Frances Bell

home at last – for all the mes


An Interactive Exploration of the Near Future in Educational Technologies

“The future is there… looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become.”

― William Gibson, Pattern Recognition

To be read in conjunction with Jenny’s post Higher Education in 2025

Jenny Mackness and I are giving a presentation with this title to Southampton University’s ILIaD Inaugural Conference on 3 November. Each of us will present a personal story, mine of a 19 year old learner and Jenny’s of a middle-aged academic in 2025, with the intention of provoking discussion with the audience on what the near future might be like in Higher Education. We are limited by our 20 minute time slot and we want to maximise audience participation.

As we say in the abstract for the presentation, the promise of the transformational impact of technology in Higher Education (HE) is yet to be fulfilled. And yet, how can we engage with the future in a dynamic environment to help us make change – or innovate in the language of ILIaD?

Mannermaa (1991) characterises the Scenarios paradigm of futures research as one that assumes that the future is not wholly predictable and constructs alternative futures.  These scenarios are not a prediction of what the future will look like but alternative versions that can spark our imagination.  Jenny and I have constructed two personal stories, inspired by elements of two of the ‘future of HE’ scenarios constructed by Bryan Alexander, namely “Two Cultures” (online and blended learning) and “Renaissance” (the reawakening of creativity, through emphasis on digital storytelling, social media and computer gaming).

The story I have written portrays a young person who might question many of the assumptions of Higher Education about what is innovative, what is the purpose and value of education and where and how learning takes place.

We are really looking forward to the discussion with participants on 3 November, and we will share their contribution with you on our blogs.

References/ Resources

Mannermaa, M. (1991) “In search of an evolutionary paradigm for futures research”, Futures, 23(4), pp.349-372


francesbell • October 29, 2014

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  1. Higher Education in 2025 | Jenny Connected
  2. Cristina Costa October 30, 2014 - 11:39 am Reply

    Love the story.
    It’s interesting how you look at the decay of current technology.
    I have currently been giving a lot of thought about the way I use technology and how my approaches, and views of technology, are starting to change…in other words, how the fascination of these forms of connecting are fading away as they become mainstream… they become part of the routine rather than a novelty.
    I was wondering about the privacy issue, and in a time where we are campaigning for the openness of content, are we also starting to flight for our right to be private?
    Looking forward to learning how people react to the presentation. I think the video is a great teaser.

  3. francesbell October 30, 2014 - 11:43 am Reply

    You can imagine what a challenge it was for me as a 61 year old woman to imagine the near future of someone who is currently nine years old 🙂 The work you are doing with trainee teachers is so important.

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