Student Needs 2025+: Coming of Age Amid the Internet of Things

On the surface, growing up is wildly different than it used to be. But despite technological advances and shifting cultural norms, coming of age remains a universal human experience. No matter the place we did it or the tools we had to facilitate it, nearly everyone struggles at one point or another to understand his identity or make sense of the world around her. We’ve all wondered how we fit it and struggled to learn how to do those things adults are expected to know how to do.

So what does that process look like when everything around you is “smart”? Your mood plummets, so your wearable device automatically contacts your best friend, your parents, or your therapist? You know where your friends are at all times because of signals from their devices; does this enhance the “fear of missing out” or eliminate it? Does the sheer volume of information about global issues paralyze you with fear as you age, or are you trained to deal with it all expertly?

Countless articles (including this one from Entrepreneur and this one from Forbes) explain how our entire lives will be part of a massively connected grid that takes care of most of our mundane and forgettable tasks, gives us access to information and people in unimaginable ways, and changes how we relate to each other and our environments.

So, does this Internet of Things change our rites of passage? According to Terry Collins, Lead of the Student Needs 2025+ Connecting Team, it will in some ways.

Introverted students who struggle to match the energy and level of interaction of their extroverted peers will find more, less stressful ways to connect and be engaged, she says.

Also, “When everything is customized just to us, some students will be able to pass through previously difficult stages of life with much more ease,” she says. “Their psychological energy might not have to be focused on the mean girls in the bathroom, and they might grow up in an entirely new way.”

Nonetheless, she says being immersed in technology will never take the place of the in-person social interaction that characterizes most of our coming of age experiences. As she says, “Some things can only be felt and understood when the bandwidth is not just digital.”

The University of Houston Foresight program is exploring the future of Student Needs 2025 and Beyond for the Lumina Foundation, a leading higher education foundation with a goal of raising higher educational attainment levels from 40% today to 60% in 2025. We are tasked with providing Lumina a view of how student needs are evolving over the next dozen or so years. Put simply, could changes in student needs alter the equation of what higher education will need to providing by 2025 and beyond?
 
To map the student needs landscape of the future, the Houston Foresight program has assembled a team of two dozen faculty, alums, and students organized around six teams exploring evolving student needs related to living, learning, working, playing, connecting, and participating. We are using Houston’s Framework Foresight process to produce forecasts of student needs and identify the implications and issues they suggest for higher education.
 
Follow us on Twitter at @houstonfutures and join the conversation at #studentneeds2025.
Posted in Student Needs 2025 by katie king. No Comments

Foresight Student to be Banner Bearer

JimBreauxUH Foresight’s own Jim Breaux has been selected to represent the Graduate Programs in the College of Technology as the Banner Bearer for the Spring 2014 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday May 10th.

When informed of the college’s selection, Dr. Hines had this to say -

“Indeed, I can think of no more appropriate banner bearer for the college than Jim. He’s been doing it for us in the Foresight program since he joined. While we are very pleased to see him graduate, his presence will be missed as a student. Fortunately, he’ll be joining us an Adjunct Faculty in the Fall – he won’t get away that easily!”

Congratulations Jim!

Posted in Event Foresight by April Koury. No Comments

Foresight Student Interning with UNESCO

macCongratulations to current student Mackenzie Dickson! As of April, Mackenzie has moved to Paris to begin an internship with noted futurist Riel Miller at UNESCO in the Section of Foresight under the Bureau of Strategic Planning.

According to Mackenzie, his first day alone consisted of editing translations, lunch and chocolate tasting with Belgians, executive board meetings with hundreds of ambassadors and delegates deliberating for hours, and a late night round of philosophizing with Riel Miller and our own Dr. Bishop, who happened to be in Paris.

We hope for equally thrilling days ahead for Mr. Dickson!

