7 Ways to Spot Tomorrow’s Trends Today — from the World Future Society’s Forecasts for the Next 25 Years

In the more than 40 years since the World Future Society was founded, futurists have developed a range of techniques to study the future. Here are a few techniques futurist use to spot new opportunities and potential problems. These methods give individuals and organizations an edge to help them succeed in a fast-changing world:

  1. Scan the Media to Identify Trends—Futurists often conduct an ongoing and systematic surveys of news media and research institutes. These surveys help spot significant trends and technology breakthroughs. Futurists call this environmental scanning.
  2. Analyze and Extrapolate Trends—After the trends are identified, the next step is to plot the trends to show their direction and development into the future. Trend analysis and extrapolation can show the nature, causes, speed, and potential impacts of trends.
  3. Develop Scenarios—Futurists often describe the future development of a trend, a strategy, or a wild-card event in story form. These scenarios can paint a vivid picture that can help you visualize possible future developments and show how you can prepare effectively for future risks and opportunities. Scenarios help you to blend what you know about the future with imagination about the uncertain. Scenarios help you move from dreaming to planning and then to accomplishment.
  4. Ask Groups of Experts—Futurists also conduct “Delphi Polls” which are carefully structured surveys of experts. Polling a wide range of experts in a given field can yield accurate forecasts and suggestions for action.
  5. Use Computer Modeling—Futurists often use computer models to simulate the behavior of a complex system under a variety of conditions. For example, a model of the U.S. economy might show the effects of a 10 percent increase in taxes.
  6. Explore Possibilities with Simulations—Futurists create simulations of a real-world situations by means of humans playing different roles. For example, in war games, generals test out tactics they may later use on the battlefield, or corporate executives can explore the possible results of competitive strategies.
  7. Create the Vision—Futurists help organizations and individuals systematically develop visions of a desirable future. Visioning creates the big picture of the possibilities and prepares the way for goal setting and planning.
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How will technologies like AirPlay affect education? I suggest 24x7x365 access on any device may be one way. By Daniel S. Christian at Learning Ecosystems blog-- 1-17-11.


Addendum on 1-20-11:
The future of the TV is online
— from telegraph.co.uk
Your television’s going to get connected, says Matt Warman

Surviving the future is an unsettling glimpse into the human psyche right now, as our culture staggers between a fervent belief in futuristic utopian technologies on the one hand, and dreams of apocalyptic planetary payback on the other. Thought provoking and visually stunning, Surviving the Future looks at the stark and extreme choices facing our species as we prepare ourselves for the most challenging and consequential period in our history.”

— from http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/doczone/2010/survivingthefuture/


As seen as CBC-TV on Thursday Oct-21-2010

Surviving the Future -- as seen on CBS on 10/21/10


Surviving the future


— originally from http://geraldcelentechannel.blogspot.com/2010/11/surviving-future.html

From DSC:
Although I don’t agree with many things in this piece, it’s important to reflect upon some of the sometimes exciting and sometimes disturbing things in this piece. Looking at some of the enormous challenges and potential directions ahead of us this century, it’s all the more important that our hearts are hearts of flesh, not hearts of stone!

UMC packs 3-D visuals into cutting-edge research lab — from grandforksherald.com by Ryan Johnson

$145,000 virtual immersion lab creates realistic 3-D simulations
Think virtual reality, only more realistic. Add to that cutting edge-technology and the ability to interact with and walk around 3-D holograms and you get the newest addition to the University of Minnesota-Crookston, complete with special effects impressive enough to put the 2009 blockbuster film “Avatar” to shame

— Dr. Adel Ali from grandforksherald.com

The Coming Golden Age of Open Educational Simulations — from Mike Caulfield

From DSC:
Thanks Mike for sharing this information, these lessons and reflections. Although your posting stopped me in my tracks, it was good to reflect upon. It made me wonder about such things as…

  • If we could get a billion from the fortunes that Gates, Buffett, and other billionaires are donating, could we create open learning objects/courses and make them available worldwide? Or would that not work?
  • Were you all ahead of your time?
  • Where does this leave us? That is, is it a wise goal to create interactive, professionally-done, engaging, multimedia-based applications? If so, under what conditions?
  • If we pursue this goal, who and how should we do it?
  • If open source models are followed, should we move towards the use of consortiums to create the learning objects? i.e. to spread out the development costs?
  • What would you say to instructional designers if they are following similar endeavors/efforts? How can one know all of the context that speaks to each individual taking the course?
  • Will “The Reusability Paradox” be a show-stopper for us?
  • What should our strategy and vision be?
  • Or did I miss the whole point here?!

