Envisioning the Future
By Kate Conley
Kate Conley is ISTE’s
and the editor of L&L.
Her first career was
as an English teacher
in the San Francisco
Bay Area. She holds
a master’s degree in
journalism and a
bachelor’s in English.
Conley has been with
ISTE for more than 10
With a title like Learning & Leading with Technology, we are always focused on the future, but this issue is specifically
focused on envisioning what’s ahead. With the
future in mind, it is easy to get carried away
with predictions. Do you remember Rosie the
Robot from the Jetsons cartoon? As a child of
the ’60s, I was convinced I wouldn’t have to do
any housework by the time I was a grownup.
OK, yeah, so we may have the Roomba now,
but it’s no Rosie.
Among perhaps the most well-known futurists, Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, was
honored in October on the book’s 40th anniversary. As reported in a Fast Company article by
Greg Lindsay, Toffler has updated his predictions
to include what Lindsay calls “breathlessly blue-sky, cornucopian forecasts,” including ubiquitous
crowdsourcing, proliferating nanotech factories,
and common use of bio implants (think RFID
chips embedded in your students).
While predicting the future can be fun (or
scary), provide food for thought, and even help
us shape our path, we shouldn’t get too caught
up in the accuracy of predictions. Rather, we
should focus on preparing our students to deal
with whatever the future may bring. In the now
iconic but ever thought-provoking video, “Shift
Happens” (a.k.a. “Did You know?”) by Karl Fisch
and Scott McLeod, the filmmakers point out that
we are preparing students today for careers that
don’t yet exist.
For ideas on how to do this, read Chris John-
son’s article (see page 10) about designing new
spaces to better engage students and see Dale
Niederhauser’s Research Windows column on
page 28 for more on future directions for ed tech.