Posted in Student Work by April Koury. No Comments

Student Needs 2025+ Guest Post: “It’s All Play” by Cody Clark

In the coming weeks, the Houston Foresight blog will feature guest posts from members of the Student Needs 2025+ teams to share insights from their research and the implications of what they found.
 
Cody Clark is the Playing Team Lead and has a Master’s degree in Studies of the Future from University of Houston-Clear Lake. Laura Schlehuber, Playing Team Analyst, and Mike Ivicak, Playing Team Research Assistant, are current students in the UH Foresight program.
 

Laura, Mike, and I began researching students’ future playing needs with a major assumption: online play is growing at the expense of “in real life” play. Everything we read bore this out, and this is clearly the expected future. So much of the “magic circle” of play for the up-and-coming generation is moving online, even for very small children.

But we started looking into some emerging technologies like augmented reality and wearable user interfaces — and we found some strange-sounding ones like “haptics” and “piezoelectrics” — and a potential alternative emerged. What if play started to move back offline? What if play started to bridge the real and virtual worlds?

Breathless speculation about driverless cars and an internet of things got us thinking about how the division between “meat space” and “cyber space” might dissolve as these visions become reality. How would game designers and cultivators of play experiences make use of the sensor and data infrastructure that would certainly be needed to make cars drive themselves and add online intelligence to everyday products?

And so, “It’s All Play” — the alternative future we created for Student Needs 2025+ — was born. Online and offline worlds will be an integrated playground, and everything — even the stuff of everyday life — can be gamified.

What happens when everything can be made into a plaything? What happens when training, employment, and even driving around town, can be gamified? What happens then to the “magic circle” that, according to play theorists, separates “play time” from “non-play” time? If everything becomes play, is anything play? Could the ultimate triumph of play over reality be its demise as well?

The fact that this alternative sparks such foundational questions about the nature of play is what makes it so useful for the Student Needs 2025 project. Of course this alternative assumes the accelerated commercialization of technologies that are now just in prototype phases and the unlikely cooperation of diverse stakeholders to enable this seamless integration. Nonetheless, whether the scenario is likely to occur is not the point. The point is to surface fundamental attitudes toward the role of play in the life of a student in 2025. Is play a crucial restorative oasis for the soul? A “magic circle” one enters to recharge and rejuvenate one’s creativity and receptiveness to learning? Or is play just another tool to be used in pursuit of more important things in life, a servant of productivity? How you answer that question will determine how you see the role of Play in post-secondary education in 2025 and beyond.

The University of Houston Foresight program is exploring the future of Student Needs 2025 and Beyond for the Lumina Foundation, a leading higher education foundation with a goal of raising higher educational attainment levels from 40% today to 60% in 2025. We are tasked with providing Lumina a view of how student needs are evolving over the next dozen or so years. Put simply, could changes in student needs alter the equation of what higher education will need to providing by 2025 and beyond?
 
To map the student needs landscape of the future, the Houston Foresight program has assembled a team of two dozen faculty, alums, and students organized around six teams exploring evolving student needs related to living, learning, working, playing, connecting, and participating. We are using Houston’s Framework Foresight process to produce forecasts of student needs and identify the implications and issues they suggest for higher education.
 
Follow us on Twitter at @houstonfutures and join the conversation at #studentneeds2025.
Posted in Student Needs 2025 Uncategorized by katie king. No Comments

Student Needs 2025+: Games As Life

When is a toy not just a toy? When it’s a light source, a communication device, a skill builder and a form of exercise. The Student Needs 2025+ Playing Team has found that toys and games that serve multiple purposes will become the new norm, and college students in 10 years will still be playing, but they will be doing many other things at the same time.

Mike Ivicak, a UH Foresight student and Research Assistant for the Playing Team, says technology will allow “play” to meld with other areas of life. “As the current and future generations of students develop lives that are more technology centric, it makes logical sense that the fusion of play and other functional purposes will merge through technology,” he says. In the near future, games and toys will be a major vehicle for people to connect, learn, and work together.

