Discovery to Destiny: The Museum of Tomorrow and Futures Literacy at Avenues São Paulo

Discovery to Destiny: The Museum of Tomorrow and Futures Literacy at Avenues São Paulo
Andrew Williams, Director of Teaching and Learning


Past, present, and future do not follow a straight line. They are a complex system in which many elements interact creating new developments, new forms of organization, and new possibilities. The metaphor of the river may be beautiful; however, it is not enough to represent the passage of time. It could only be seen from the Heraclitus’ perspective which positions that ‘you cannot step into the same river twice’ and ‘everything changes and nothing stands still’. Times are multiple.


At Avenues our reason for existing is “to educate world-wise leaders uniquely equipped to understand and solve global-scale problems.” It follows, then, that our students must be future literate–that is, equipped with the capability to navigate an increasingly complex, interconnected, and uncertain world and, in so doing, inspired to forge adaptable global paths toward sustainable, regenerative futures.

To that end, Avenues continues to extend itself, be inspired by and remain keenly interested in partnering with future-wise organizations. The Museu do Amanhã in Rio de Janeiro and the Museum of Tomorrow International (MOTI) Foundation has offered an opportunity for Avenues to develop such a partnership.

Indeed, during the latter half of 2018, a small leadership group met with Ricardo Piquet, the president of Museu do Amanhã, Alexandre Fernandes founding director of the Museum of Tomorrow and current director of the MOTI, and Bruna Baffa, MOTI’s creative strategist and trend forecaster in innovation and education. Soon thereafter, we invited their team to Avenues São Paulo. As we understood our reasons for existing were mutual, we began to co-create possibilities for partnership.

Out of those evolutionary series of meetings, a new educational concept has emerged, Futures Literacy Capability. Traditionally, educational practices use the past to understand the present. By expanding on how to use the future in education, Futures Literacy creates opportunities to consciously innovate the present and build better futures. By doing so, our goal is to hone our students’ ability to produce and process complex visions of the future, and to innovate in the present by:
 

 

  • making sense of emergent realities

  • exploring ecosystems of change

  • navigating through complexity and ambiguity

  • making decisions based on collective intelligence

  • connecting with future scenarios, and

  • planning and preparing for the future.

 

For a moment, imagine the world you desire in 2050. Add your hopes, dreams, and optimism. Think about yourself, your family and your community. Think about other people, other species, and the entire environment. Now, imagine a world with a global population close to reaching 10 billion people, with 70% living in urban areas of developing countries, surrounded by a polluted environment with 12,000 million tonnes of plastic waste, and consuming the amount of natural resources provided by two planets each year. The difference between the desired and the most probable futures is a reason why Futures Literacy education is necessary for the world today.

The concept of Futures Literacy, as proposed by Avenues and The MOTI Foundation will be co-created dynamically. By embedding possible and desirable futures in the present and connecting them with key global issues and emerging themes of the 21st and next century, we hope our students will foster a vision of adaptable paths and develop skills to become future global leaders. It is a way to engage our students in a constant exercise of future- building, empowering them to see themselves as forward thinkers, future-makers, and indeed become future-literate.

To begin our journey we have carefully selected two grade-level teams–7th and 11th grade–at Avenues São Paulo to develop the Futures Literacy curriculum. MOTI will provide links to leading thinkers and experts in a range of fields from sustainable economics to regenerative ecosystems.

Our teachers and instructional leaders will develop a plan to introduce Futures Literacy concepts into Avenues’ curriculum. We want to ‘poke’ the current curriculum with inspirations from the Futures Literacy initiative, so we can build a consistent and collaborative Futures Literacy approach for the whole school. Luiz Alberto Oliveira, curator at the Museum of Tomorrow, will be a keynote speaker at Ruckus Constructus, our all-day celebration of innovation, creativity and technology on Sunday, April 14. There will also be events to introduce Futures Literacy to parents to discuss provocations such as: How has the world changed? What are the new premises and aspirations of our new generation? How does education need to evolve and adapt in times of complexity?

In the construction of new distinguished practices aligned with our Avenues World Elements we offer continued thanks for their thoughtfulness, commitment and support from our New York, Avenues Online, and São Paulo colleagues Jeff Clark, Fernando Naigeborin, BC Craig, Abe Correa, Eric Rodrigues, Rachel Brill, John Ciallelo, Kristin Damberger, Paola Ricci, Tiffany Walters, Sylvia Guimarães, Ham Clark, Evan Glazer, Andrew Williams, Mike Maccarone, Zoltan Sarda, Rebecca Strauss, Will Lidwell, Molly Ávila, Ryan Sawtell, Aidê Resende, Gedsney Muller, Pedro Ramos and Kevin Crawford.


 

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