It has been an incredibly difficult year for the world and we hope that 2021 will be better! At the same time…who knows? Futures thinking is never a destination or a singular place but a place of multiple possibilities. So as we contemplate futures I think the following question is a great one to ponder.
From 12-18 October Ako Ōtautahi Learning City Christchurch convened a series of learning events with a focus on equity, access and innovation. Originally planned to take place in May, the Learning Days events were reformatted for the times and the seeds of ideas for 2021 were planted.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could go to a workshop, read a book or check out a blog and it told us how to do things in uncertain times? A recipe or playbook? Unfortunately there is no playbook to get us through these complex times. We just needed to figure out as we went. That is why being adaptive is key.
I keep coming back to this idea of unlearning. Some of my colleagues say there isn’t such a thing – it is all part of the learning process. I have a different viewpoint. Unlearning is a critical skill needed for us to survive as individuals and as a species. It is a deliberate act that seeks to make changes to our thinking, our actions and our being. In a world of great uncertainty where pandemics, extreme weather patterns and climate change are accelerating we need to sit back, reflect and take deliberate action. That is, we need to unlearn.
My passion for futures thinking began when I was 19. I was a student, working on weekends and holidays to fund my teacher training. One Saturday an American visitor started a conversation with me, a conversation about aspirations for the future. During my lunch hour he presented me with a book that has continued to impact me throughout the decades. That book was of course, Future Shock.
The following Reflection from the Future is a provocation for equity of access to digital technologies for our rangatahi, our young people. It is intended as a thought piece to create a conversation, not as a blueprint for the future. It’s important to be thinking about this now though, as schools step forward to onsite learning once more. There is an opportunity right now to think differently. It requires us all to work together. What happens in 2025 depends on what we do now.