Minnesota Futurists

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Slides from World Future Society presentation: Youth futures

Youth Futures: Projecting the Roles of Disruptive Technologies, Anticipatory Knowledge, and Continuous Innovation

Summary: This session highlights the Global Youth Policy and Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota where faculty and students of all ages (kindergarten through graduate school) crafted scenarios, composed alternative futures, and explored other various futures methodologies. In this session, particular emphasis will be placed on the construction of future histories that can be used as alternative visions and maps to help youth of different backgrounds and experiences visualize and discuss the future. This session is conducted ‘salon style’ with audience development of the ensuing future-histories. Session feedback will be provided via Education Futures to all audience participants shortly following the conference.

Ten dollar laptops per child?

George Kubik, president of Minnesota Futurists, sent a note regarding the One Laptop per Child project, and a related article from Fortune Magazine. The $100 laptop is currently looking like a $176 laptop. Although prices are expected to decrease in the future, the $176 laptop is distant from what was envisioned originally.

India’s HRD ministry (which has rejected the OLPC) thinks it can do better, and is soliciting proposals for a $10 alternative. Writes Mark Raby at TG Daily:

The manufacturing cost has already been scaled down to $47, reports the India Times. So far no manufacturer has agreed to the $10 price. “The cost is encouraging and we are hopeful it would come down to $10. We would also look into the possibility of some Indian company manufacturing the parts,” said a ministry official.

Will this create competition in “open source” approaches to mobile educational technologies and lead to greater innovation? I hope so, but I must also caution against “cheapening” the quality and purposeful application of education technologies. Placing such limitations on the technologies could further limit the innovative uses for the devices by children inside and beyond the classrooms they’re intended for.