Worldfuture 2003:

The Annual Conference of the World Future Society

(This list will be updated on a continuing basis, so please check back regularly.)

Educating the Children of the Wireless Global Village: Can One Paradigm Fit All?

As U.S. schools struggle with aging infrastructure, severe teacher shortages, costly unfunded testing requirements and long-term resource constraints, the United Nations warns that developing nations have insufficient resources to provide minimum acceptable levels of schooling for their burgeoning populations. Fortunately, within five years, astonishingly cheap, wirelessly-networked pocket computers will offer the world’s students—rich and poor—the means to bypass the resource bottleneck posed by the high costs of traditional classroom-based, teacher-mediated, book-validated learning. The speaker will explore common necessities and opportunities confronting educators everywhere, and will propose a new teacher-orchestrated, technology-mediated, contextually-validated educational paradigm for all the children in the global village of the wireless world.

Who should attend: Educators from pre-school to graduate school, and from every nation, plus human resource planners and trainers, and producers of educational products.
What you’ll learn: Participants will learn of the predictable demands and constraints that the knowable future will place upon the world’s educators between now and 2020. You will also learn seven specific next-generation IT capabilities already in the marketplace that will enable educators everywhere to meet the common challenge of their future by reinventing or bypassing their institutions.

David Pearce Snyder, consulting futurist, The Snyder Family Enterprise, Bethesda, Maryland

key words: education, children, global village, wireless world
issue areas: Learning/Education, Globalization

Leadership Sharing: The Future of Public School Administration

The general discussion of the problems of public education has seldom focused on educational leadership. Nor has awareness been focused on the administrative role changes that have taken place as well as their potential to bring about significant school reform. But now with the projections of a major shortage of new administrators on the one hand and the development of new governance structures on the other, new versions of educational leadership are being considered and even advocated.

A spectrum of leadership options has emerged. It runs from the principal as the dominant or only leader at one end to teacher leadership and ownership on the other. In between are a number of leadership sharing variations, which have empowered teachers and brought about a greater integration of administration and instruction.

Each option is not a pipe dream but already exists in operational form. The panelists will identify, define, and describe each leadership version in detail as possible models for further future adoption, adaptation, and implementation.

Who should attend: Educators, administrators, and anyone interested in the future of the public schools.
What you’ll learn: Participants will learn to identify, define, and describe leadership versions to be used as possible models.

Irving H. Buchen (moderator), professor of education, Cappella University, Ft. Myers, Florida
John F. Horne, III, president, ChannelMarker COnsulting, Tempe, Arizona
Linda Lambert, Oakland, California
Ron Newell, learning program director, EdVisions Schools, Henderson, Minnesota

key words: education, leadership
issue area: Learning/Education

A New Age: Leaders as Storytellers

The storyteller was once the most revered person in the community. He or she was looked to as the keeper of history, the dispenser of wisdom, the soothsayer of the future. In more recent times, the scientist has replaced the storyteller as the central figure of wisdom. The storyteller has been demoted to the role of court jester.

That may all be changing as the story is fast becoming the hot new thing. In this session, we will look at some of the emerging trends that forecast the rise of a story society. The storytelling process itself is uniquely powerful. Storytelling alters relationships between individuals and across societies. We’ll explore some of those potential impacts. What does this mean for those who study the future? Futurists, after all, are storytellers at heart. As society embraces story once again, futurists with the right skills may find themselves playing a central role.

Leaders are discovering that narrative can be a more effective and efficient approach communication than analysis, quantification, rational argument, and other cerebral methods. Stories make things easier to understand and remember. They make information more believable and carry tremendous power by making objectives, facts, and figures personal. Stories are non-threatening. They allow us to hold diverse points of view and negotiate our differences. Creating stories about change empowers us to be our own futurists. Participants will learn to use stories in three ways: to build team spirit, to innovate through diversity, and to forecast the future.

Who should attend: Leaders and managers, educators and trainers, organizational development consultants, diversity specialists, and futurists interested in emerging trends in communications. Also, anyone interested in provocative future scenarios.
What you’ll learn: Attendees will learn emerging trends in communication, potential impacts of a new storytelling age on society, and how the storytelling age will change the role of futurists. You will also learn how stories can be used to build team spirit, innovate through diversity, and forecast the future.

