ELTHAM College of Education in association with the Futures Foundation this week held a seminar detailing a Year 9 Futures Education project – 2020 – conducted at ELTHAM’s City Campus, followed by a discussion with attendees in regards to the establishment of a Futures Foundation Education Network.


60 educators representing 27 schools across the independent, government, and catholic school sectors attended the event.


ELTHAM teacher Emily Mohan, who is also completing a Masters in Strategic Foresight from Swinburne University, presented the 2020 project which asked students to develop a product or process that would help address social issues in Melbourne, and then develop a powerpoint presentation that would promote their idea to relevant stakeholders.


Critically, the 2020 project required students to create a vision for a ‘Preferred Future’, a future they would like to see, and then develop a way to achieve that future.


“The process empowers students to create a better future for themselves.  It involves critically analysing a particular issue, in this case a social issue, and then developing their own response to that,” says Ms. Mohan.  “Futures Education is about changing an individual’s mindset or paradigm about the world.  It shifts the whole perception of them as an individual who is part of a whole society.  It helps them realise the future is not destined, and by giving them the tools and skills, they can create situations in the future that are positive and preferably sustainable for future generations.”


There was considerable enthusiasm amongst the attendees for offering something different and valuable to the Year 9 curriculum, and many were attracted to the Futures Education element, particularly as it is in line with the VELS statement that “Students need to develop a set of knowledge, skills and behaviours which will prepare them for success in a world which is complex, rapidly changing, rich in information and communication technology, demanding higher order knowledge and understanding, and increasingly global in its outlook and influences


Further, VELS specifically recommends that “Students will need to create a future which is sustainable, innovative and builds strong communities.”


Charles Brass, Chairman of the Futures Foundation, led a subsequent discussion with the group about the establishment of a Futures Foundation Education Network.


“It is clear from the interest shown tonight that many schools are keen to respond positively to the challenges of educating children for an uncertain future.  I believe futures tools and concepts can help achieve this goal, and the futures foundation is pleased to be able to support the development of this network”, said Mr Brass.