BECOME A MEMBER! Sign up for TIE services now and start your international school career


Roadmap To Creating Future Scenarios

The Future of Education: Alive and Flourishing
By Jaya Ramchandani and Cary Reid
Roadmap To Creating Future Scenarios

This series will guide you through the steps necessary to inform and inspire the next phase of educational transformation, fueling collective action that spurs more reform. In our first article, Roadmap to Action, we set the stage for understanding our vision, a future of education that is “alive with individual flourishing, community building, skills for meaningful and equitable work, egalitarian governance structures including student agency, and lots of natural beauty and inspiration.”

Now, we will dive into the first set of activities with the goal of creating future scenarios.

(Photo source: Jaya Ramchandani and Cary Reid)

We’ve developed three activities culminating in multiple scenarios which will be carried forward into the next phase of the roadmap to detail the narrative and narrow down on a scenario.

Activity One: Understanding the Current Landscape

60 min

Every field has its driving forces. In education, this could range from technological advancements to shifts in socio-cultural paradigms. It is important to understand the landscape of your field and environment.  

  1. Start with holding your student personas in mind.
  2. Then, outline the larger picture of current economic, technological, social, and political trends.
  3. Then hone in on education-specific implications.

At the end of this process, you will have a better understanding of the current landscape. We recommend using the tool Miro if you are working online, or simply post-it notes if you prefer a manual approach.

With a global class of high school students in mind, we have provided some starting examples.

(Photo source: Jaya Ramchandani and Cary Reid)

Activity Two: Dreaming / Imagineering

90 min

“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”  -Gloria Steinem

In this vision boarding exercise, we dream—a powerful tool for shaping the future of education. We're not just imagining the next steps; we're crafting a vivid tapestry of aspirations that can guide us. This activity is designed to unlock the collective imagination of educators, students, and stakeholders to build a shared dream, leveraging visual and sensory experience.

  1. Arrange your space to invoke all your senses:
  • Sight: use images and video clips that capture emotions that words cannot. Replace flip chart paper with large sheets of plain paper for a boundless canvas.
  • Touch: use tactile elements that invite hands-on interaction. Keep magazines, post-it notes, markers, etc. handy.
  • Taste: use snacks to keep the energy high and stimulate the palate.
  • Smell: use subtle aromas to invigorate the senses and enhance memory.
  • Proprioception: use an organic, fluid setup that encourages movement and interaction over traditional arrangements like rows and circles.
  1. Construct your vision board:

Consider the following questions to anchor your thoughts:

  • What do you want more of?
  • What do you want less of?
  • Who will live this dream?
  • What do you not want to lose?
  • Are there limits?

You can also designate multiple creative zones, encouraging participants to meander and contribute to different vision landscapes. If you are doing this activity online, you can once again use Miro to combine images, sounds, and text, creating a digital collage that represents the multi-dimensionality of your dream.

Here is an example from our positionalities.
(Photo source: Jaya Ramchandani and Cary Reid)

Activity Three: Designing Future Scenarios

90 min

We recommend that all three activities be done on separate days so as to keep the mind free from the biases linked to the previous activity. We are now ready to design future scenarios. For this, we use the 2x2 methodology. Using the previously identified trends and drivers, pick two significant uncertainties. Place them on a 2x2 grid, giving you four distinct scenarios. Next identify a set of common questions or factors to consider while you populate the outcomes.

Presented below are two examples based on different drivers.

This first example highlights the extent of artificial intelligence collaboration and community participation more broadly. Here, the questions we have addressed across all the scenarios are:

  • Who is learning and in what role?
  • Why are they learning?
  • Who decides what they are learning?
  • What are they learning?
  • With whom are they learning?
  • How are they learning?
  • How are they being assessed?
  • What does a day in the life of a student look like?

This second example highlights the extent of curriculum standardization and externalization of the assessment process. Here, the factors we have addressed are:

  • Student voice and choice
  • Impact on scalability and bottom line
  • Parent involvement

(Photo source: Jaya Ramchandani and Cary Reid)

Scenarios gain life when shared. In our collaborative projects, we've found that shared knowledge not only educates but also enriches. By sharing your scenarios with stakeholders, peers, and students, you invite critique, insights, and further refinement. You're not just looking for validation but constructive criticism. Feedback will help refine and possibly redirect your narratives.

In the next article, we will jump into detailing, narrowing down on the scenarios, looking back into our history and context, and fleshing out the scenario into a narrative.



Learning for Sustainability, Thinking our way into the future – scenarios and visioning, Accessed Oct 1, 2023,

Noel, Lesley-Ann, The Conversation Factory, Decolonizing Design Thinking, Accessed Oct 1, 2023,

Rhydderch, Alun. (2017). Scenario Building: The 2x2 Matrix Technique.

Scearce, Diana et al., What If, The Art of Scenario Thinking for Nonprofits, Accessed Oct 1, 2023,


Jaya Ramchandani is a Liberia-born, India-raised, international educator. She started her career in publishing helping non-native English speakers from Asia publish in top-tier science journals. She then worked in astronomy outreach and organized a number of informal learning projects, the most ambitious of which was India’s first art-science festival. Moving into formal education, she spent the last few years teaching International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Physics at United World Colleges ISAK in Japan and the United Nations International School in New York, where she currently lives and works as an education consultant and learning experience designer.


Cary Reid is a Jamaican educator who has spent the last decade creating alternative systems for schools so that they can support more types of students. He has tried this at high schools and universities in Jamaica, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and Norway. He has also worked on system design in public health, peacekeeping, and diplomacy.


Please fill out the form below if you would like to post a comment on this article:


There are currently no comments posted. Please post one via the form above.