When it comes to education, the definition of ‘literacy’ is
changing as we begin the 21st century. It’s not just about rote
memorization of dates and facts anymore. We’re living in a world
where computers are allowing various types of social media, virtual
environments and simulations, and games to be interwoven into
complex new tools for understanding and interacting with the
systems in which we live.
One big advocate of that notion is Katie Salen, a game designer and
director of the graduate Design and Technology program at
Parsons School of Design. She’s written books and lectured
extensively on how the creation and use of games can be a
foundation for learning and innovation in our ever accelerating
world. Pushing that vision further, she is now spearheading a
project to open a school based on gaming literacy. Katie shared
some of her thoughts and predictions about the future of games and
learning with us in a text-based interview.
V: What do you do and how is that related to the
K: Most of my current work focuses on the future of learning,
and the role games and social media might plan in transforming that
future. The non-profit I run—The Institute of Play —is
designing a new 6th-12th grade school in New York City, based on
game design and systems-thinking. The project aims to change the
way schools think about learning by designing the school from the
ground up around the intrinsic qualities of games and play. And
while parents might be concerned about the amount of screen-time or
game play an approach such as this might involve, researchers from
fields as diverse as the learning sciences, literacy studies,
computer science, and anthropology are seeing that games can and do
affect how, when, and where kids learn.
Thinking about the future is a full time job, at least for
futurist and business consultant John Mahaffie. With “clarity,
context, and a focus on alternative futures” as a credo, he’s been
helping organizations stay at the leading-edge of their industries
since the mid-1980s. His consultancy, Leading Futurists LLC, focuses on workshops and exercises to build
a foresight mentality and keep innovative juices flowing. Past
clients have included Microsoft, GE, and Nokia, to name a few. He
also authors a blog, Foresight Culture, which offers
tasty nuggets of advice about the techniques and strategies that
can help organizations foster a “culture of foresight”.
Yesterday, John took some time out of his busy schedule to speak
with us about the meaning of foresight, some emerging trends that
may affect your life or business, and why input from a futurist is
never a bad thing.
“Foresight is the act of anticipating change and drawing meaning
from it. Though practices and purposes vary, there is a core set of
tools in foresight, including environmental scanning and scenario
building. Foresight is usually done at the front end of
organization planning processes,” Mahaffie explained, “I favor
working towards becoming a ‘foresight culture’ and devote a blog by
that name to discussing how people can do that.”
This week Garry Golden, Jeff Hilford and I had the pleasure to participate in the latest of The Speculist's outstanding Fast Forward Radio series (audio below the fold). Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon led us through a comprehensive exploration of the year ahead of us and then (of course) encourage a bit of speculation about events 10-30 years out.
Garry shared his energy and transportation policy insights and predictions for 2009 (a must listen), and ventured some suppositions for the future including the possibility of converging on a space-based Dyson Sphere.
Jeff discussed the ongoing rise of social media and the future meme, then offered up a longer-term prediction concerning Actuarial Escape Velocity, aka the point in time that medicine becomes capable of extending the average lifespan quicker than nature can take it from us.
After kindly facilitating our output :), the hosts also got into the speculation game, with Phil tackiling issues including Global Quantification and Cancer Containment (very cool conept), and Stephen venturing the prediction that the first generation of life extension technologies are much closer to reality that we may suppose.
All in all, it was a wonderful brain-fest that I encourage you check out whenever you've got a spare hour on your hands. And be sure to add The Speculist to your RSS as they've got a steady stream of great future content, including their weekly podcast, flowing through regularly. -- (Audio is below the fold.)
Charlie Rose recently hosted a conversation [35 min.] with United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. The conversation covered a wide spectrum of ideas being explored from the 'low hanging fruit' with energy efficiency and new building design tools, to evolution of Smart Grid and anticipatory management of energy flows, new tranmission lines for renewables, emerging carbon pricing markets, cleaner coal systems, regulatory framework for nuclear, and next generation liquid fuels.
And ended with Rose stating 'that the convergence/merger of our scientific know-howand energy' will determine our future. On that note, I wish Chu would have uttered something about 'nanoscale' engineering, and bioenergy (algae/bacteria, and synthetic biology) just to seed these emerging concepts with Rose's audience. But baby steps, I guess!
Energy Revolution Rises from Materials Science and Bio-science, not Geo-Engineering Chu arrived at the right time! The first half of this Industrial Age was based on us being smart geo-engineers, not necessarily smart energy materials scientists. And that is our future- growing and storing our own energy supplies! I am just very thankful that we have a DOE Secretary who recognizes that the 'green revolution' will arise from science, not shopping!Oh, the places we'll go!