Educational Futures Thinking: New book chapter

by | Sunday, August 28, 2022

The philosopher George Santayana (1910) famously stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (p. 284). In other words, the “best” way to prepare for the future is to study the past and through that, identify patterns and trends, and then extrapolate them into the future. There is of course a fundamental assumption here—that the patterns of the past will faithfully extend into the future. It may be argued that this assumption, if ever true, is not necessarily applicable in the tumultuous times in which we live in today. So how are we are educators supposed to think about the future and plan for it?

We (Sean Leahy, Ben Scragg, and I) explore this topic in a recently published chapter in a book titled Uncertainty: A Catalyst for Creativity, Learning and Development (edited by Beghetto and Gaeger). Complete citation and abstract given below.


Leahy, S., Scragg, B., & Mishra, P. (2022). Creatively confronting the adjacent possible: Educational leadership and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In R. Beghetto, & G. J. Gaeger (Eds.) Uncertainty: A Catalyst for Creativity, Learning and Development. Springer.

Abstract: In this chapter we explore the unknown possibilities that lie in the shad- ows of disruptions and innovations known as the adjacent possible. We frame the challenges educational leaders face when trying to prepare for an increasingly vola- tile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world that is propelled into the Fourth Industrial Revolution imbued with rapidly changing and unevenly distributed technological proliferation. Throughout our chapter, we offer strategic mindsets in design and futures thinking to combat the growing challenges of preparing educational systems that are rife with existing deep and complexly interwoven wicked problems for uncertainty. We propose that looking to the past, we can discover insights into meta-patterns and the ways we failed to predict the futures that emerged from previous discoveries and innovations. Using this frame, we discuss the potential of combining the interconnected mindsets of futures thinking and design, not to predict the future, but to prepare our educational systems for the uncertainty of the future.

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Of hernias and hiccups, the evolutionary story

Interesting article in Scientific American about how flaws in our biology reveal our evolutionary history. Steven Gould talked about it in his famous essay on The Panda's Thumb. This is a wonderful argument for Darwinian evolution since it points not to perfection...

Reading Obama, and getting it right!

I rarely if ever blog about politics - though I follow it avidly. I spend large parts of my day reading the news, keeping up with what is going on. Most of my news gathering happens online (the little TV I watch, usually the Daily Show, also happens online). And it is...

Finding the answers to What, When, & Where

Finding the answers to What, When, & Where

Three important questions that we often seek answers for are: WHAT is it?WHEN should we do it?WHERE should it happen? Turns out these questions can be answered just by replacing just one letter—namely replace "W" with "T." Here they are: ThatThenThere Simple. Here is...

E-Leadership & Teacher Development: New article

Mishra, P., Henriksen, D., Boltz, L. O., Richardson, C. (2015). E-Leadership and Teacher Development Using ICT. In R. Huang; Kinshuk; J. K. Price (Eds.). ICT in Education in Global Context: Comparative Reports of Innovations in K-12 Education. Berlin: Springer. pp....

Infinite Regress: New ambigram / visual pun

Infinite Regress: New ambigram / visual pun

You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity... The path that you are to take is endless, and you will die before you have truly awakened — Jorge Luis Borges Borges’ quote of reality being a...

David Jiles plagiarism issue, update

An update on the ongoing saga of David Jiles, Ph.D. For context see this. (Please note the David Jiles referred to in these posts is NOT Professor David Jiles of Iowa State University and Cardiff University.)  I have heard back from some of the websites that had...

Silly me: Narrated poems for our crazy times

Silly me: Narrated poems for our crazy times

Shreya and I created a video a few months back consisting of a series of narrated poems written by her (and to be fair, a few by me as well ). It was just a fun, pandemic-related project created for the Sun Devil Learning Labs (SDLL). These labs were a streaming...

Announcing: Short film competition, cool prize for winner!!

Those of you who have been following this blog know, over the past few months I have made a few short videos with my kids. The ones I am most proud of are a set of three made around the words Explore, Create, Share (you can see them all here). There were great fun to...

TPACK newsletter #34, October 2017

TPACK newsletter #34, October 2017

The latest version of the TPACK newsletter (#34) is now available and can be  found here (pdf). All previous issues are archived here. As always, thanks to Judi Harris for all the work that goes into this.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *