“The future can't be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being.”

(Meadows, D. 2001)

For more than 20 years we have been promised that technology will transform living, learning and working practices – has that time arrived? In the first decade of the 21st century has society changed, are we learning differently – do we think differently – where will the journey take us next?

In the past quarter century, devices with incredible computational power that connect to a worldwide network have become smaller to the point of being slipped into a pocket or clipped to a belt. They are multi-functional; providing a means of communicating in real time and asynchronously, capturing multi- megapixel images and video with sound, organising one’s life, connecting to one another privately and publicly through a myriad of applications, enabling the instant publishing of an event from anywhere in the world live at the touch of a button. We use them for work, learning and play – no longer just a ‘must-have’ device but becoming an everyday tool, an essential part of living in the 21st Century.

This is no longer the world of science fiction – this is here and now – our children have grown up in a technological society where geographical distances are shrinking – all is now available at the touch of that button – potentially we are always connected – always communicating – always searching – always sharing and publishing who and what we are – the world out there is our oyster!

What effect is such connectivity having on society, how is it changing what we know about the world, our neighbourhood, each other? Does it change who we are, what we do, how we might live, learn and work in the future?

The focus of ‘Future Learningscapes’ is on the transformation of learning. We invite delegates to grapple with the vision of a new future by considering:

  • what practices, technologies and environments have emerged that may transform learning and teaching during the second decade of the century;
  • what skills will learners need to be effective in 21st century environments;
  • how will we maintain our individuality whilst connecting seamlessly to a range of communities in which we may project different persona;
  • will the co-creation of knowledge be a reality or dream;
  • where are the boundaries between our personal and professional lives if our innermost thoughts can be published over the web for all to see?

Meadows, D. (2001)

Dancing with Systems.

Whole Earth at: http://www.wholeearth.com/issue/2106/article/2/dancing.with.systems