The Pivot to Digital Learning: 40 Predictions — from Tom Vander Ark, Partner, Revolution Learning — via EdNet Insights

From DSC:
That posting includes predictions for changes that we’ll see in the next 1, 5 and 10 years…with some excerpts below:

3. Lingering budget woes will cause several districts and charter networks, particularly in California, to flip to a blended model, with a shift to online or computer-based instruction for a portion of the day to boost learning and operating productivity.

9. The instant feedback from content-embedded assessment, especially learning games, simulations, virtual environments, and MMOs (massively multiplayer online games), will be widely used in formal and informal learning and will build persistence and time on task.

10. Adaptive content will result in more time on task (in some cases, two times the productive learning time over the course of a year), and better targeted learning experiences will boost achievement, particularly among low-income and minority students.

11. Comprehensive learner profiles will gather keystroke data from learning platforms, content-embedded applications, as well as after-school, summer school, tutoring, and test prep providers. Students and families will manage privacy using Facebook-like profiles.

12. Most learning platforms will feature a smart recommendation engine, like iTunes Genius, that will build recommended learning playlists for students.

18. All U.S. students will have access to online courses for Advanced Placement, high-level STEM courses, and any foreign language (this should happen next year, but it will take us five years to get out of our own way).

23. Second-generation online learning will replace courseware with adaptive components in a digital content library (objects, lessons, units, and sequences).

27. Most high school students will do most of their learning online and will attend a blended school.

28. More than one-third of all learning professionals will be in roles that do not exist today; more than 10% will be in organizations that do not exist today.

29. The higher ed funding bubble will burst, and free and low-cost higher education alternatives will displace a significant portion of third tier higher education (emphasis DSC).

37. There will be several DIY High options—online high schools with an engaging and intuitive merit badge sequence that will allow students to take ownership of and direct their own learning. They will still benefit from adult assessment, guidance, and mentorship but in a more student-directed fashion.

From DSC:
Below are some notes and reflections after reading Visions 2020.2:  Student Views on Transforming Education and Training Through Advanced Technologies — by the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Education, and NetDay

Basic Themes

  • Digital Devices
  • Access to Computers and the Internet
  • Intelligent Tutor/Helper
  • Ways to Learn and Complete School Work Using Technology

Several recurring words jumped off the page at me, including:

  • Voice activation
  • A rugged, mobile, lightweight, all-convergent communications and entertainment device
  • Online classes
  • Interactive textbooks
  • Educational games
  • 3D virtual history enactments — take me there / time machine
  • Intelligent tutors
  • Wireless
  • 24x7x365 access
  • Easy to use
  • Digital platforms for collaborating and working with others on schoolwork/homework
  • Personalized, optimized learning for each student
  • Immersive environments
  • Augmented reality
  • Interactive
  • Multimedia
  • Virtual
  • Simulations
  • Digital diagnostics (i.e. analytics)
  • Wireless videoconferencing

Here are some quotes:

Math and reading were often cited specifically as subjects that might benefit from the use of learning technologies. (p. 5)

No concept drew greater interest from the student responders than some sort of an intelligent tutor/helper. Math was the most often mentioned subject for which tutoring help was needed. Many students desired such a tutor or helper for use in school and at home. (p. 17)

…tools, tutors, and other specialists to make it possible to continuously adjust the pace, nature and style of the learning process. (p.27)

So many automated processes have been built in for them: inquiry style, learning style, personalized activity selection, multimedia preferences, physical requirements, and favorite hardware devices. If the student is in research mode, natural dialogue inquiry and social filtering tools configure a working environment for asking questions and validating hypotheses. If students like rich multimedia and are working in astronomy, they automatically are connected to the Sky Server which accesses all the telescopic pictures of the stars, introduces an on-line expert talking about the individual constellations, and pulls up a chatting environment with other students who are looking at the same environment. (p.28)

— Randy Hinrichs | Research Manager for Learning Science and Technology | Microsoft Research Group

From DSC:
As I was thinking about the section on the intelligent tutor/helper…I thought, “You know…this isn’t just for educators. Pastors and youth group leaders out there should take note of what students were asking for here.”

