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.
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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!

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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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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.

Student Needs 2025+: See the Presentations from March 1 Spring Gathering

On March 1, UH Foresight held its annual Spring Gathering, and this year was all about Student Needs 2025+. Below find links to videos of presentations from all six teams and a copy of their presentations. Comments and feedback encouraged!

Intro
Learning
Participating
Working
Playing
Connecting
Living

All presentations

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, Instagram and Vine at @houstonfutures and join the conversation at #studentneeds2025.
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Student Needs 2025+: Big Data, Loneliness, and Vocaloids

On March 1, UH Foresight held its Spring Gathering and the Student Needs 2025+ research teams for the first time revealed their baseline and alternative scenarios for the future of Learning, Working, Participating, Playing, Connecting, and Living. Below are a few scan hits that informed their findings and how they fit into the overall trends.

“They’re Watching You At Work,” The Atlantic

Meticulous performance stats aren’t just for baseball players anymore. Companies are looking for and finding ways to collect real-time data to assess and predict work performance using what they call “people analytics.” The Student Needs 2025+ Working team created an alternative scenario called “Welcome to the Jungle,” where competition for jobs is fierce, and based mostly on what you can prove you can do and much less on your diploma or resume. The development of this technology and companies’ adoption of it could be that scenario’s precipitating event.

“Loneliness is Killing Us,” AlterNet

Doctors have quantified the effects of the loneliness disease, warning that lonely people are nearly twice as likely to die prematurely as those who do not suffer feelings of isolation. Being lonely, it seems, is a lot more worrying for your health than obesity. The Connecting and Living Teams both found connection in the future to be much more all-consuming than it is now; almost all experiences, possessions, and ideas will be shared with others–virtually or in-person. Could this future be a “vaccine” against the disease of loneliness? Or will the sheer amount of connection dull its benefits and leave us all wanting more?

“Meet Hatsune Miku,” USA Today

This USA Today story reports on the rise of “vocaloids” — animated characters that will sing lyrics and music using voice synthesizing technology. Users put their lyrics and music in to the game and the character of their choice will sing it. The Playing Team discussed the relationship between game providers and users, and vocaloids are indicative of a larger trend. Up to this point, game providers have set the agenda of how to play the game, and some users have hacked that agenda to meet their own needs or desires. In the future, providers and users will increasingly synthesize their efforts: providers will allow users to create more of their own experience and, as is the case with vocaloids, the providers can reap enormous benefit from the contributions of the users.

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, Instagram and Vine at @houstonfutures and join the conversation at #studentneeds2025.
Posted in Student Needs 2025 by katie king. No Comments

Student Needs 2025+: College News Roundup

Some excellent stories on NPR this morning about trends in higher education.

1. Big changes at the SAT

This is obviously big news for college-going students, and it’s consistent with trends identified by the StudentNeeds 2025+ Learning Team. The Team identified Individualized Learning, Reputable Credentials, Meaningful Experiences, Support, Accessibility, Affordability, and Relevant Skills as students’ main learning needs in the future (sound similar to what students need–and unfortunately do not always have–now? We thought so, too). The changes in the SAT show some responsiveness to these needs:

  • Change 1: Relevant Skills. According to the College Board, the test will focus less on vocabulary words like “jejune,” and more on ones like “synthesis.” You could argue this is a dumbing down of the test, or you could say they are focusing in on what students will need to know in the future. If a student wants to know a word like jejune, more power to her, but the College Board will leave that to the student to decide.
  • Change 2: Meaningful Experiences. Instead of requiring students to complete a writing task, College Board will now offer an optional writing contest and winners are published in The Atlantic. Education at every level is famous for deciding what students need to learn and how they need to show what they’ve learned. This shows a crack in that mindset. Writing something to be read by a test-maker is probably not a meaningful experience for any student. On the other hand, if a student finds writing and being published in a major magazine a meaningful experience (and many will), the College Board will offer that opportunity and not force it.
  • Change 2: Affordable Preparation. A big knock against the SAT has been the inequity in access to preparation programs. SAT prep classes are bumping students’ scores up by hundreds of points, but they are incredibly expensive and not feasible for many students. In the new plan, College Board will partner with Khan Academy to offer free, targeted prep online. One of the Learning Team’s scenarios for the future of higher education is that college campuses will become collaborative spaces for social interactions and as-needed group work, while content learning and skill building will be a cobbled-together mix of online (MOOCs), hacked (TechShop), and real-life (internship) experiences. College Board’s recognition that students need multiple access points and their willingness to delegate that to an online provider is a shift. What if universities did the same?

 

2. Cost keeping students from attending their “first choice” school

Students have prioritized the reputation of a university above all else for a long time. The school’s ranking in U.S. News and its standing among friends and family have often loomed larger than the quality or cost of the educational experience. According to this story, that’s changing because those universities are simply too expensive. Up to this point, the norm has been to go into whatever amount of debt necessary to attend that prized school. If students’ values and priorities shift, and as a group they begin to decide it’s not worth it or not possible, those first-choice schools might find themselves in last place.

None of this is to say the College Board is a beacon of reform nor is it to argue that unaffordable college is a good thing. All we know is that change is happening.

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, Instagram and Vine at @houstonfutures and join the conversation at #studentneeds2025.
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Student Needs 2025+: Cost as a Driver of Change in Higher Ed

“How much does a college degree cost? What a steal!”

…said pretty much no one ever.

Last week, NPR’s Planet Money ran a story about the sticker price of a university education — they used Duke as an example — and tried to clarify who benefits.

In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it’s $60,000 a year. “It’s staggering,” says Duke freshman Max Duncan, “especially considering that’s for four years.”

But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that’s actually a discount. “We’re investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student,” he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it’s one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.

Ross Shott, UH Foresight alum and adjunct professor, Student Needs 2025+ Learning Team lead, and CEO of Psyphers Group, thinks the colleges need to look at cost from the students’ perspective. “The students are saying ‘This is too expensive for me.’ For universities to respond by saying ‘Well, you’re actually getting a deal,’ is not very helpful.”

Early in the project, the teams identified four types of students that the researchers are using to frame their findings. One emerging trend is a rise in adult and independent learners. More people are waiting to attend college or returning later in life, and others are eschewing a formal degree altogether or in favor of a more organic or personally tailored learning experience or cobbling together the equivalent of a degree program from many sources. Shott sees cost as one driver of this and believes it will continue to push more people into non-traditional learning.

“Traditional students’ needs are currently being dictated by what’s available in the traditional university system, but that model won’t work much longer,” he says. “In fact, maybe the biggest trend in education is more students will move from Traditional/First-Generation categories and become more like Adult/Independent learners.”

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

The Good Shepherds by Alum Seth Itzkan

Holistic Management may actually restore savannas and grasslands

good shepherdIn a recent article in Food Tank, graduate alum Seth Itzkan (’93) discusses how a return to a more managed ranching, called Holistic management, has restored previously desertified grasslands and savannas in Zimbabwe.

It seems counter-intuitive - cows and goats overgrazed and destroyed the grasslands in the first place, so how can they possibly help in returning the land to a natural state? Check out Seth’s article, The Good Shepherds, to find out.

Let’s just say that Dr. Bishop’s mantra from Systems seems applicable to this article: a system’s behavior is a function of its structure.

Also, Seth’s currently in Zimbabwe working with the Africa Center for Holistic Management. Keep up to date with his adventures into the veldt at his blog Hut with a View (of the Future).

Posted in Alumni Highlight by April Koury. No Comments