horizontal title page

lead sponsor: the UK's Department of Children Schools and Families DCSF

link to the events
link to sci fi provocations

Education is slow to evolve. Changing direction is resource heavy, and consumes considerable goodwill. Science fiction suggests we have been rather poor at looking ahead at learning futures.

However, given scarce resources, it is more than useful to have a very clear early warning system in place to anticipate future trends - not to dictate policy, but to clearly flag alternatives and choices at an early enough time that making those choices is still relatively cost effective. The horizontal project addresses that very-long-term horizon reconnaissance function, but retains a clear relevance to current policy and strategy.

These horizonal reconnaissance sessions are two or three yearly sessions bringing together a small number of exceptional thinkers from around the world to form an eclectic charrette - with the design of, and policy for, future learning uppermost in the debate. Together, with Prof. Stephen Heppell as chair, participant observers, logistics support, and a journalist from within the domain of focus, they will explore distant but relevant possible learning horizons.

From concepts like chemical cognitive enhancement to organic storage technologies, and with participants ranging from economic scientists to science fiction writers, the thinkers scan the broadest portfolio of possible viable futures, and report back, with a wide dissemination brief.

There are fresh panels for each event. They make a short recorded contribution - to be podcast / vidcast after each panel meeting, and then engage in discussion. The discussions are captured, reflected and reported on - each year these discussions from the expert panels will form the basis of an annual public "distant futures" paper. An explicit outcome for the participants is always the opportunity to engage with other thinkers not normally within their immediate professional compass. An implicit outcome will be the meta-level reflection about learning futures that these sessions are intended to catalyze. Indeed we are developing, with CEMP at Bournemouth University, a dialogue and debate tool building on their Dialogue Boxes project:

dialogue boxes screen snap

Invited guests are and will always be very significant people - some in the glare of the public eye, some unknown outside their particular domains, but all exceptional. We need the best possible inputs and they will be at the top of their field. For them the attraction is the mutuality and eclecticism of these events. They will learn too. The panels are "special" and an invitation is regarded with high esteem. The ethos is collegiate, relaxed, reflective, but hard working. Events are hosted atop Tower Bridge by the Tower of London, run adjacent to weekends to allow a social exploration of London for panelists, if desired.

link to the events
link to sci fi provocations

horizonTAL - horizon scanning for learning from heppell.net

last updated: Friday, March 7, 2008 12:29 PM