The future will not look like the past.

We know this.

It won’t even look too much like the present. Most importantly, we cannot use the patterns, habits, and assumptions, and beliefs we’ve used in the past to help lead us to the kind of future we want.

We need new, bold, creative ways to build our lives and livelihoods.

This begins in how we learn when we’re young. The stakes are low, the courage is high, the sense of fun and adventure is rampant, and most importantly, the adult cynicism hasn’t bitten yet.

The creative people that have shaped our world through the culture they’ve built have been warning us for decades:

“Reality denied comes back to haunt.”

Philip K. Dick, Author • His books became the films Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report

“The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”

William Gibson, Author • Pioneer of Cyberpunk

“The future you have tomorrow will not be the same future you had yesterday.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Author • Fight Club

“Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.”

David Bowie

The skills today’s kids will need to thrive in the future are bigger, wider, and faster than the ones we grew up with. Research from Australia and abroad is highlighting the things our kids need to be able to do, and the ways they will need to be able to think, and interact, and work.

The challenge for us as parents & communities, and on the other hand as educators and schools is that these kinds of skills and attributes are incredibly difficult to cultivate in conventional schools.

The Foundation for Young Australians research series The New Work Order identifies a core set of “enterprise skills” that are transferrable to any job. This makes our young people adaptable.

If we get this right, our kids will transition from school to work more easily, and will be in an excellent position to be their own boss as traditional sources of employment thin out.

The Future Skills project by Nesta, a UK-based foundation dedicated to understanding and tackling the big challenges of our time identifies a core set of essential skills for the 21st Century.

If we get this right, it means that as our world changes over the next 100 years, our kids (and their kids) will have spent their childhoods tuned in to the right things to set them up for the future’s definition of “success.”

Last century was a great time to be an employee.

One big career, maybe several jobs with reasonably big employers. Change was slower, and the world was more predictable from decade to decade.

But change accelerates, and it waits for nobody. 

This century belongs to the self-starters. The creative ones. The adaptable ones. The ones good at judging risk, and turning ideas into action.

The future will not look like the past. It won’t even look too much like the present. We know this. To give our kids the best opportunity to meet it on their own terms, they need to be amazing, creative learners.

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s some other interesting folks weighing in.

Firebird Learning

We want to help return learning to where it belongs, in the space between a learner’s curiosity and their own two hands.

We believe learning should be joyful, thrilling, personal, and most importantly, curious. It should be challenging and creative, not dictated by unquestioned tradition or buried in pages of curriculum, and not withheld behind a test score.

We believe that learning is deeply human, and we believe in learning for everyone.