February 7, 2017
By staying abreast of change and acting to leverage change, schools can plan for the future of learning for their students.

Innovation at the Bleeding Edge: Exploring the future of learning

Guest post by Mary Tighe

Thinking toward the future can seem like a daunting task. There are many unknowns and it may seem uncertain. But by thinking forward, we can be empowered to impact the future through our work today.

This is my greatest takeaway from working with Katherine Prince and Jason Swanson during my time at KnowledgeWorks.

The two of them work throughout the world to help individuals critically examine current trends and future possibilities, empowering people to impact the future of learning. This week is no different, as Katherine and Jason present during the Association for the Advancement of International Education Annual Leadership Conference and Expo.

Throughout the conference, they will give a keynote presentation, a concurrent session and a deep dive session. Audience members and participants will consider implications of global trends and signals of change, as well as receive tools to explore the future of learning in their own contexts.

To learn more about their presentations, I asked Jason Swanson about one of their sessions, “Innovation @ the Bleeding Edge,” in which participants will use foresight methodology to consider what the future could look like in their international school communities.

What will “Innovation @ the Bleeding Edge” explore?

The session will explore the application of foresight methodology to spot and harness signals of change in service of innovation. Participants will learn the process of horizon scanning, which is an organized process for surfacing novel, value added information, then thinking through what might the potential impacts of that information be and how they might leverage such information in service of innovation in their schools.

Why is this important to consider?

For a variety of reasons. Not only can this process help schools be more innovative, but it might surface changes on the horizon that the school had not considered. I think there is a strong desire for schools to be innovative, and putting processes like horizon scanning in place can really help with that.

Who will this exploration benefit?

Anyone! None of us are immune from change. This session will benefit anyone from administration to teachers in the class room. Change impacts everyone at different levels, so having a methodology in place to spot changes and emerging issues, then moving to harness those changes or issues, is really a good thing for everyone.

Why is this important from an international perspective?

As we transition into a new era, the value proposition for existing organizations and structures will be increasingly challenged, international schools included. By staying abreast of changes and acting to leverage those changes, international schools can ensure that they are providing their students with the most innovative and relevant education. Given the areas that international schools serve, I feel it is important for these schools to take methodologies like we will explore and make them their own. Each school is dealing with its own local resources, so it is especially important for international schools to have their own homegrown innovation practices, as notions of scale might not always work for them.

How can our readers start to explore these topics if they didn’t attend the conference?

All of our forecasting material contains signals of change and elements of horizon scanning, so I would recommend starting there. As scanning sources, I recommend:

In terms of developing internal capacity, I recommend The University of Houston’s Certificate in Foresight program.

Learn  more

If you are interested in exploring the future of learning in your community, learn more about how KnowledgeWorks can help and watch the following video about Pittsburgh’s exploration.

Written by: Guest Post

Our guest posts are provided by teachers, coaches, administrators, students, community partners and more. Keep up with more of what's happening at KnowledgeWorks by checking us out on social media.

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