Two weeks ago, a huge part of my life unexpectedly died. An absolutely world-leading Edtech organisation that has inspired much of the work that’s gone into the Future-U community, who’s tribe had fostered and welcomed me to four international conferences, Horizon report boards, a K12 Ambassadorship, a Henderson Prize, countless webinars, and most importantly — life-long friendships — went surprisingly bankrupt during the term of a new board who’s only official statement about the shutdown was that it was due to omissions by a former finance officer. Anecdotally, would it be speculative to wonder if they struggled over their 19 month term to oversee or raise the new funds the org required?
Regardless, what has helped me immensely even though I am so far from the US-nexus of the community has been thinking less about that question, and more about the immediate coming together of the tribe I mentioned above. Well over a hundred have been active in various online forums, with key figures such as Bryan Alexander of Future Trends Forum, Paul Signorelli, Maya Georgieva and Kim Flintoff of Learning Futures Network providing key support and ideas about moving forward that have help sustain me. Ex-staff and fellow former K12 Ambassadors have also added their energy, and only one week after the bankruptcy, a Slack channel emerged as a gathering place for the tribe under the moniker ‘Beyond Horizons’.
This space has in a way functioned as a survey of who valued the work of the former organisation most as they elected to set aside time over the always-busy Christmas period to join up and share. And its been brilliant. Not because there have been no suggestions of ways the previous work could be improved on — but because those coming together have been focused not on recriminations or what went wrong — but instead on what made the community so unique and valuable — and on what positive things we can still do together.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the conversations in the channel — so much that I’ve now spent about 6 hours sketching up a draft summary of ideas and feelings that have been expressed (see below). I’m ready to share that now — and its meant to be read across the sketch as a story more than anything — a story of where we were only 2 weeks ago, what elements the org contained, what evolution the community (tribe) has started taking, and then my interpretation or hope of what this might turn into given the thoughts and vision expressed in the Slack channel so far.
I’ve decided to share this sketch and the wordy writings above as my own way of keeping positive and future-focused. We don’t know what may come of the formal elements of the org, but the people are brilliant as always. Let’s just see if together we are ready to transition from being an ‘International community of experts in Educational Technology’ as the previous website stated, to being ready to be an ‘International community of experts in the Future of Education’ that expands its focus from 0–5 years out to a 15 year horizon. I know it has huge potential to be even more a force for helping all educators from all sectors thrive through the ongoing digital transformation we are all living though. Here’s to that future :)
Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more about the Beyond Horizons Slack channel ;)