Back(ing) to the Future

The Jetsons. Family of the future. Orbit city. The city of the future.

What is it about the Jetsons that we continue to utilize it as the main point of reference when we discuss the future over 30 years after it aired? (for the second time)

Is it the flying cars that George drove around? Was it Rosie the robot housekeeper? How about all the insane inventions that seem to be created to make life easier, usually from the push of a button?

Or is it the allure of something new, something flashy, something different, something unknown? We are enamored by the future. It’s this imaginary, beautiful utopia and we can’t wait to get there. It’s in our souls to dream about the future.

So we innovate.

We want our students to be “future-ready.”

So we innovate.

We want schools to look and act more like the world of the future.

So we innovate.

Our eyes become locked into the horizon, awaiting the next new thing or idea. We get so caught up with the horizon, that we often forget our surroundings. We get blinders on. We often get hypnotized by new products or ideas that are aimed at bringing education into the future. Nothing else at that point matters. We forget not only what our new idea will change, replace, or impact, but we often forget who it will affect the most.

Zakhar is the ancient Hebrew word for remember. Remembering for the ancient Hebrew people took on a different perspective than today. Remembering wasn’t simply a thought, it was an action. People lived out a memory rather than thinking about it and moving on.

Zakhar was a critical lens that the Hebrew people viewed the future through.

They believed that people should walk into the future looking backwards.

This is how the Hebrew people actively remembered the past and the present. You couldn’t be completely distracted by the future, because you were viewing the past and the present as you walked into it. You were taking into account what was currently happening and what had already happened as you moved closer to the future.

To me, innovation isn’t always about the future. Often, it’s looking on what has been done in the past and the present and trying to improve upon it. It’s looking at the people involved (students and staff) and the impact it will have on them. It’s ensuring that the why matches with the what and the desire for doing it.

So as we continue to innovate and hurtle towards the future at breakneck speeds, let’s make sure that we are keeping the past and present in mind. It can help us to drive purposeful innovation that meets the needs of our students and schools, which is the real reason we should be innovating.






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