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EDUCATION TRENDS bryan alexander How to Be an Ed Tech Futurist
While no one can reliably predict the future, these forecasting methods will help you anticipate trends and spur more collaborative thinking.
means coping with change. New technologies frequently appear, institutional dynamics mutate and user populations gradually transform. When we grapple with these changes we invoke the assistance of many fields, from computer sci- ence to organizational psychology and even therapy. I would like to nominate an additional discipline to help technologists working in education: the futures field, also known as forecasting.
Humans have been imagining our future for millennia, using techniques as varied as science fiction, betting and divination, but the futures field as we know it today dates only to the mid/late 20th century. That’s when several visionaries working in business and the military, such as Herman Kahn and Pierre Wack, began codifying forecasting as a set of methods. Those meth- ods have since been honed, extensively studied by scholars, supported by professional associations and deployed internationally.
Before we survey those methods, it’s essential to acknowledge several futures problems and limitations. There is no reliable way to predict the future. Indeed, many futurists shun the word “prediction.” Instead they see their work as opening up multiple future possibilities, with a careful eye on event probability and possibility. Moreover, forecasters, like the rest of the
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