This blog series features highlights from interviews with the winners of Imagine FutureEd, an online student design competition that KnowledgeWorks hosted in partnership with Teach the Future. Excerpts from the winning scenarios, additional reflections from their creators, and educator resources can be found at the Imagine FutureEd website.
Layne Shelton is a high school student from Trigg County, Kentucky. The scenario she submitted to Imagine FutureEd explored some of the downsides of an overdependence on technology in the classroom, such as lack of face-to-face communication and socialization among students and potential vision problems. Ultimately, she concludes that each student learns differently and needs access to tools that work for them. Below is an excerpt of an interview with Layne, edited for length and clarity.
Describe how you came up with your ideas.
I did research and we had guest speakers in our class talk about what the future might be like. I also watched videos and relied on my imagination! We are all uncertain of what the future is going to be like, but that is the fun in the project for me. In the year 2027, I hopefully will have kids of my own who will soon be in school. I will enjoy telling my kids about the project and tell them I helped to shape their future!
You mention that the future is uncertain, which is true. How do you think we can help people make good decisions for themselves and others amid that uncertainty?
Making good choices is a decision made by one single person, yourself. We can try to give guidance and help others make good choices but the decision is ultimately yours. At my school, we have amazing guidance counselors to be there at each need and to help us understand this uncertain world. In my community, we have encouraging pastors and leaders to help the young generation get involved and have good influences. There are numerous resources available to lead us to positivity and good choices.
Do you think that thinking about the future of learning is important? Why or why not?
I believe thinking about the future of learning is extremely important because we need to become prepared for what is to come. As a future educator, I need to think ahead and change with the future. If I am stuck in the past then I am setting my future students up for failure. It is important to stay with the time and become familiar with what is out there.
What are your major takeaways after completing the Imagine FutureEd competition?
My largest takeaway from the competition is that thinking the future is fun! Many would be skeptical that could be fun or useful because there is a large probability that they could be wrong. However, there is a small chance that I could be right and even if I am not, we can still think about all the ways things will change and grow and try to help shape the future.
Katie King is the Strategic Foresight Engagement Lead at KnowledgeWorks. In this role, she manages externally facing strategic foresight projects and partnerships, co-designs and delivers workshops, and contributes to KnowledgeWorks’ publications about the future of learning.