  • Help, I need somebody
  • Help me with ____
  • Many students expressed interest in an “answer machine,” through which a student could pose a specific question and the machine would respond with an answer. <– I thought of online, Christian-based mentors here, available 24x7x365 to help folks along with their spiritual journeys

Great middle school simulation: Civics — from Kristen Swanson

“…Argument Wars, a simulation from iCivics, and I think it is perfect for middle school students. Students can argue their case, learn about their rights as students, and earn points for valid arguments. I think it would be a fantastic complement to any middle school social studies class! Enjoy!”

The type of learning materials that can be produced by an organization such as Virtual Heroes is the type/quality of material that will be produced in a vision that I have been calling “The Forthcoming Walmart of Education.




Also see:

From DSC:
This is why I would encourage the U.S. government to see if they can get 1-2 billion — from the billionaires who are donating much of their wealth to charitable causes — in order to create such professionally-done, interactive, engaging, team-created learning materials.
Then make those materials available — free of charge — throughout the world.

Rags to Riches — from ilearntechnology.com

What it is: Rags to Riches takes Lemonade Tycoon to a whole new level with simulated business.  In Rags to Riches, students are working to make their band a success.  Students play the part of a new band going on tour with a few new songs.  As they play the Rags to Riches game simulation, students must make decisions about what the band should do.  They have to decide which cities are best for them to play in, what venues to play, how much money to spend on publicity and how much to charge for tickets.  Students start out with $100 and must make wise decisions to continue in the simulation.  When they run out of money, the game ends and they must start again.

How to integrate Rags to Riches into the classroom: If you teach students like mine, breaking out Lemonade Tycoon in the classroom is met by cheers from some and with eye rolls by others who are “way too cool” for a lemonade stand.  For those students, Rags to Riches is in order…

Effective use of Guerra Scale in Moodle — from E-TeachUK

I have just finished producing a short manual “Guerra Scale and Moodle” after coming a across a short article in an article by ASTD “The Guerra Scale”” by Tim Guerra & Dan Heffernan http://www.astd.org/LC/2004/0304_guerra.htm (2004) . This got me thinking about linking their concept with Moodle.

The basic concept behind the Guerras Scale is the scale outlines the range of content that can be found and used online. It is a scale of one to ten with an increase in interactivity, in which one involves the common experience of simply reading notes/text on screen and ten which denotes total virtual reality.

From DSC:
Though this diagram is now out of date, I still like it because it nicely illustrates how deep an online-based “item” can be in terms of the interaction and experience it provides — as well as the difficulty, skillsets, and costs involved in creating such an item.





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Teaching Tools: Using Online Simulations and Games — from Edutopia.org

But why not bring gaming into the classroom? Could teachers tap that same passion to spark learning? Gaming remains new territory for most schools. As the following examples show, educators on the frontiers are eager to share what they’re learning. Here are just a few examples.

Excerpts from Future of Learning Technology – 2015 — The Upside Learning Solutions Blog

5. Games (and simulations) will become integral part of workplace learning. Overall the culture of gaming is becoming pervasive and the cost of game development is decreasing. Both these trends are increasing the acceptance of games for workplace learning, an area where cost of development and delivery have always been a concern. As the focus of learning departments change to being facilitators rather than providers of training, engaging solutions like games will become crucial.

6. Birth of new Authoring Tools. We will also see new authoring tools which allow designers to make application scenarios easily and quickly. Tools like thinking worlds are great for quickly creating 3D based decision simulations (or even simple 3D games). Dr. Michael Allen (creator of Authorware) is working on a new tool called Zebra (which he talks about herefrom DSC ID’s should check that video out) that would make engaging eLearning creation easy with drag and drop objects.

Michael Allen describes the future of authoriing

Dr. Michael Allen -- discussing their new authoring tool -- Zebra

7. Emergence of Personal Learning Agents. As the semantic web finally starts to form and common ontologies for various types learning content are developed, intelligent personal learning software agents will emerge as learning content mediators. Having a software agent that runs on a personal computing device such as a mobile phone or tablet and constantly monitors content streams on the internet to provide up-to-date information based on personal preferences, workplace conditions, or for the task at hand will make a good performance support and learning assistance system.

IBM's City One -- coming in the fall of 2010

CityOne: A Smarter Planet game
Think you know what it takes to make the energy systems that serve a city more efficient? Given the opportunity, could you make the city’s water cleaner and more plentiful, its banks more robust and customer-centric and its retail stores more innovative?

Your mission
Level-Up your skills and discover how to make our Planet smarter, revolutionize industries and solve real-world business, environmental and logistical problems using IBM solutions.

New Game Demo featured in Agility @ Work Lounge at IMPACT 2010.

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