Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wayzata Public Schools Future Conference

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This past Saturday, December 1st, Wayzata Public Schools hosted a Futures Conference. State representatives, board members, administrators, teachers, parents, business leaders, and community members braved the snow (it is MN, after all) to spend a day learning about the trends of the future and discussing their implications on our schools and community.

Gary Marx, author of Sixteen Trends, Their Profound Impact on Our Future, led the conference with a presentation on the sixteen trends he writes about in his book. I have included them below. From there, each table, made up of a cross section of the community, had a discussion about the implications of these trends on our schools, students, and communities. The discussions were great. At my table we discussed the need for more world language instruction, more focus on the process of learning rather than content, creating lifelong learners, connecting our schools to our local businesses and community members, serving the needs of all of our diverse learners, creating an environment of respect, and the need to improve our students' access to technology.

The next step is for the board to look over all the notes from all the tables to look for some common themes. They sound very determined to use the data from this conference to help drive where we go as a district. I am really proud of our district for hosting this and having this discussion. I think it is crucial for our schools to have an ongoing discussion about the implication of future trends on our schools and how we need to respond to them. I hope this is the beginning of a continuing discussion between all of these stakeholders. I also hope that it leads to real change that helps make our school district more responsive to the needs of a 21st century society.

I am very interested to hear from all of you about the importance of this conference. How do you feel about this discussion? What do you think about the Sixteen Trends? What ideas do you have for meeting the needs of our changing communities?

Trend 1: For the first time in history, the old will outnumber the young.
Developed World: Younger ® Older. Underdeveloped World: Older ® Younger


Trend 2: Majorities will become minorities, creating ongoing challenges for social cohesion.
Worldwide: Diversity = Division « Diversity = Enrichment


Trend 3: Social and intellectual capital will become economic drivers, intensifying competition for well educated people.
Industrial Age ® Global Knowledge/Information Age


Trend 4: Standards and high stakes tests will fuel a demand for personalization in an education system increasingly committed to lifelong human development. Standardization ® Personalization

Trend 5: The Millennial Generation will insist on solutions to accumulated problems and injustices, while an emerging Generation E will call for equilibrium. GIs, Silents, Boomers, Xers ® Millennials, Generation E.

Trend 6: Continuous improvement and collaboration will replace quick fixes and defense of the status quo.
Quick Fixes/Status Quo ® Continuous Improvement


Trend 7: Technology will increase the speed of communication and the pace of advancement or decline.
Atoms ® Bits Micro ® Macro ® Nano ® Subatomic


Trend 8: Release of human ingenuity will become a primary responsibility of education and society.
Information Acquisition ® Knowledge Creation and Breakthrough Thinking


Trend 9: Pressure will grow for society to prepare people for jobs and careers that may not currently exist.
Career Preparation « Career Adaptability


Trend 10: Competition will increase to attract and keep qualified educators.
High Demand « Even Higher Demand


Trend 11: Scientific discoveries and societal realities will force widespread ethical choices.
Pragmatic/Expedient ® Ethical


Trend 12: Common opportunities and threats will intensify a worldwide demand for planetary security.
Personal Security/Self Interest « Planetary Security Common Threats « Common Opportunities


Trend 13: Understanding will grow that sustained poverty is expensive, debilitating, and unsettling.
Sustained Poverty « Opportunity and Hope


Trend 14: Polarization and narrowness will bend toward reasoned discussion, evidence, and consideration of varying points of view. Narrowness « Open Mindedness

Trend 15: As nations vie for understanding and respect in an interdependent world, international learning, including diplomatic skills, will become basic. Sub-Trend: To earn respect in an interdependent world, nations will be expected to demonstrate their reliability and tolerance. Isolationist Independence « Interdependence

Trend 16: Greater numbers of people will seek personal meaning in their lives in response to an intense, high tech, always on, fast-moving society. Personal Accomplishment « Personal Meaning

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