What does this mean for higher education? One implication is that game-playing skills may become the new test-taking skills–the basics you need to know to access more learning, information, and opportunity.

Check back tomorrow for more on the gamification of all from Cody Clark, Playing Team Lead.

The University of Houston Foresight program is exploring the future of Student Needs 2025 and Beyond for the Lumina Foundation, a leading higher education foundation with a goal of raising higher educational attainment levels from 40% today to 60% in 2025. We are tasked with providing Lumina a view of how student needs are evolving over the next dozen or so years. Put simply, could changes in student needs alter the equation of what higher education will need to providing by 2025 and beyond?

To map the student needs landscape of the future, the Houston Foresight program has assembled a team of two dozen faculty, alums, and students organized around six teams exploring evolving student needs related to living, learning, working, playing, connecting, and participating. We are using Houston’s Framework Foresight process to produce forecasts of student needs and identify the implications and issues they suggest for higher education.

Follow us on Twitter at @houstonfutures and join the conversation at #studentneeds2025.
Posted in Student Needs 2025 by katie king. No Comments

Student Needs 2025+: Coming Together

She starts up her multi-player game. Her parents think it’s a waste of time, but she doesn’t see it that way. It’s fun and exciting and she’s good at it. Not to mention that playing it helped her understand and explain that global conflict to her cousin last week. She easily maneuvers the first challenge. She makes a mental note to tell her parents that these problem-solving skills, which have made her quite popular among her gaming “friends” (who she’s never met in person but knows better than her own family), will come in handy once she’s trying to support herself as an adult. Challenge 2 begins, and thoughts of working pass. For now she’s just playing. And learning. And participating, connecting, and living, too.

Our Student Needs 2025+ Project team came together for an implications workshop last Friday, and we left with the feeling that our six domains are coming together, too.

We agreed that the distinctions between our six topics are blurring – dramatically. The suppliers of our working, learning, connecting, participating and living experiences operate as if they are separate activities, but when we put ourselves in the shoes of students, we wondered, how can they tell which activity they’re engaged in at that moment, or, for that matter, do they care? Our research shows that the days of compartmentalizing those aspects of life will soon be over. In the future, students will need providers who can seamlessly meet several – if not all – those needs at once. Higher education, of course, is focused on learning, but how will it handle the bleeding in of all these facets?

The workshop began with a review of our four student types: traditional, first generation, adults and independents, and then we reviewed the alternative future forecasts in each of the six domains. We broke into four groups, each representing a different student type, and used futures wheels and small group discussion to identify specific student needs for our assigned type. The teams generated no fewer than 142 different student needs of the future.

Our next steps are to analyze and synthesize these takeaways and combine them with the work we did at our March 1 gathering. The full picture of Student Needs 2025+ is still fuzzy, but I can tell you this: It’s all coming together. Stay tuned.

Andy Hines

The University of Houston Foresight program is exploring the future of Student Needs 2025 and Beyond for the Lumina Foundation, a leading higher education foundation with a goal of raising higher educational attainment levels from 40% today to 60% in 2025. We are tasked with providing Lumina a view of how student needs are evolving over the next dozen or so years. Put simply, could changes in student needs alter the equation of what higher education will need to providing by 2025 and beyond?

To map the student needs landscape of the future, the Houston Foresight program has assembled a team of two dozen faculty, alums, and students organized around six teams exploring evolving student needs related to living, learning, working, playing, connecting, and participating. We are using Houston’s Framework Foresight process to produce forecasts of student needs and identify the implications and issues they suggest for higher education.

Follow us on Twitter at @houstonfutures and join the conversation at #studentneeds2025.
Posted in Student Needs 2025 by katie king. No Comments

Build your own drone! – classes from alum Sean Daken & RefactorU

What futurist, especially us mechanically inclined futurists, doesn’t want their own drone? RefactorU, founded by our own alum Sean Daken (’12), now offers a 10-week course held every Saturday on building and piloting your very own drone. Taught by hobbyists and within FAA regulations, the classes will teach about the different types of drones, their associated technologies and how to fly them over the neighbor’s house and spy on the shady guy next door for the good of the nation… Okay, I might have made that last one up.

