After a difficult week, 8th graders are thinking about the future. The premise is simple:
“You are in a world where you can feel what other people feel. Now what? Facing History and Institute for the Future will pioneer an online game for social change that will convene students, educators, and community members from around the world to imagine what a better future might look like in 2026. The game will take place November 13–14, 2016.
Together we will challenge each other to radically reimagine the future of empathy and civic participation, taking people outside the bounds of daily modes of thinking. This experience will encourage collaboration to build shared visions and meaningful conversation about what the future might provide for us all.”
The game was created by Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer, best-selling author, and Director of Game Research and Development for The Institute for the Future.
Last Thursday, we discussed the difference between empathy and sympathy. Then we watched an introduction from McGonigal along with the first of the four scenarios from the game. Students then “played” their cards on chart paper and these cards represent both positive and negative possibilities of a future where feelings can be “shared” through social networks.
Students gain points when other people build on their ideas. A livestream launch with Jane McGonigal took place last night. As soon as a link to that exists, I will add it because it was a great talk. She talks about how “predicting our past” and “remembering our future” activates parts of the brain that otherwise remain dormant. Our ability to put ourselves in a situation is what allows us to understand other people’s feelings. That’s what this game is all about. Currently, there are 8423 players on facethefuture.org. Out of all those players, three of our students are listed among the top five “thinkers” and have contributed toward the 40,000+ possible futures that may exist. The game will be live for the rest of the evening (November 14th), so ask your eighth grader about it and see what their thoughts are. Some of our students have also been featured on the Face the Future blog and you should check that out. This is really compelling stuff and I recommend you watch the videos and go through the slideshow below to get a better idea of what this all looks like.