Teaching about the Future

Collaboration between faculty members, Peter Bishop and Andy Hines, has produced a new book, Teaching about the Future: The Basics of Foresight Education, published by Palgrave MacMillan. This book brings together more than 35 years of experience in teaching about the future from the College of Technology's Graduate Program in Futures Studies and serves as a text for the existing foresight program.

The authors hope to spread the practice of teaching futures studies and strategic foresight to the rest of the University of Houston and to other schools by showing how it is done in the College of Technology's program. "We believe that students at all levels of education would benefit from instruction on how to think about and influence the future," said Hines. "Our goal is that educators teach as much about the future as they do about the past. After all, the future is where we are all going to live," said Bishop.

The curriculum is comprehensively summarized, providing those seeking to introduce foresight to their schools a conceptual guide from which to select and design curriculums or classes of their own. Teaching about the Future is organized into three parts:

  • Understanding: Contains the conceptual backdrop to thinking about the future.
  • Mapping: Describes how to construct forecasts of potential future outcomes or alternative futures.
  • Influencing: Explores how to take action to shape the future.

Individual topics range from the basics of scanning, forecasting, visioning, and planning to social change, systems thinking, and alternative perspectives.