Scenes from today, letters from tomorrow

Tomorrow Today: Letters from a Future in the Making

The Tomorrow Campaign’s latest report envisions different perspectives on learning, from the not-so-distant future. Access the full report here.

Four months ago, the Tomorrow campaign launched with an idea: By exploring the seeds of education innovation that have been planted over the past decade, and viewing them through the lens of all we’re discovering about learning innovation this year, we can envision and build a better future for all learners.

Through workshops, panel discussions and storytelling, we’ve been collaborating with educators and families to map out what that future might hold—without prescribing a one-size-fits-all vision for this better tomorrow.

Each community is unique and knows best what it needs. But there are common goals and principles that have risen to the surface—ideas that champion every student and put them at the center of the conversation.

So along with the conversations we’ve been starting and the grants we’ve been giving, we wanted to collect this range of powerful ideas about the future of learning in one publication. But how best to do that, when we don’t want to prescribe a single, narrow vision?

Our new publication, “Tomorrow Today: Letters from a Future in the Making,” answers that question.

In it, we offer five perspectives on the future in the form of letters written by fictional people in the year 2035. These imagined letter-writers are speaking to friends, family members and former teachers who remember the educational world of the 2020s. They celebrate the progress that we’re just now discovering is truly possible.

By design, each individual letter doesn’t contain the whole story of education innovation. They invite readers to use their imaginations and fill in the blanks. Ideally, it might just inspire you to take concrete steps today that move your school, your organization or your family toward this better tomorrow.

This publication is now available and we’re excited to share it with you here.

A letter from the future, as see in “Tomorrow Today

Along with letters from the future of learning, the publication cites initiatives and organizations that are working right now to make progress happen. These include the 17 organizations recently awarded Tomorrow grants to launch their work forward in new ways.

Yael Silk is executive director of the Arts Education Collaborative, one of the grant recipients whose work is cited in the publication. When we asked how her organization is addressing current challenges while keeping an eye on the future, she told us this: Instead of looking at current problems from a mindset of scarcity and difficulty, her organization chose to actively ask “What would have to be true for those challenges not to be there?”

How could we imagine this different future in terms of what our children really need? And what do our educators need, and what kinds of things could we build and cocreate to make that our reality?

As we reimagine the systems and structures of learning, it’s vital to step away from the scarcity mindset that Silk mentions. That’s how we’ll manage to scale up the small-but-growing innovations of 2020 to forge a future where each day holds promise for every learner.

Along the way, we can ground our thinking in the context of past progress. There’s this myth about education in America that often gets repeated: School hasn’t changed in a hundred years, people say. But enter a school or sit in on distance learning today and you’ll know that’s not the case.

We have much work to do, it’s true. But things that weren’t possible even 10 years ago are commonplace today. And further change is happening with unprecedented speed.

As the publication says, “Our world is a very different place now than it was yesterday. It’s easy to remember a time before we all carried computers in our pockets, when Tesla referred to a person instead of a car company, when meetings started with a handshake instead of a mic check. It’s less easy—but more important—to imagine the ways our world will be different tomorrow.”

This is a year when every aspect of American life is being reimagined to adapt to immediate needs. And many caring innovators in the world of education are building on that momentum right now.

In the pages of Tomorrow Today, you’ll see learning reimagined in tangible, remarkable ways that are within our reach. We hope the real-world examples and the imagined possibilities you’ll find within this publication will inspire you to build a concrete path toward the future you wish for all learners.

Let us know what you think. And help us begin building tomorrow, today.

Read “Tomorrow Today: Letters from a Future in the Making” right here and download your free copy. Then share your thoughts about it with us on social media using #RemakeTomorrow.

This article is part of a series for Tomorrow, powered by Remake Learning. From May to October 2020, Tomorrow will explore–through virtual events, grantmaking and extensive storytelling–what we can do today to make tomorrow a more promising place for all learners.