Susan M. Osborn, faculty, organizational systems, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, Folsom, California
Joseph Tankersley, senior show writer, Walt Disney Imagineering, Winter Springs, Florida

key words: scenarios, storytelling, communication, leadership
issue areas: Learning/Education, Society

Into the Future with Online Learning Communities

Educational systems throughout the world are moving out of outmoded, factory-like, one-size-fits-all models into new forms more appropriate for an increasingly complex, interdependent, diverse world. Smaller, more personalized learning environments are being developed, and online learning communities are emerging to meet the needs of these models—as well as institutions in the process of change—with just-in-time information, resources, and new ways of learning. Participants in this session will learn about three nonprofit, leading-edge online resources. The George Lucas Educational Foundation publishes online learning materials and instructional modules to share a vision of digital age schools. New Horizons for Learning is an international network focused on facilitating learning at all ages and abilities. The James Burke Institute focuses on building virtual learning communities that are interdisciplinary, international, and integrate a variety of institutions.

Who should attend: Educators, parents, educational consultants, and others interested in learning.
What you’ll learn: Participants will learn about three nonprofit, leading-edge online learning communities and how they are meeting the needs for improved learning environments in today’s increasingly complex, interdependent, and diverse world.

Milton Chen, executive director, George Lucas Educational Foundation, San Rafael, California
Dee Dickinson, chief learning officer and founder, New Horizons for Learning, Seattle, Washington
Patrick McKercher, project manager, James Burke Institute for Educational Innovation, San Jose, California

key words: online learning, education, process of change
issue area: Learning/Education

Workforce Crossroads: What Comes Next?

World leaders in government, business, and education are harboring fears that they soon will not be able to find enough properly educated/skilled workers to keep their organizations afloat. Demographic changes have combined with technological advances to create the real prospect of a crumbling technology infrastructure across much of the industrialized world. The speaker will outline ways that the public and private sectors can invest in people to help build a better future around the world.

Who should attend: Business people, educators, and government employees.
What you’ll learn: Participants will learn how significant demographic, economic, and technology shifts are placing a major strain on the quality of the world’s workforce.

Edward E. Gordon, president, Imperial Consulting Corporation; author, Skill Wars: Winning the Battle for Productivity and Profit, Chicago, Illinois

key words: workforce, demographics
issue areas: Learning/Education, Futures, Society

Introduction to Singularity: Meta-Trends in Accelerating Change

There is an emerging group of futurists, academics, and independent scholars who study our universal record of continuously accelerating computational change. This topic is also called "the singularity" among many who discuss it on the Internet, after a seminal presentation by science fiction author Vernon Vinge, "The Coming Technological Singularity" in 1993. Have you ever wondered whether the "meta-trend" of accelerating change will ever slow down? Whether there are universal, cosmological, computational, information theoretic, or systems theory interpretations for our long history of continuously accelerating change? Do recent trends in technological development give any clues as to the timing and nature of near-future events? Can we use theories in accelerating change to inform our current approach to technological assessment? We’ll discuss these and related topics in light of the latest literature on accelerating change. Come learn more about what these ideas might mean to futurists, forecasters, and tech assessment professionals in business, government, and society.

Who should attend: Futurists, forecasters, and tech assessment professionals interested in systems perspectives on technology involving fundamental impact on business, government, and society.
What you’ll learn: Participants will understand the recent literature on accelerating change and evaluate the claims of those futurists who propose that human intelligence will be surpassed circa mid twenty-first century by our increasingly autonomous technological creations.

John Smart, Foundation for Research in Accelerating Change, Los Angeles, California

key words: change, growth metrics, complex systems, technology assessment
issue areas: Learning/Education, Science/Technology

Integral Futures: New Approaches to the Big Questions

Much futures enquiry has been fragmentary. But Ken Wilber’s four-quadrant model provides a powerful stimulus for deeper and more integrated approaches to futures work across the board, from teaching and research to consulting and organizational practice. This session introduces an integral futures perspective. It provides participants with hands-on experience of several new tools and methods. Some are theoretical (reconciling breadth and depth in futures enquiry); while some are directly practical (new approaches to environmental scanning, meta-scanning, and causal layered analysis). The framework and tools provide futurists with new professional capabilities and options including the ability to re-frame some of the big questions confronting human civilization in the early twenty-first century.

Who should attend: Students, researchers, writers, publicists, business people, and practitioners. Also, anyone interested in exploring a new approach to futures.|
What you’ll learn: Attendees will gain an overview of the Wilber four-quadrant, eight-level model and some of its implications for futures work. You will also have the opportunity to explore some of the new tools and methods of integral futures.

Andy Hines¸ ideation leader, Dow Chemical; co-author, 2025: Scenarios of U.S. and Global Society Reshaped by Science and Technology, Midland, Michigan
Richard Slaughter, director and foundation professor of foresight, Australian Foresight Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia

key words: futures, methods, tools
issue areas: Learning/Education, Business

Evolving Future Consciousness

The purpose of this session is twofold: 1) to present a holistic and evolutionary theory of future consciousness that is formed by contemporary psychology, philosophical epistemology, and intellectual history, and 2) based on ideas drawn from this theoretical framework to explore and identify ways to facilitate the development of future consciousness in individuals and human society. The first part of the session will review the historical development of thinking about the future, the phenomenology and psychology of future consciousness, and different contemporary paradigms of future consciousness. In the second part of the session, specific cognitive and motivational processes connected with "Future Time Perspective" are identified and research findings on these psychological processes are reviewed. The third part of the session will be a guided discussion involving the audience, using a series of "reflective questions" and ideas on how to expand, enrich, and empower future consciousness. The session will have both a theoretical and practical dimension.

Who should attend: Educators, psychologists, philosophers, futurists, leadership and management professionals, and anyone fascinated by consciousness and time.
What you’ll learn: Attendees will learn about the psychology and history of future consciousness and methods for enhancing and enriching future consciousness in individuals and groups.

Thomas Lombardo, psychology and philosophy department chair, Rio Salado College, Tempe, Arizona
Jonathon Richter, assistant professor, Montana State University-Northern; founder, The North American Rural Futures Institute, Havre, Montana

key words: futures, psychology, philosophy
issue area: Learning/Education

The Future of Organizational Problem Solving

Problem-solving techniques have evolved steadily over the past 100 years from simple trial-and-error with no strategy to complex learning systems that capture, store, and retrieve patterns of problem solving, usable across many different areas of technology and organizational dynamics. Techniques are now available not only to accelerate problem solving, but also to optimally use the human component of the problem-solving process. This session will review all of the state-of-the-art tools and how to use them collectively to greatly accelerate problem solving.

Who should attend: Individuals, teams, and corporations interested in understanding the patterns of evolution in problem-solving methodologies and how to combine and use them most effectively.
What you’ll learn: Attendees will learn how problem-solving technology has evolved, what new techniques and processes (both technical and non-technical) have evolved, and how to use these new techniques most effectively.

Jack Hipple, principal, Innovation-TRIZ, Inc., Tampa, Florida

key words: technology, organizational problem solving, patterns of invention
issue areas: Learning/Education, Science/Technology, Business

The Virtual School and the "Hidden Agenda"

Traditionally, the intended curriculum (math, science, language arts, etc.) is what we say it is. The actual or "hidden curriculum" is what remains after everything else has been forgotten. The concept of a hidden agenda in traditional schools has existed since the 1950s and 1960s when the education system began to realize that it was teaching more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. They were also teaching ideals, values, citizenship, and a set of normative rules about acceptable and unacceptable social behavior. The "intended curriculum" of math, science, language and fine arts were, in fact, patterned after what was required to gain entrance into Yale and Harvard during the 1880s.

This intended curriculum has changed very little over the past 100 years, although teaching methodology has changed dramatically to try and adapt it to advancing society. Although we still follow a nine-month school year (to allow children to work on the farms during the summer months—farms that are no longer productive) and teach the same subjects geared towards an ivy league college education (although higher and higher numbers of students are now attending vocational schools and state universities), the "hidden curriculum" or "hidden agenda" is beginning to change drastically with the advent of the Internet and online education.

Who should attend: Educators of all types.
What you’ll learn: Attendees will learn the importance of considering what we are teaching the global community via the Internet. This session seeks to engage the educational community in a discussion and exploration of a topic that has been ignored up to this point.

Dennis Jensen, founder, INET Online Educational Services, Wayne, Nebraska
Diana Muir, director, Hawking Institute, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia
Beth Price, coordinator, Economic Research Center, Central Arizona College, Coolidge, Arizona

key words: global education, hidden curriculum
issue areas: Learning/Education, Globalization

The Best of Clear Lake

The graduate program in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston-Clear Lake prepares professional futurists for the marketplace. The Clear Lake approach rests on students acquiring a set of competencies that represent the skills required of a professional futurist. Those competencies are assessed by means of products which students develop in all of their classes. This session will present the best of those product finalists in the annual contest to determine the best overall futures product of the year. Included in the session will be prize-winning overview studies, scanning hits, survey/Delphi reports, trend extrapolations, scenarios, vision statements, and strategic plans.

Who should attend: Individuals interested in a variety of futures methods and products and who are also interested in professional education in futures studies.
What you’ll learn: Attendees will see and hear good examples of futures techniques and what can be produced using each technique.

Peter Bishop, associate professor and chair, Studies of the Future, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston, Texas
Christopher Jones, visiting associate professor, Studies of the Future, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston, Texas

key words: futures studies, methods, education
issue area: Learning/Education

Convergence and Collision: Creating a New Field of Applied Foresight

Science and technology both drive change and respond to the needs of society. Since November 19, 1932, when H.G. Wells called for professors of foresight to think about ways to adapt our lives and ideas to new conditions, scientific and technological innovation has accelerated exponentially. In the 70 years since the British Broadcasting Corporation first broadcast Wells’ call, scientists have put a man on the moon, mapped the human genome, cloned a sheep, crossed the strawberry with the Arctic char, designed our babies, and advanced artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnologies, among many other technological innovations. At the same time, there has been very little progress in assessing both the positive and negative impacts of these burgeoning developments. As a society we have paid very little attention to developing a transdisciplinary early warning system to bridge the now gaping chasm between science/technology and policy. The future is now. Isn’t it time to begin to explore the establishment of the new university field of applied foresight?

Who should attend: Educators and futurists, especially those interested in the potential impacts of change.
What you’ll learn: This session proposes a new transdisciplinary field of applied foresight. Attendees will learn how to build on futures studies foundations.

Peter Bishop, associate professor, chair, Studies of the Future, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston, Texas
Lynn Elen Burton
, associate professor of future studies, Department of Humanities, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Michael Marien, editor, Future Survey, LaFayette, New York
Richard Slaughter,
director, Australian Foresight Institute, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia

key words: education, applied foresight, transdisciplinary
issue areas: Learning/Education, Science/Technology, Society

Futurizing the 21st Century Campus: Gerontological Perspectives

Forecasts for the twenty-first century suggest that current demographical trends of fewer births and longer life spans, coupled with the baby boom, will lead to an unprecedented high proportion of elderly people in the early and middle decades of the new century. Meanwhile, there may not be enough youngsters to fill college dormitories or entry-level jobs. Many of today’s educational institutions, chartered in the 1960s to accommodate a flood of young baby boomers, are now experiencing a decline of these "traditional students." The trend is most pronounced among residential liberal arts colleges, particularly in rural areas, where declining enrollments have forced a good number to consolidate with others or close their doors altogether. Evolving information technologies reinforce the trend.

At the same time we can expect more adult learners heading back to campus in order to update skills. In addition, campus facilities appear to be well suited for the needs of aging baby boomers. An increasing number of institutions now offer retirement facilities for retirees, realizing that they can survive declining youth enrollments by converting their facilities for use by the elderly. This session will summarize emerging trends and will describe how colleges and universities can best adapt their campus to an aging society.

Who should attend: Higher education administrators, aging professionals, and facility managers.
What you’ll learn: Attendees will be alerted to demographic trends and what impact they will have on higher education. They will also become aware of how the campus will adjust to the imperatives of an aging society.

Konrad M. Kressley, director, MPA Program, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama

key words: campus, aging, retirement housing, elderly education
issue areas: Learning/Education, Society

True Knowledge: Real Opportunity

The overwhelming weight of today’s highly complex and unparalleled world leaves our thinking minds crowded, clouded, anxious, and pressured. In our frustration, we work hard to gain whole-system approaches to complex issues. With our focus and energy dedicated to demanding mental exercises, we lose a real opportunity to gain true knowledge—insights the linear mind cannot produce. This session will teach you to shift your energy and focus outside the limits of linear thinking to master the ability for accessing true knowledge. From this place, you can exploit the scope of your creative/innovative capacities. Your work will then be accomplished through vastly expanded perspectives, freeing you to create real opportunities for reaching optimal global futures.

Who should attend: All who want to experience the power of moving past the limits of linear thinking.
What you’ll learn: Attendees will learn the necessity of and the process for moving their energy and focus away from problem solving and toward real opportunities for reaching optimal global futures.

Lauren Huddleston, chair, The Consortium International, Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Adrienne Snow, founder, Spacemasters, Dallas, Texas

key words: true knowledge, linear thinking, perspectives
issue areas: Learning/Education, Values, Society

The Future of K-12 Education: Emerging Issues and New Challenges

Public school education in the United States is undergoing a transformation like the telephone industry went through in the 1980s when deregulation took hold and the market gave customers options. There are now thousands of charter schools, millions of home-schooled children, hundreds of private for-profit K-12 schools, and funding for public schools is challenged by vouchers, property tax changes, and financial pressures on states and local governments. Integration of public schools, a major thrust of the last 20 years, is now regulated to the back burner. Security, not an issue 30 years ago, is now on the front burner, affecting school choice and school operations.

Futurists and educational experts will take a look at current trends in the field and the role key social forces will play in shaping this very uncertain future landscape. In addition to the topics identified above, the panel will look at innovative learning approaches appearing in classrooms and the validity of the current emphasis on standardized scores as the key evaluative tool in the K-12 educational arena.

Who should attend: Educators, educational administrators, policy makers interested in education, foundation and support personnel who fund or work with schools, government officials who work "adopt-a-school" programs and afterschool programs, and a more general national and international audience seeking to gain insights into how this huge sector of our economy and our society is currently being transformed by events and social forces.
What you’ll learn: You’ll learn the current trends in the field of K-12 education and the role key social forces play.

Herbert R. Rubenstein, president and CEO, Growth Strategies, Inc.; co-author, Breakthrough Inc.: High Growth Strategies for Entrepreneurial Organizations, Bethesda, Maryland
Other Panelists To Be Determined

key words: education, innovative learning, trends, public schools
issue Areas: Learning/Education, Governance, Society

Societally-Connected (Systems) Thinking: An Educational and Societal Imperative

This session will introduce the concept that our educational system from junior high school through graduate school is dysfunctional, and that all students must be taught societally-connected thinking consisting of: 1) an understanding of major problems facing society and their interconnectedness; 2) the necessity for approaching problems with a systems rather than a linear approach; and 3) a commitment to life-long involvement in solving or ameliorating major societal problems. Without these, we will not develop the necessary societal leadership, and our global society will not thrive. Multiple examples of a systems approach will be presented, including terrorism, emerging infections, drug abuse, and public health recommendations. Audience participation and reaction to each scenario will be encouraged.

Who should attend: This session should be of interest to all futurists, educators, those focused on health, those involved in public policy, and those interested in the environment.
What you’ll learn: Participants will learn why a systems approach to learning should be taught from junior high school through graduate school.

Howard F. Didsbury, Jr., president, Alternative Futures Research Associates; director of special projects, World Future Society, Washington, D.C.
Donald B. Louria, professor and chairman emeritus, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey

key words: systems thinking, education
issue areas: Learning/Education, Society