Future Focused Education – Understanding the Trends

This CORE breakfast presented by Derek Wenmoth focused on the 2017 ten trends and a framework for exploring these in greater depth. It followed similar themes from Karen Spencer’s presentation on Future Focused Learning-Design. While that presentation used Sinek’s Golden Circle (‘why, how, what’) to explore future-focus, Derek proposed the ten trends as guiding indications that could be navigated within a ‘so what’ framework. Slides have been posted online here.  Below are thoughts that I jotted down during the presentation along with some of Derek’s key points. The presentation is also captured by this blogpost which collated the twitter feed from the breakfast.

Ten Trends 2017


The culture of your school more is significant than the curriculum.

  • Shift in ownership – learner agency – Is the trend of learner agency a challenge to the economic principle of supply & demand?
  • Artificial Intelligence – more than on the horizon. A lot of what is read is written by algorithms; 10,000 wiki articles written every day by robots.

Technology Michael Fullen leading thinking about technology’s impact on education. Considering how adding technology can have a pervasive control over human interaction.

Structural – business learning – structure is groaning. Suffering from the isolation. Focus has been on the structure not the kids.

  • Communities of Learning – consider the social & educational drivers behind this shift.
  • Virtual learning – virtual school driven by learner agency, and now very much the norm. More often than not virtual learning is more powerful than traditional learning.

Process – NCEA implementation was legislated to fit the industrial model. But now there is real disruption and challenges to that ‘process’ taking place.

  • Collaboration – we need to understand and embrace. It’s different to cooperation.
  • Data science – how can we use it to benefit our learners.

Economic – According to the five minute university economics comes down to supply and demand. Lots of issues need to be thoughts about through this lens: learners increasing: what about supply? Conservation and sustainability: demand and supply issues? How is this reflected in our classrooms?

  • STEM – makerspace movement – STEM is an approach to learning. These ideas on a spectrum – STEM being used to justify a range of approaches. But some have expanded this to STEAM. But then aren’t you just back to the curriculum?
  • Automation – impact on the normal distribution of jobs – a bell curve to represent the spectrum. The normal curve is inverting: less in the middles, more on the ends.

Some of these issues and trends have been raised on TVNZ’s What Next in the last week.

So What

So What?


The idea is not to take the trends and place them in our schools. It’s about the way we view and explore these trends through the consideration of:


  • What guides our choices – personally?As a society?
  • What is our moral purpose?
  • Talk about ethical dilemmas.
  • Bring ethics into Professional Learning Groups? Where are they in the curriculum?


  • Fairness, impartiality, justice, inclusion.
  • Sharing wealth. Rebellion on the horizon? Have we become complacent?
  • Thinking about facts. Not scaremongering. We have to discuss them and bring them into education. What do students see as facts? Are they thinking about the right things? What are the right things to be thinking about?


  • “Our technological powers increase, but the side effects and potential hazards also escalate” – Alvin Toffer
  • Cyber safety. Technology is an amplifier: applies to both the good and the harmful.How is the issue of ‘amplification’ addressed in your curriculum?
  • Digital Vs Human – it’s all progress but progress towards what? Talk about this question.