In order to be able to envision the future, we have to be willing to examine the present. Futurist Edward Cornish coined the term “super trends” to define observable patterns of changes which occur over time and serve as catalysts to progress or destruction within a society (Cornish 2004). Super trends have global importance, even though the effects of each trend presentation may vary in different locales due to their culture or stage of development. Cornish describes six super trends that are easily interconnected: technological progress, economic growth, improving health, increasing mobility, environmental decline, and increasing deculturation (Cornish, 2004).
The super trend of technological growth will have the greatest impact on our future because it incorporates every aspect of our lives and is quickly leading towards the essence of human life, biotechnology (Cornish, 2004). It is easy to observe the preponderance of technological growth in today’s society. Children have cellular telephones; we can simultaneously view and speak to relatives around the world on our home computers at minimal cost, and teachers can teach via the virtual classroom with all of its amenities.
Technological Progress and Educational Reform
As an educator, this super trend is paramount because the current mode of instruction in a public school system is devised for the students in an industrial revolution. There is increasing public outcry for educational reform (Thrasher et al, 2010) and requests for students to be academically prepared to compete on a global scale, yet international competence would entail technological literacy for students and teachers alike. On the contrary, when teachers request less outdated resources for instruction, they are told that effective teaching is dependent on good teachers and not the materials used in the classroom. Sentiments such as these have been touted by laymen and public figures alike, such as the Head of the National Department of Education Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama, via the current Race to the Top National Education Initiative (Duncan, 2009). In order to prepare students for the future, we have to be able to see what it will entail and embrace it.
The Cost of Technological Growth
On a personal level, this technological growth can be frightening. Perhaps the greatest cost to our society will be ones that are the least valued, our culture and our families. Technology provides convenience for many of life’s obligations, but it also affects our health and isolates us from one another. Obesity increases as we spend more time in our cars or on our computers as opposed to working outside and connecting with our environment. Relationships are strained due to increased productivity at work from technological advancements, leaving little room for a healthy work-life balance. It appears that we could be moving too fast, without enough time for the most valuable aspects of our humanity to be included. Unless we shape the future differently or a natural occurrence brings this growth to a halt, we just may be too late (Cornish 2004).
Article by Tai Collins
Cornish, Edward. (2004) Futuring: The Exploration of the future. Bethesda, Maryland: World Future Society (pp. 23-27, 19, 36).
Duncan, Arne. (2009-2010) Elevating the teaching profession. American Educator 33.4, 3-5.
Senators Thrasher, Gaetz, Detert, Wise, Constantine, Richter, Peaden, and Storms Florida Senate. (2010) Senate bill six (SB6), 1-61. Retrieved from
What do you think?
Are we moving too fast?
Is the prevalence of technology positive or negative for society, for humanity, for our students?
Does technology isolate us from others or connect us with others? strain or enhance relationships? motivate or hypnotize our students?
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