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Volunteers Step in with NMC Horizon Report Alternative

In the wake of the New Media Consortium's bankruptcy and an uncertain future for the organization's "Horizon" reports, a new initiative undertaken by a group of volunteers aims to provide an alternative forum for forecasting the future of technology in education. The "Future of Education & Everything Community" (FOECast) is kicking off this week with a set of activities intended to capture ideas from people worldwide.

"Ideation Week" will include synchronous videoconferencing sessions, Slack sessions, Google Doc contributions and social media posts (hashtag #FOECast) to capture ideas for how to reimagine what NMC used to specialize in: peering into the future to understand what technologies and educational practices would come to the forefront for schools in K-12 and higher ed.

A few of the ideas that have already surfaced:

  • Add pedagogies alongside the technology predictions.
  • Survey the community throughout the year.
  • Examine trends in K-12 such as charter and homeschooling so colleges can better understand the education environments future students will be coming from.

The blog run by futurist Bryan Alexander is serving as the control center for the many efforts until a FOECast website is launched. As he explained in a post on Friday, "Codename FOECast is an evolving effort aimed at creating an education and technology futures community. Through some months in 2018 we are building plans and prototypes for what this new project could look like. To this end, we're holding online and offline events, working through social media and generally crowdsourcing the best, most creative thinking."

Every day, the focus will be on a different question (although the Google Doc allows people to provide their comments for the entire week):

  • Monday, Feb. 26: What needs did the Horizon Report meet?
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27: What forecasting methods should we consider?
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28: What shape should a new effort take?
  • Thursday, March 1: What scope should this cover?
  • Friday, March 2: What does this look like? Time for a plan and a prototype!

In addition, a Future Trends Forum video chat this Thursday will host a synchronous FOECast brainstorming session and provide an opportunity for attendees to engage with the project organizers.

Overall, the dream for FOECast, wrote Alexander, "is to create something bold and new, a project drawing on the middle of the 21st century."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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