Meet Pat Li, a Teacher from the Future

Topics: Future of Learning, Systems Change

I’m getting to live my dream of helping kids navigate toward the best education options for them.

Pat Li
Character from IMPACT: Learning Edition

Pat Li works as a learning journey mentor, a job that would have been described as a classroom teacher back in 2022. In this role, Pat guides learners in designing learning pathways. As an educators’ union member, Pat knows that strong learning outcomes rely on healthy bodies, minds and relationships. Pat connects learners with supportive people and activities and ensures that learners are recognized when they master competencies.

As an educator, Pat wants to make sure that future learning environments serve each student well. They also want to make sure that education systems receive the financial and public support they need to fulfill that mission. At the same time, Pat recognizes that children and youth need many more kinds of resources and supports than even the best education systems can provide. Pat wants to see strong social infrastructure that helps them and their families. Pat also places a high priority on approaches that enable health and well-being – even if those approaches seem untraditional or specific to certain contexts.

Pat Li is an avatar from IMPACT: Learning Edition, a game that uses futures thinking to help players imagine and think critically about changes that could impact the future of learning. A player with Pat’s card in their hand would get further from Pat’s preferred future if impact cards describing the changes below were played.

  • Hide and Sick – What if racist policies continued to cause Black, Native and Hispanic kids to be less likely than either White or Asian kids to enjoy very good health?
  • Content Tsunami – What if constant content consumption took a toll on people’s attention spans?

However, some significant disruptions such as the two listed below could make it easier for Pat’s future aspirations to become reality.

  • Out with the Test – What if a mandate required that standardized tests and letter grades be replaced with competency-based assessments and transcripts within five years?
  • The New Student Leader – What if a state policy mandated that every secondary and postsecondary institution had at least one student serve on an official decision-making body?

Pat would probably view these disruptions as being positive. But these changes could also cause knock-on effects that might complicate how education worked and how well it served each learner or change Pat’s job in ways that might be difficult, at least at first.

There’s a lot to think through when we look to the future. Exploring these kinds of changes from Pat’s perspective can help players think about how multiple changes and their impacts could intersect to shape what education looks like in ten or more years. And looking at Pat’s preferred future alongside those of other avatars can highlight ways in which those impacts could mean different things for different education stakeholders.

Pick up your copy of IMPACT: Learning Edition to unpack the layers of change shaping learning. The game also invites players to write headlines describing what could happen if multiple changes took effect at the same time and to consider your role in authoring the future of learning.

Examine the education landscape and its futures – and have fun while doing it – with IMPACT: Learning Edition.