Taking the 21st Century Seriously: young people, education and socio-technical futures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Rhetoric about young people’s ‘ownership’ of future socio-technical change is a familiar part of much educational and political discourse. This does not, however, translate in practice into a meaningful dialogue with young people about the sorts of futures they might wish to see emerge. This paper argues that a number of social and technological developments currently being envisaged by researchers, developers, industry and politicians bring with them a responsibility to rethink the relationship between young people, education and socio-technical futures. It focuses specifically on trends in the areas of personal augmentation, digital working practices and inter- generational spaces and discusses the implications of projected developments in these areas for young people’s educational, economic and democratic futures. It argues that schools need to be cognisant of these future possibilities and need to create spaces and practices that enable young people together to understand and explore these issues. The school also is not immune to socio- technical change. The potential growth of online learning communities, the emergence of a body of adults able to participate as informal educators and the development of networked publics, in particular, have the potential to change the relationship between school, young people and society. These changes have the potential either to erode or to radically reinvigorate the capacity of schools to act as public spaces within which young people can be supported to negotiate and explore future socio-technical change.
Translated title of the contributionTaking the 21st Century Seriously: young people, education and socio-technical futures
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97 - 113
Number of pages17
JournalOxford Review of Education
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Structured keywords

  • SoE Educational Futures Network


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