher (1961-2003) I tried to futurize both my sociology courses and the universities at which I enjoyed sharing ideas. Students told me over and again they especially appreciated those parts of my courses that explored significant clues to tomorrow – which is where they will spend the rest of their lives.

Now busy enjoying “retirement” my goal is to get you to help me extend this focus throughout the strategic world of K-12 education.

I want to help young learners (pre-K through 12th grade) and their adult mentors (administrators, teachers, school staff, parents, etc.) appreciate they can positively influence their future and that of us all. We shape much of the future in the present, and together we can creatively and steadily help futurize K-12 education – the critical early source of our life-shaping expectations, uncertainties, and Vision. Read more

Idea for Futures Essay Contest

One of the nation’s most successful programs to encourage
students to study history is the National History Day Project. Read more

Four Defining Dimensions of Anticipatory Learning, by Marsha Lynn Rhea

Anticipatory learning is a framework for acquiring the knowledge and skills to understand future possibilities and the ability to collaborate in creating a preferred future. Read more

Educational Futuristics Book Review

Book Review: Anticipate The School You Want: Futurizing K-12 Education
By Dr. Arthur B. Shostak

Fifty-four years after Brown vs. the Board of Education we now have a blueprint for anticipating the school you want. This book is all-inclusive. It is a practical and professional handbook for everyone interested in the future of K-12 education with decentralization being the key to the structure of proactive and successful learning for K-12 education globally. Read more

Anticipate the School You Want: Futurizing K-12 Education

“Arthur Shostak’s new book, Anticipate the School You Want, is an extraordinarily timely addition to the literature. The time is certainly right for a practical tome which builds upon the long recognized need for providing the next generation with the tools to shape their own futures, and Dr. Shostak has provided a cogent and knowledgeable set of guidelines for making that happen. This is not a book for dreamers but for working teachers, with resources, strategies and expected outcomes. Read more

Futuristics in K-12 Classrooms

A challenge for globalization: Teaching young learners how to scan the horizons

Do yourself a favor. Casually ask youngsters in your school system to share their expectations of the future. A few, of course, may reveal dark anxieties, and some may offer only an opaque silence. Most, however, will quickly earn your smile as they invite you to time- trip with them to a Buck Rodgers and Jetsons-like world, a scenario rich in adventure, manageable risks, rococo fun and near-limitless opportunity. Read more

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