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Future of Education

Featured in this month's newsletter:
Futurist Profile
        Merle O'Brien - Head of Foresight & Innovation
        Thought Leadership: Lacuna Innovation
        Collection of publications: Education
        Quotes in Talk-@-ive.
        Videos on this month's theme: Education
        ■ Institute for Security Studies Seminar: Southern
        Africa’s future - are we at a tipping point?
        ■ Futures of a Complex World conference

Must read
The Millennium Project  - Newsletter 1.0

Cracking the Code for the Future of Education

by Futurist Thomas Frey
This story started in 2012 when I was asked to speak at a TEDx event in Istanbul on the future of education. Several times throughout my talk I touched on the topic of teacherless education.

After my presentation, I was approached by Cozi Namer, a Google executive who explained why teacherless education was so important to them.

“Our team at Google is looking for ways to educate the people of Africa, but very few teachers actually want to move to Africa,” he said.

The conversation was brief, but he framed the problem very succinctly. No, most teachers don’t want to move to Africa. They also don’t want to move to Siberia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, or the Amazon rain forest. There are lots of places teachers don’t want to move to.

By some counts, we are short 18 million teachers globally, and a full 23% of kids growing up today don’t attend any school at all.

There simply aren’t enough teachers at the right time and place to satisfy our growing thirst for knowledge. Read the full feature article.
Trimming the Fat – Introducing the Lean Micro-College Model for Education
by Futurist Thomas Frey

Last year the DaVinci Institute launched a computer programmer training school, DaVinci Coders, and one of the key people we tapped to be one of our world-class instructors was Jason Noble. On Friday I attended a talk given by Jason at the Rocky Mountain Ruby Conference in Boulder, Colorado titled “From Junior Engineer to Productive Engineer.”

DaVinci Coders is an 11-week, beginner-based training in Ruby on Rails, patterned after the successful Chicago-based school, Code Academy (later renamed The Starter League).

Working as a Senior Software Engineer for Comverge, an intelligent energy management company in Denver, and also part-time instructor for DaVinci Coders, Jason understands what it takes to train people both in the classroom and on the job.

In his presentation he compared the apprenticeship times necessary to bring three different newly hired Junior Developers up to speed – one with no Rails experience, one who attended our 11-week course, and another who attended a 26-week program at a different school.

He concluded that the one with no Rails experience required 6-7 month apprenticeship time, the one with 11-weeks training required 2 months, and the one with 26 weeks schooling was up to speed in 3 weeks. Read the full feature article.

Who Controls the Education Industry?
by Futurist Thomas Frey

Let’s first start off with a different question. “Who controls the bread supply in London?”

This was the opening question that Jonas Eliasson started with in his TED talk titled “How to solve traffic jams.”

As it turns out, there really is no single person responsible for making sure bread gets distributed every day in London. He used this as an example of a “self-organizing complex system.” So rather than relying on some bread czar to issue top-down edicts to make things happen, the system organizes itself.

A few months back I was interviewed for a Canadian documentary titled “Generation Jobless” produced by Dreamfilm Productions. The core focus of this documentary was to point out the amazing number of disconnects between higher education and the job market, and why such a high percentage of young people today can’t find work.

As an example, each year Canadian colleges graduate 3 times as many teachers as there are teacher openings. Many other industries have similar discrepancies with either too many or too few graduates to match industry openings.

To further complicate matters, employers are now placing a higher premium on experienced workers, and are less willing to invest time and money for training new entrants themselves. With colleges only offering the training piece, graduates are left in a catch-22 situation with little opportunity to get the work experience without the opportunity to actually work.

This started me down the path of considering why London’s bread supply works spectacularly well as a self-organizing complex system, yet education does not. And it all began with the central question, “Who controls the education industry?” Read the full feature article.
Futurist profile of the month

Merle O'Brien


Head of Foresight & Innovation Thought Leadership: Lacuna Innovation

Merle answered a few questions about her perspective and on being a futures thinker.

Interested in being profiled as a futures thinker on FFD? Submit your profile here.

Education Bibliozone

Featured in Bibliozone this month is a collection of publications related to the future of education. The selection of documents is partial and based on accessible material. Therefore, we would like to invite everyone to supplement our library with additional materials.

Publications from our FFD library:  


Who is talking? - Education Talk-@-ive.
“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president..." - Nelson Mandela


Selection of videos on this month's theme: Education
Videos Include:
■ Seven Meta-trends and the Future of Learning
■ Forecast Creating the Future of Learning
■ RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms


Institute for Security Studies Seminar: Southern Africa’s future - are we at a tipping point?
06 Apr 2017, Time: 10:30 to 12:30

After decades of violent coups and civil wars, the last 15 years have been a period of relative peace for Southern Africa. During this time, development in the region has progressed steadily, but acute challenges remain. Long-term analysis suggests that countries in Southern Africa may be approaching a tipping point. Decisions made today may determine whether the region retreats into a period of instability or advances toward a more prosperous, sustainable future.

This seminar will launch the Southern Africa development trends report commissioned by USAID in support of their five-year Regional Development Cooperation Strategy.

Futures of a Complex World conference

12-13 June 2017, Turku, Finland

The next conference will be focusing on ‘the futures of a complex world’. The conference is organized by the Finland Futures Research Centre from the University of Turku together with National Foresight Network, Finland and the Foresight Europe Network (FEN).

To understand the pressing challenges of our time, we need systems thinking to grasp the evolving complexity of our world. At its core is seeing the inter-relationships rather than linear cause-and-effect chains, and seeing processes of change rather than snapshots.

The Millennium Project  - Newsletter 1.0
1.    Future Work/Tech 2050 Global Scenarios
2.    Workshops to address issues in the Work/Tech 2050 Scenarios
3.    NATO workshop on future terrorism and book
4.    Pakistan State of the Future Index
5.    New Nodes in Portugal and Georgia
6.    New website under construction
7.    GFIS scanning items added by new Interns
8.    RIBER and FEN
9.    FRM 3.0 Translated into Persian/Farsi into five volumes
10.  MPPC Meeting in Washington, DC
We would like to keep FFD going and need your support, involvement and participation. Are you interested in exploring partnership or sponsorship opportunities with us or do you see synergies between the Node and what you do? We would like to hear from you. Contact us for further details.

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