In an interview with Business Insider, Sean stated, “There are build-your-own-drone kits out there, but our aim is to reduce the trial and error time in getting yours to fly. I miss flying RC stuff, so that’s my diabolical motivation, that I get to play with drones all day. They’re a synthesis of things we care about at RefactorU — the creative hands-on building of something, then using it to do creative things like aerial video and photography.”

Sign me up when you’ve got a course out in Houston!

Posted in Alumni Highlight Courses by April Koury. No Comments

Student Heather Schlegel in NY Times and on Fox News

heatherfoxsmThe meteoric rise of Heather Schlegel, current Houston Foresight student, continues! Not only has she raised $37,000 on Kickstarter to fund her TV series Future of Money, she’s now garnering media attention.

On April 1st, The New York Times’ Andrew Sorkin interviewed Heather to discuss the future of money, and then on the 2nd,  Shepard Smith followed up with her on his show. All things considered (the short interview cut off by Smith) Heather presents great scenarios on the potential futures of wearable money, and how our personal values/beliefs will actually be imbedded within our currency.  Check out the interviews!

Student Needs 2025+: All That’s Old is New Again

Millennials seem to be itching for the 70s. Two new scan hits show that modern trends in working and playing might be headed for a downturn.

1. Millennials’ workplace backlash. Everyone knows that a Millennial thrives with technology and would just as soon work from the beach as a corner office. Not so, according to a recent study. Younger workers are feeling overloaded with information and tech tools and underserved in authentic, face-to-face collaboration. Though they don’t mind flexibility, they aren’t willing to sacrifice mentorship and meaningful communication for it. How old school.

2.  Many Millennial kids are under constant, watchful protection to ensure good decisions are made and nothing gets broken, and some argue that’s not good for their growth. The days of kids riding bikes through construction sites and not leaving a note for Mom might be experiencing a resurgence, thanks to some parents and experts, who say unsupervised risk taking is an essential part of development. They argue creativity and innovation are fostered in those moments of play when anything could happen.

As we examine how students will learn, work, play, connect, participate, and live in 2025+, what from the past will find its way into the future?

The University of Houston Foresight program is exploring the future of Student Needs 2025 and Beyond for the Lumina Foundation, a leading higher education foundation with a goal of raising higher educational attainment levels from 40% today to 60% in 2025. We are tasked with providing Lumina a view of how student needs are evolving over the next dozen or so years. Put simply, could changes in student needs alter the equation of what higher education will need to providing by 2025 and beyond?

To map the student needs landscape of the future, the Houston Foresight program has assembled a team of two dozen faculty, alums, and students organized around six teams exploring evolving student needs related to living, learning, working, playing, connecting, and participating. We are using Houston’s Framework Foresight process to produce forecasts of student needs and identify the implications and issues they suggest for higher education.

Follow us on Twitter at @houstonfutures and join the conversation at #studentneeds2025.
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Posted in Student Needs 2025 by katie king. No Comments

Dr. Bishop interviewed in Lithuania

Peteris BishopasGrab your passports because we’re traveling to Lithuania with Dr. Peteris Bishopas (Lithuanian spelling)! Last December, Dr. Bishop (our former leader and the current head of Teach the Future) gave an interview to IQ TV while he was in Vilnius for a dissertation defense.

He answers a few of the standard questions futurists are used to like: What’s the difference between a predication and the scenarios futurists present?  What does a professional futurist do, and is it important? Why is it essential to think about the future? And what are some of the major changes happening in the future?

Check out the interview (broken up into two parts here and here) and I guarantee, just like any time Dr. Bishop starts speaking, you’ll learn something new about the field.