Preparing for the Thaw (Workshop 0107)

09:00 - 10:00 on Thursday, 8 September 2011 in A2
0107 Preparing for a Thaw – Seven Questions to Make Sense of the Future Adam Cooper, Scott Wilson
0107 Preparing for a Thaw – Seven Questions to Make Sense of the Future Adam Cooper, Scott Wilson

Asking questions about the future is a timeless human activity that is brought to the fore in times of change. Learning technology is clearly situated in our wider environment and how we engage with it is bound up with our culture and history. This means that when looking to the future, the ‘wisdom of crowds’ is likely to provide as rich a picture of what is to come as expert opinion.

In this workshop we will follow Ratcliffe (2002), who declared “foresight is largely a matter of conjecture, and at the heart of conjecture lies conversation” by introducing participants to a simple conversational technique known as “Seven Questions” (Amara and Lipinsky, 1983). Seven Questions uses a series of open questions with just-enough structure and a framing to encourage respondents to look beyond current technology fashion or economic gloom, and to identify the issues that they see as important as Learning Technologists. Following a brief introduction, workshop attendees will then apply the technique through peer interviews, recording responses for later analysis by the workshop facilitators. We intend that attendees will take back to their institutions and projects a practical understanding of the application of “Seven Questions” as a method to stimulate creative discussion and a tangible example of what it can produce.

The facilitators will blog a personal view (on the JISC CETIS website) on the collected responses on the same day as the workshop. Further online contributions over the period of the conference will also be encouraged.

Attendees’ experience and perspectives during this session will contribute to a more thorough analysis and presentation – considering key themes, points of agreement and disagreement etc – which will be published on the JISC Observatory shortly after the conference, along with the anonymised raw material.

This workshop will be of particular interest to practitioners and those with an institutional and policy role. It will appeal to those who are interested in methods to stimulate creative discussion in their institutions and who value opportunities for the co-creation of insight.

Background on “Seven Questions”: and

JISC Observatory: