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International Schools Look to the Future

48th Annual AAIE Conference, Boston, USA
12-Feb-14
International Schools Look to the Future


International school heads gather to listen and learn about teaching the future.
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Hundreds of international school heads along with international education associations and partners gathered in Boston this past weekend for the Association for the Advancement of InternationaI Education's (AAIE) 48th annual conference "Eyes on the Future: Future Trends and Foresight Education."
The conference kicked off with futurist Jack Uldrich setting the scene with staggering growth and innovation statistics and a firm reminder of how important it is to " teach our children to embrace a future of uncertainty and ambiguity." He thoroughly engaged participants with exciting technologies of the not too distant future, stating that, "the best teachers are going to be those that embrace these new technologies and do what they have always done, better." He emphasized humility in the face of the future and reminded us that when faced with this accelerated growth and change it is important to, "Give yourself permission to step back, learn and listen to how the world is changing and steer yourself and your students into the future."
Peter Bishop, Director of the University of Houston Futures Studies Program led day two with his talk on "Preparing Students for the Future by Actually Teaching About the Future." He led educators through ways to incorporate the future into schools, stating, "There are three factors we should teach about the future: momentum, disruption, and choice." He went on to discuss that these factors lead to "Three futures: the expected future, alternative futures, and preferred futures," and that explaining and teaching through in the contect of these is bringing th future into the classrooms today. He stressed that this teaching prepares them "not for a specific future, but to be flexible to any possible future."
Day three ramped up the energy with the dynamic Taking IT Global team, Michael Furdyk and Jennifer Corriero. Their organization provides innovative global education programs that empower youth to understand and act on the world's greatest challenges. They challenged educational leaders to "help young people realize that they are co-creators of knowledge not passive recipients of it." By asking provocative questions on how teachers are teaching, they outlined six key areas of leadership and the teaching environments necessary to ensure students that can identify with each will learn and thrive. They believe "future friendly schools prepare studentsfor the world by using technology to engage them as learners and leaders."
The usual buzz of networking, consultation and planning could be felt at every moment as the theme of the future permeated through to workshops and breakout sessions. Another successful year with all the necessary inspiration!
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