When I left primary school (way back in 1996), the millennium was close enough to not seem like a lifetime away, but technology wasn’t quite yet going full-steam ahead so there was plenty of opportunity to make crazy assumptions about what the future might hold.
If you’ve seen Back To The Future, you’re probably sorely disappointed to learn that the closest thing we have to the hover board is the ‘self balancing scooter’; (you know, those two-wheeled contraptions that just scream ‘broken bones!’). While some of the more elaborate predictions haven’t quite made it to reality, there are a fair number of things that were accurately foretold. Big Brother’s surveillance society, anyone?
We don’t want to dwell on what’s past too much in this post though. We’re looking to the future and asking you to turn the clock forward 10 years and report back on what life is like in the future! This is a particularly fun exercise for year 6 pupils who have more than likely spent their early education with modern technology as part of daily life; their imagination has no limits as it is, and with what they’ve seen already who knows what they could predict for the generations to come? Here’s some prompts to get the ideas going.
What’s on your iPod?
There’s every chance that by the time I hit publish on this post, the iPod is already outdated. Doesn’t everyone use their phones to listen to music they are streaming these days? Either way, something that hasn’t changed is that we gauge the popularity of music (either by sales or listens) and translate this into weekly charts of what’s hot and what’s not. While music may not have changed dramatically in the past 10-20 years, there was a point in history where the height of modern music innovation was the banjo; imagine that. It’s probably a safe assumption that nothing much will change in the charts by 2028, but perhaps there will be new ways we find and enjoy music?
Cars with wings?
We’re getting there with transport, aren’t we? The current hot button debate is driver-less cars and whether they are safe or not. It’s a polarising topic and that’s before we’ve even mentioned flying cars…a hallmark of ‘the future’ as depicted in the movies. So perhaps a mere 10-year wait for flying cars is a little optimistic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t expect giant leaps forward in motoring innovation. When I first began driving (15 years ago), it was considered the height of luxury to have air conditioning in our car. Now it’s widely considered to be a basic necessity for comfort in a vehicle. Take something small like that and ask people to think about how that one thing could change.
We’ll still say cheese, right?
If somebody points a camera (more likely to be a camera phone these days) at you, if your first reaction isn’t to recoil in horror, then it might be to yell ‘cheese!’. That’s something I don’t think has changed in a long time; maybe it’s just evolved with the advent of selfies and apps that allow us to augment the way we look. I can give myself bunny ears just by opening an app on my phone and that’s a little bit amazing to me, no matter how many times older relatives tell me I look ridiculous (I look adorable with ears, FYI). Smart phones are pretty much the norm now, and it’s rarer to find someone without a camera phone than it is the other way around. Each new release brings astonishing updates to the look and feel of these mobile cameras; who knows what could be possible in 10 years? This is where the limitless imagination of children really shines.
Does technology carry on shrinking?
If I said I used to save my work on a floppy disk, would any of you know what I’m talking about? The 3.5″ plastic square actually felt really modern at the time, and it just slipped easily into a school bag. If anyone can remember the last time they saw a home computer with a floppy drive, then I want to hear from you (while the rest of you continue laughing at floppy drive). USB flash drives, while still widely used, are often replaced with saving work remotely ‘in the cloud’, much like our Yearbook Hub. No matter how small a thumb drive is, you can’t make it smaller than literally nothing. Can you? Maybe there’s an innovator among your young future explorers. How about other home tech like smart lighting and voice activation? What leaps could you imagine seeing in 10 years’ time?
I know I said that this is a page idea practically tailor-made for primary aged pupils, it is universally interesting; if you’re studying computing at secondary school you might even have more of an insight of what could lie ahead, why not make some real predictions that you can check back on in the future? I don’t have any technology expertise, but I’m still holding out for that teleportation device; imagine how much easier mornings would be.