Strategic Foresight, or Futures Studies, is a discipline many organizations use to gather and process information about their future operating environment. This information can include and is not limited to trends and developments in their political, economic, social, technological, and legal environments. Mr. Creston Burse, Information Technology Consultant and The Young Futurist Project’s Foresight instructor, introduced the concept to consultant and grant writer David Bickham during a brainstorming session about YFP. This concept of analyzing the future compliments the S.T.E.A.M. approach to education utilized by the YFP perfectly. S.T.E.A.M., which stands for Science and Technology interpreted through Engineering and Arts based in Mathematics, encourages students to inquire about the future in an effort to solve problems via creation and innovation. “STEAM is the future of education. We are doing a disservice if it’s not spotlighted,” says Burse.
Although he initially planned to work with high school aged scholars to teach Strategic Foresight for this year’s virtual summer camp, Burse was warmly welcomed by a group of energetic 4th graders! “I had to adjust, but I immediately realized that I was about to knock 25 years off the educational curve for these kids. I had to remind myself and them that you’re never too young to learn new things,” he said. So instead of touching on the concept of long-term planning for life after high school, he touched on planning for back-to-school during the pandemic for his 4th graders. “I ask them questions to create inquiry about what class and recess will look like when school reopens or using tablets versus textbooks,” he said. When it comes to incorporating S.T.E.A.M. in his curriculum, Burse believes it’s important to make things practical to their everyday life. He uses the popular, online video game Fortnite as an example. “I ask them who has played Fortnite recently; then, I continue the conversation by asking questions about who they think created the game and how it was created to incite inquiry into the science and engineering behind it.”
YFP stands out from other summer programs for many reasons; however, for Burse, his reasoning is personal. “When I was approached about YFP, it hit home. I grew up around the Jackson Medical Mall area, so I know that I am helping the next generation of students who are just like me when I was a child. Burse ends every class with this question: What are we adding to our toolbox? He explained, “They may not remember all the ends and outs of Foresight and STEAM. But if they can understand concepts, they will be able to use them again throughout school and life.”
The Young Futurist Project Virtual Summer Camp is still in session until the end of July and has slots available. If interested, please visit http://jacksonmedicalmall.org/yfp2020/ to register your scholar.