Meet Cruz Gómez, a Student Motivated by Social Connections

Topics: Future of Learning, Systems Change

A lot of kids are more focused on what they enjoy than on school.

Cruz Gómez
Character from IMPACT: Learning Edition

Cruz Gómez is an easygoing high school sophomore who is eager to be done with school. Voted “Most Likely to Become an Influencer” by his peers, he would rather create digital content than study. Cruz is proud of his Mexican heritage and is bilingual. He teaches elders in the community to recycle and compost. He will join activities, including rallying others to support climate actions, if his friends also participate.

Like many kids his age, Cruz is pretty focused on recreation, leisure and play. Plus, he wants those things to be part of his future and hopes that kids younger than him have fun options regardless of where they live. With his deep sense of connection and his volunteerism, Cruz also wants community and culture to be strong as people move forward, together. He is also really concerned about climate and environment and hopes to see a future where people have brought our interactions with the planet into better balance.

The climate crisis is one of the three main disruptions in the KnowledgeWorks forecast Imagining Liberatory Education Futures. Learn more about the disruptions and their role in how education’s futures could unfold, depending on the choices we make and the goals we want for our communities.
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Cruz Gómez is an avatar from IMPACT: Learning Edition, a game that invites players to flex their creative and critical thinking skills as they explore what might be next. A player taking on his perspective would pay attention to the kinds of changes described below.

  • Pigeon-Holing the Chicks – What if young children’s time and physical movements became more directed, leaving many children with less time to play?
  • “Within-trification” – What if communities prevented gentrification by adopting Pittsburgh’s model of leveraging existing assets to improve conditions for current residents?
  • Climate Grief – What if depression, anxiety and mourning over climate change created widespread mental health challenges?

Such changes would likely have mixed results for someone standing up for Cruz’s preferred future. Cruz might find himself directly affected by them. He might decide to focus some of his influence on helping others navigate the resulting challenges.

Most future possibilities present both challenges and opportunities – and often both at the same time. Considering the future of learning from Cruz’s perspective can help players think through that complexity by considering how one thing could lead to another – or how the same development could look different for different people or communities.

Find out more about how IMPACT: Learning Edition can help you flex your thinking and examine your own role in shaping the future of learning. Cruz could end up being an influencer. So could you.

Learn more about IMPACT: Learning Edition and purchase a copy or two for your learning community to help you understand how your community’s education system works and to spark conversations about the future of learning.