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Tomorrow’s Learning Library

Tomorrow’s Learning Library
By Peter Bishop, guest author

OTH Guest Blog April 2016Teach the Future is delighted to announce the opening of Tomorrow’s Learning Library. Teach the Future is a not-for-profit organization established to encourage and support teachers and administrators to introduce futures thinking in their classes and schools around the world. The Learning Library is a collection of materials that teachers can use to introduce their students to the study of the future. It contains activities, lessons, units and courses developed by Teach the Future staff and by other futurists and educators.

It contains links to other collections of teaching materials that have already been developed, such as the LEALA Pedagogical Resources produced by the World Futures Studies Federation, The Personal Futures Workbook developed by Verne Wheelwright, and the Facilitator’s Guide for Shaping Our Future developed by Sandra Burchsted and Jack Byrne working with the Foundation for Our Future. The Library also contains links to educational games and simulations and to collections of professional methods and tools that teachers can turn into lessons if they wish.

The mission for Teach the Future began in 2009 when I, together with Kay Strong and a corps of public school educators began offering teacher in-service programs in and around Houston. I retired as Director of the Foresight program at the University of Houston in 2013, and announced the Teach the Future initiative in a keynote address at the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) in February, 2014. A number of educators approached me right after that talk and asked, “We want to teach the future. Where’s the curriculum?” Well, there was none at that time, but now there is.

After working on the initiative part-time for a while, I formed an Advisory Group, established a non-profit corporation, redesigned the website, conducted a fundraising campaign and began developing material last summer. Finally, the result is available. The materials in the Library are free to use under the Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA. Comments, reviews and suggestions are always welcome.

But Teach the Future’s mission continues. The Library is a living repository. More modules are already in development. Teach the Future is also eager to receive submissions from educators who have experience teaching the future or in designing teaching materials. And we pay for completed teacher-ready material.

So it’s now time for the profession to take the education of young people seriously. We need to show students how to anticipate and influence the future effectively and efficiently so that future foresight professionals do not have to re-educate them as adults, as we must do today.

Many fine academic futurists have led the way over the years. Now all foresight professionals should do what they can to move this initiative along. Talk to educators about teaching the future in their schools; talk to young people about the future that awaits them; talk about, contribute to and comment on Tomorrow’s Learning Library.

The ultimate success of this initiative is many decades away. Yet, we have engaged foresight professionals at all levels to work for this long term goal. Teach the Future is now on its way!

This post was originally published in the April 2016 edition of the COMPASS newsletter, a publication of the Association of Professional Futurists

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